Payroll & Benefits

Wellness Incentives are Taxable

The State of Wisconsin extends financial incentives to employees through the Well Wisconsin employee wellness program. If you are covered under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance program, you and your spouse (if covered under the State Group Health Insurance Program) were eligible for the $150 Well Wisconsin incentive if you submitted a health screening result to StayWell, completed the StayWell health risk assessment and a Well-Being activity by October 11, 2019. StayWell is the State of Wisconsin wellness program administrator. Additionally, depending on the health plan you are enrolled with, you may also be eligible for financial reimbursements for wellness related expenses such as gym memberships, fitness classes, the cost to participate in Community Support Agriculture (CSA) programs and rewards for participating in health or wellness programs or challenges.

Per guidance from the federal government and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the wellness incentive benefits are classified as taxable fringe benefits. This means that any financial incentive you receive from the program is taxable income for state and federal tax purposes.

What this means for you:

  • Financial incentives will be reported as taxable wages and subject to applicable withholdings and taxes. You will see withholdings for all incentives issued in the current calendar year reflected on your August or December earnings statement. This will include incentives issued to your eligible family members.
  • Withholding may include 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare if the employee is FICA Eligible and may include federal and state withholding, depending on the number of exemptions you claimed on your W-4. Note: Some individuals may have met their Social Security Tax maximum in 2019 $8,239.80 and therefore, they may only have Medicare Tax withheld.
  •  Federal regulations require your employer to receive financial data regarding incentives issued to employees and their covered family members. Your health information is protected by federal privacy regulations and is not shared with your employer.

Even with the federal government’s tax regulations, eligible employees and their spouses are able to receive substantial financial rewards for using the wellness incentives offered by the State of Wisconsin and participating health plans.

For questions about the $150 Well Wisconsin incentive contact StayWell at For questions about incentives provided by your health plan carrier, contact your health plan carrier directly. If you have additional questions, contact or (920) 465-2390.

Student employee hours limit changes to 25 hours on August 18th

Just a reminder that the student employee hours limit will change to 25 hours per week on August 18, 2019.  The hours limit is in place to make sure we are in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The 25 hours per week limit will continue through December 14, 2019.

Please review the 2019 Student Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule at:

If you have any questions, please contact us at or ext. 2390.

Travel Assistance with Securian

Traveling this summer? Don’t forget to take Securian’s Lifestyle Benefits with you – you already have them. All State employees and their dependents automatically have these Lifestyle Benefits at no cost.

Securian offers a travel assistance program that includes pre-trip planning and emergency services. If you’re traveling abroad, receive important passport and visa information, and immunization requirements. With Securian, you don’t even have to notify them that you’re traveling.

Other Securian Lifestyle Benefits include:

  • Legal, financial and grief resources
  • Legacy planning resources
  • Beneficiary financial counseling

Learn more about Securian’s Lifestyle Benefit program by viewing this brochure.

Source: ETF

Wellness Webinar: Understanding Diabetes


In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled. Diabetes concerns every family and simple prevention can lower your risk. Could you spot the warning signs of diabetes?

**NEW** Registration is now open to everyone even if you don’t currently have a StayWell portal account! CLICK HERE to register now.

Join us to learn about:

  • What is diabetes?
  • What are the signs and symptoms?
  • What can I do to prevent diabetes?
  • What can I do if I already have it?

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Time: 12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

After registering, you will get an email with information about how to access the presentation.  Please contact or (920) 465-2203 with any questions.

All webinars are recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the StayWell wellness portal after the event date. To access the StayWell wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or spouse enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Programs.

WRS Contribution Rates to Increase in 2020

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) recently announced that the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee and employer contribution rates will increase slightly effective January 1, 2020. WRS rates are evaluated and adjusted annually.

The slight increase is due to lower than expected Core Trust Fund investment performance and economic assumption changes that were approved by the ETF Board in December, 2018.

Contribution increase and decrease fluctuations are considered normal for retirement systems like the WRS that pre-fund retirement benefits. For example, WRS contribution rates in 2019 were lowered due to favorable investment performance.

UW System employee contribution rates are determined by employment category. Most UW employees are in the General/Teacher/Executive category. Employees with law enforcement or public protection duties (police officers, fire fighters) are in the Protective category.


The 2020 contribution rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2020; beginning with the January 2, 2020 paycheck for Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly, and the January 2, 2020 paycheck for University staff paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

For more information, visit the WRS webpage on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Submit Fiscal Year 2018-19 Leave Reports by September 2019

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees who have an active leave-eligible appointment are required to submit a leave report each month, whether or not leave is used. This is a reminder that all Leave Reports for fiscal year July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 must be submitted by September 2019.

Failure to submit all leave reports for the 2018-19 fiscal year by September 2019 will result in a reduction of employee sick leave hours. Even one unsubmitted leave report may reduce an employee’s sick leave balance. To review this policy:

Leave reports may be submitted electronically via the MyUW portal. Paper leave reports may also be submitted. Visit the Time and Absence Help Pages for assistance with reporting leave.

