Payroll & Benefits

WRS Contribution Rates to Decrease in 2018

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced a slight decrease for 2018 Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution rates effective January 1, 2018. According to ETF, the 2018 contribution rate changes are primarily due to higher favorable WRS Trust Fund investment performance.  In general, when trust fund investment earnings are greater than expected, contribution rates may decrease the following year.  When earnings are lower than expected, rates may increase to make up for the shortfall. Changes in WRS contribution rates are designed to be stable, with investment returns for the Core Fund smoothed over a five-year period.

WRS contribution rates are set annually by the ETF Board, upon review of its consulting actuary’s annual valuation of the system and its funding requirements.  The total rates are generally split evenly between employees and employers and adjusted annually.

Your contribution rate is determined by your WRS employment category. Most UW employees are covered by the General/Teacher WRS category. High level administrators (chancellors, president, vice presidents, provosts) are covered by the Executive category.  Employees whose main duties are related to law enforcement or the protection of the public (police officers, fire fighters) are covered by the Protective category.

2018 WRS RatesThe 2018 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2018, beginning on the January 2, 2018 for Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly, and January 4, 2018 for University Staff paid bi-weekly.  As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal purposes.

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Life Insurance Considerations Throughout Your Employment

The UW offers a variety of term life insurance plans for employees to consider.  Participation and coverage amounts will vary by individual depending on specific life circumstances and age.  See UW Life Insurance Plans for eligibility, coverage levels and premiums.

How Much Life Insurance do you Need?

For information to help decide life insurance needs, see the article How Much Life Insurance is Enough? Use the insurance needs calculator referenced in the article. These resources may help decide how much life insurance is needed at different times during your career.

Enrollment Opportunities

  • New Employee/Newly Eligible – New employees and newly eligible employees are offered the opportunity to enroll in the life insurance plans offered by the UW. There may be opportunities during your career to make changes to coverage.
  • Continuing Employee – If employees did not enroll in life insurance as a new employee or newly eligible employee, or did not enroll in all the available plans, they may be able to enroll during their career if they have a qualifying life event such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce.  See Family Status Change for details.  An Employment Change may also provide an enrollment opportunity.Employees may also be eligible to enroll through Evidence of Insurability (EOI), which requires medical underwriting. Cancellation or reduction of coverage is also available and appropriate for some individuals.It is important for employees to revisit their life insurance plan participation, coverage and premium levels throughout their active employment as insurance needs change.
  • Terminating or Retiring Employee – While the UW life insurance plans provide coverage during an employee’s working life, continued coverage upon termination or retirement from the UW is not guaranteed.  Employees may have either a conversion or continuation option for the UW life insurance plans. Not all plans offer these options.

Conversion vs Continuation

When continuing a life insurance plan typically former employees will continue as a group member.  Depending on the employee’s circumstances, this may be a more economical choice than converting the insurance plan.

When converting a current life insurance plan typically employees will convert to an individual policy.  This choice is typically more costly than continuation.

UW Life Insurance Plans and Conversion or Continuation Options Offered

(All plans are term life insurance.  Benefits are payable only for covered events while coverage is in effect) 

 

State Group Life

Individual & Family Life

UW Employees, Inc. Life

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

University Insurance Association (UIA)  Life

Options Upon Termination from Employment (not retirement)

Conversion; Continuation of employee coverage if employee has 20 plus years of WRS service.

Conversion to individual policy. Conversion to individual policy. Conversion to individual policy.

Conversion; Continuation if the termination is due to disability as outlined in the plan certificate.

Options Upon Retirement Continuation of employee coverage; conversion of Spouse/DP & Dependent coverage. Conversion to individual policy. Conversion to individual policy. Continuation of group policy.

Continuation of group policy or conversion to individual policy (employee choice).

 

For information on life insurance enrollment, conversion or continuation and the associated enrollment deadlines, visit the UW System Employee Benefits website.

Contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu with any questions.

Source: UW Service Center

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Webinars Offered in July

ETF

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 sessions.

5 Basic Steps to Your Retirement- Consider this webinar your quick reference guide to starting the retirement process within the next 12 months. ETF will review: choosing a termination date, how to request a retirement estimate – and how to read and understand it. ETF will also cover how to schedule a retirement appointment and – drum roll here — how to submit the retirement application.

  • Fri, July 7, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Wed, July 12, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thurs, July 20, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Mon, July 31, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

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 would 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. ETF will also review 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.

  • Thurs, July 13, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Tues, July 18, 2017 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Wed, July 26, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Mon, July 31, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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

  • Tues, July 11, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Fri, July 21, 2017 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Wed, July 26, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Mon, July 31, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Register for a Webinar

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

Student hours limit at 20 hours per week June 25 to July 8

As a reminder, the student employee hours limit reduces to 20 hours per week from June 25, 2017 through July 8, 2017.  The hours limit goes back to 40 hours per week from July 9th until August 19th.  The hours limit is in place to make sure we are in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Please review the 2017 Student Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule at: http://www.uwgb.edu/UWGBCMS/media/hr/files/StudentBiWeeklyPayrollSchedule2017.pdf

If you have any questions about this, please contact Human Resources at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu or ext. 2390.

Sick Leave Fact Sheet

Sick leave is an important fringe benefit available to employees. Most employees earn and, depending on usage, will accumulate hours of unused sick leave while they are employed.  If eligible, upon retirement, layoff, death or with more than 20 years of adjusted continuous service, you can use your unused sick leave credits to pay post-termination state group health insurance premiums for you, your spouse or domestic partner and/or dependents.

Sick leave can be used for the following reasons:

  • A medical, dental, vision appointment for you or an immediate family member
  • Employee’s own illness or injury
  • For temporary care of an immediate family member with an illness or injury
  • After the death of a family member (restricted to three days after death and an additional four days for travel)

To review the complete sick leave policy, please see: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/download/policies/ops/bn3.pdf

Employees have the right to use other accrued leave (personal holiday, floating legal holiday or vacation) in lieu of sick leave in order to preserve sick leave balances.

Sick Leave Credits Program

ETF Fact Sheet: http://etf.wi.gov/publications/et8929.pdf

ETF Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program Brochure: http://etf.wi.gov/publications/et4132.pdf

There are two sick leave credit programs for State of Wisconsin employees:

  • Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit (ASLCC) Program: allows employees to convert sick leave balances to pay for state health insurance at retirement, as well as in other situations such as death, layoff or termination with 20 years of service. Under this program, accumulated sick leave is multiplied by the employee’s highest basic pay rate in a qualifying position and converted to credits to pay for State Group Health Insurance in retirement (or in the other instances listed above).
  • Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit (SHICC) Program: allows employees who have at least 15 years of continuous state service to earn sick leave credits in addition to those provided by the ASLCC program. Eligible employees earn up to 52 supplemental credits/year for years 1-24 of service and up to 104 supplemental credits/year for years 25 and beyond. The number of supplemental credits provided may not exceed the actual number of sick leave credit hours an employee has accumulated.

Sick Leave Credits Example

A state employee retires with 28 full years of adjusted continuous service, with a sick leave balance of 2,150 hours and had a highest base rate of pay of $22.50/hour.

                  ASLCC (2,150 x $22.50) = $48,375

                  SHICC (24 years x 52 hours) = 1,248 hours

                              (4 years x 104 hours) = 416 hours

                                                                   1,664 SHICC hours

                  SHICC (1,664 x $22.50) = $37,440

                  Total ($48,375 + $37,440) = $85,815

 

Please contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu with any questions regarding sick leave benefits.  The Sick Leave Fact Sheet may also be found here.

State Group Life Insurance Definition of ‘Dependent’ Changed Effective May 1, 2017

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced changes to the definition of ‘dependent’ for the State Group Life Insurance program. The changes were effective May 1, 2017 and broaden the definition of ‘dependent’ to expand coverage. Changes include:

  • Removal of the requirement that the dependent be unmarried.
  • Removal of the requirement that the dependent be more than 14 days old.
  • Changed the upper age limit for being considered a dependent from the end of the calendar year in which the dependent attains age 25 to attainment of age 26.
  • Removal of the requirement that the employee be responsible for at least 50% of support and maintenance for the dependent.

In summary, a dependent can be covered until they attain age 26 regardless of their marital, educational or financial status.  The definition of ‘dependent’ can be found in Wis. Admin. Code § ETF 10.01(2)(a).

2017 Summer Leave Report

As we begin the summer pay periods, please remember that leave-eligible, faculty and instructional academic staff employees will be required to submit a “summer leave report” if working any summer service or summer session appointments.

Similar to last summer, there will be no online entry for the summer session/service leave reports. Click here to find one summer leave report that you will use to keep track of all leave taken during your employment over the entire summer.

Specific notes regarding this process:

  • In the top section, fill in your name and employee ID.
  • Record absences for any leave taken while you are under contract during the summer (including work performed that was paid via a lump sum payment).
  • If you do not use any leave time for a given month, enter zero in the “Total Hours” row.
  • Print and sign the summer leave report.
  • Request an approval signature from your summer department chair/supervisor (if working multiple appointments, you may need to request more than one signature).
  • Any sick leave used during the summer will be charged to your primary appointment.
  • This leave report is due to Human Resources by September 2, 2017 regardless of whether or not leave is used.

Please contact payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu with any questions.

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Webinars Offered in June

ETF

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 sessions.

Annuity Options: This webinar will help to increase your understanding of the WRS annuity options available to you at retirement. ETF will also explain the difference between a beneficiary and a named survivor.