If you have questions, please contact or (920) 465-2390.

Source: UW Service Center

Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

Did you know you can enroll, change or cancel coverage in the Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance plan at any time?

The AD&D insurance plan offers affordable coverage in case of accidental death or dismemberment to UW employees and dependents who meet eligibility requirements. You can elect single or family (spouse/domestic partner and eligible children) coverage ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.

Benefits may be payable if you have an accident that results in loss of life, sight, speech, hearing, loss or use of certain limbs and/or permanent and total disability. The plan also includes travel assistance coverage through Zurich Travel Assist and identity theft coverage through CyberScout LifeStages Identity Management.

More Information on the AD&D plan is available on the UW System Employee Benefits website: Accidental Death & Dismemberment. To enroll, change, or cancel coverage, complete an Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance application. Return the completed application to your human resources office. Enrollments and changes in coverage are effective the first of the month on or following receipt of your application.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Employee Assistance Program Webinars

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), administered by FEI, provides UW employees and members of their household with confidential resources to address personal and/or work-related concerns. EAP services are offered at no cost to employees.

The 2019 Monthly Webinar Series is open for registration. Click here for webinar information and registration.


August 2019 Webinar: Put Your Compensation to Work

Date and Time: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – 11:00am to 12:00pm Central Daylight Time

Description: During benefits enrollment, it’s easy to make the same benefit choices as last year – but the easy way might not be the best way. Take full advantage of the employee benefits available to you by uncovering “hidden” compensation opportunities you may not know about.


September 2019 Webinar: The Effects of Loneliness and Social Isolation

Date and Time: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 – 11:00am to 12:00pm Central Daylight Time

Description: Did you know that most lonely individuals are married, live with others and are not clinically depressed? Join us to learn how loneliness and social isolation can impact our health and longevity. Using a brain science perspective, we’ll discuss the connection between loneliness and increased health risks including suicide.


Webinar Registration: Registration is required. Click here to register. Follow the individual links on each webinar for registration.  Note: Employees must attend a webinar on their own time or consult with their supervisor for approval to attend.


Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Webinars Offered in July & August

ETF is offering a series of 30-minute, live, interactive webinars designed to increase your understanding of Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. Individuals can also ask questions at the end of these sessions. Visit ETF’s webinar page to learn more about any of the following sessions.

July 2019 Webinars

Beneficiary Designations – What Happens to My Account When I Die?
Do you have a beneficiary designation on file with ETF and does it reflect how you’d want your WRS death benefits paid? This webinar reviews the importance of having a beneficiary designation on file and keeping it updated as life events occur. We’ll also review the process of how to correctly complete a designation form, what it means if you do not have one on file with ETF, and how to request a copy of your current form.

  • Tue, Jul 2, 2019 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Thu, Jul 18, 2019 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Tue, Jul 23, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Mon, Jul 29, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Overview of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
This webinar will cover participation in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), how the WRS is funded and what benefits are available under the WRS. Also included is a brief overview of the Core and Variable Trust Funds and how the WRS is structured.

  • Fri, Jul 12, 2019 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wed, Jul 17, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thu, Jul 25, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Tue, Jul 30, 2019 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

August 2019 Webinars

Additional Contributions
Find out how making additional contributions to your WRS account can potentially increase your retirement. This webinar also provides examples of how contributions grow over time with interest, how to pay additional contributions (payroll deduction or direct pay), etc.

  • Thu, Aug 1, 2019 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Wed, Aug 7, 2019 6:00 p.m.  – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tue, Aug 13, 2019 11:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wed, Aug 28, 2019 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Retirement Annuity Options
Choosing a WRS annuity option is one of the most important decisions you will face. This webinar will cover all of the WRS annuity options and help you understand them so that you can make an informed decision. We will also explain the important differences between a beneficiary and a named survivor.

  • Wed, Aug 7, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Thu, Aug 15, 2019 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Thu, Aug 22, 2019 11:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thu, Aug 29, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

WRS Employer and Employee Contribution Rates
This webinar will review how employer and employee contributions help keep the WRS fully funded. We will discuss how the contribution rates are calculated, why they change annually, where those dollars go and contribution rate changes for 2019.

  • Thu, Aug 8, 2019 11:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.
  • Tue, Aug 13, 2019 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, Aug 21, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Tue, Aug 27, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

WRS Retirement Benefit Calculation Methods
This webinar will explain the methods used for benefit calculations and the components of each method. Anyone who has requested or is planning to request an estimate will have a better understanding of how that amount was calculated. Individuals will have the opportunity to ask questions on this topic at the end of the session.

  • Tue, Aug 6, 2019 11:30 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m.
  • Wed, Aug 14, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thu, Aug 22, 2019 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, Aug 28, 2019 11:00 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.

Register for a webinar

Please contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or with any questions.