  • Fri, June 2, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, June 14, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Thurs, June 22, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wed, June 28, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Buying Service: If you are eligible to purchase service, doing so would increase your retirement or disability benefit. Find out how by viewing this webinar. ETF will cover the types of service you may be able to buy, how and when you can buy service, and much more. Eligible types of service include service earned during prior WRS covered employment and forfeited through a separation benefit and some types of service earned with other government employers.

  • Fri, June 2, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wed, June 7, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Fri, June 9, 2017 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Thurs, June 22, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Understanding Your Annual WRS Statement of Benefits: Join ETF as they review key things you can find out about your WRS benefits, simply just by reading and understanding your WRS annual Statement of Benefits. Some topics ETF will review include:

  • How much you and your employer have contributed to your WRS pension
  • Your vesting status and years of service
  • Your beneficiary designation – what happens to your account if you die before taking a benefit

Tip: Have your statement in hand while attending this webinar.

  • Tues, June 6, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Mon, June 19, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Variable Fund: In this webinar ETF will discuss the Variable Fund – what it is, how it differs from the Core Fund, and the affect participation in this fund may have on your retirement benefit calculations. ETF will also discuss how to elect to participate in the Variable Fund, how to cancel participation, and how the timing of these decisions may affect your Wisconsin Retirement System benefits.

  • Thurs, June 8, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Mon, June 12, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Mon, June 19, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tues, June 27, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

WRS Benefits For New and Mid-Career Employees: This one-hour webinar is for employees who are five years – or more – from retirement. The information presented will help you make sound, strategic decisions over the course of your career. Topics include vesting, ways to enhance a WRS retirement benefit, purchasing service, military service credit, the Core and Variable Trust Funds, contribution rates, the importance of a beneficiary form and how to complete one, and how “life event” changes affect retirement benefits.

  • Wed, June 7, 2017 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Thurs, June 15, 2017 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Wed, June 21, 2017 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Thurs, June 29, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Register for a Webinar

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

 

New Legal Holiday Timesheet Process for University Staff

Due to a change with the recent HRS system upgrade in February, the system will now automatically enter and approve an absence request for 8 hours of legal holiday on the observed legal holiday for University Staff Ongoing employees who are in a 100% position.

  • If you are a University Staff Ongoing 100% FTE employee:
    • If you don’t work on the observed legal holiday and want to use 8 hours of legal holiday for that day, there is nothing you need to do.
    • If you don’t want to use 8 hours of legal holiday for that day, please contact payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu (ex. you work a longer day later that week, so only want to use 6 hours of legal holiday)
  • Any University Staff Ongoing employees who are less than 100% FTE (part-time), will not have legal holidays automatically entered, so you will need to enter absence requests manually.  Emails with instructions were sent out to impacted employees.
  • Public Safety and Power Plant employees will not have legal holidays automatically entered.
  • This year there are two floating legal holidays (Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve), so University Staff Ongoing employees can enter legal holiday absence requests anytime in 2017 to use up these hours.  These floating legal holiday hours will not be automatically loaded.
  • Please note that legal holiday hours expire at the end of the calendar year (12/31/17) for University Staff Ongoing employees, and the legal holiday balance combines both observed and floating legal holiday hours.
  • There are nine legal holidays per year, and here is a list of the legal holidays: http://www.uwgb.edu/human-resources/payroll/legal-holidays/

Please contact Payroll at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu or (920) 465-2390 with any questions.

End of Fiscal Year Leave Usage

This is a reminder to all Non-Instructional Academic Staff & Limited Employees:  As we are nearing the end of the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year, you should be reviewing your vacation and personal holiday leave balances.  You can locate your balances on your last earnings statement or the My UW System Portal.  Please read the information below to avoid losing leave hours not used by 6/30/2017.

Personal Holiday:

  • Personal Holiday hours not used by 6/30/17 will be dropped as of 7/1/17.  They do not carry over to the next fiscal year.

Vacation:

  • Vacation Carryover hours from the 2015-2016 fiscal year that have not been used by 6/30/17 will be dropped as of 7/1/17.
  • If you are eligible for Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA), you may bank vacation (up to your eligible maximum hours) first from the 2015-2016 Vacation Carryover as of 6/30/17 and then from your 2016-2017 Vacation Allocation.
  • A communication regarding ALRA will be sent to employees in July.
  • All remaining 2016-2017 Vacation Allocation hours as of 6/30/17 will automatically be carried over into the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year on 7/1/17 as Vacation Carryover.

Legal Holiday:

  • Memorial Day is the last legal holiday in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  Your balance on your most recent earnings statement should be 8 hours.
  • Floating legal holiday hours not used by 6/30/17 will be dropped as of 7/1/17.

Please contact Payroll at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu if you have any questions.