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Employer Bulletin

All Employers
Vol. 16, No. 3
January 22, 1999

Determining whether an Employe Qualifies for WRS Participation AND Benefit Presentations Begin February 1 in 13 Locations

As the result of a recent appeal, the Department of Employe Trust Funds is issuing this notice to employers for clarification of the following two issues:

  • The effective date for reporting an employe to the WRS under the "look back" provision in Wis. Stats. 40.22 (2m).
  • When it is appropriate to exclude an employe from the WRS under the "30 calendar days" provision in Wis. Stats. 40.22 (6).

Look Back Provision

If an employe is brought into the WRS as a result of the "look back" provision, the effective date of participation must be the day after the first day on which both of the following are true:

  1. The employe has been employed by the employer for at least one year;
  2. The employe worked 600 hours (non-teacher) or 440 hours (teacher) for the employer during the immediately preceding 12-month period.

When an employe reaches 600 hours (non-teacher) or 440 hours (teacher) in a 12-month "look back" period, you must determine the actual day the employe reached 600 hours (non-teacher) or 440 hours (teacher) and enroll the employe effective the following day. Some WRS employers are identifying the "pay-period" in which the employe reaches the two criteria above and enrolling the employe effective the first day of the next pay period. This process does not comply with the statutory provision. Therefore, the employer may not use the first day of the next pay period for enrollment purposes unless the employe reaches 600 hours (non-teacher) or 440 hours (teacher) on the last day of the pay period.

Example: A non-teaching employe begins work on March 10, 1998. At hire, it is determined that he will not be employed for at least 600 hours and, thus, he is not enrolled in WRS. One year later, the employe is still employed. On March 10, 1999, the employer performs a "look back" and determines that the employe has worked less than 600 hours. Therefore, the employer must continue to evaluate his eligibility on a 12-month rolling period. As each future payroll is processed, the employer must add the hours from the most recent payroll period and subtract the hours from the oldest payroll period to determine the total hours worked in the immediately preceding 12 months. During the pay period April 11, 1999 through April 24, 1999, the employe exceeds 600 hours. The number of hours worked in the one-year review period from April 25, 1998 to April 24, 1999 equals 624 hours. The employer now must determine the actual day the employe reached 600 hours and enroll the employe effective the following day. In this example it is determined the employe reached 600 hours on April 21, 1999. The employe must be enrolled effective April 22, 1999.

30 Calendar Day Provision

An employe is excluded from participation in the WRS if the employe is hired and then terminates employment with that employer within the same 30 calendar days.

Example: An employe is newly hired on December 1, 1998 to fill a full-time position, but terminates on December 18, 1998. Although the employe met the WRS eligibility criteria upon hire and was enrolled, the employe is not eligible to participate in WRS for that period of service as the length of employment was for less than 30 calendar days. The employer must reverse (using termination transaction code 03) the initial WRS enrollment and any retirement contributions withheld from the employe's salary must be refunded.

If the employe's hire date and termination date are more than 30 calendar days apart, the employe may not be excluded from the WRS under the 30 calendar day provision. There is no need to count the actual number of days worked, or to measure the length of time between the qualifying date (e.g. WRS begin date) and termination date, or to count the number of days the employe is eligible for WRS. The test is the period of employment.

Example: A non-teaching employe is hired on September 1, 1998 and the expectation is that she will not be employed for 600 hours. On September 1, 1999, the employer performs the 12-month "look back" and determines the employe worked 600 hours and enrolls the employe in the WRS. The employe terminates employment on September 17, 1999. In this case, the employe is eligible for WRS even though her WRS coverage was for less than 30 calendar days because the employe's duration of employment exceeded 30 calendar days; therefore, she is eligible for WRS coverage.

In summary, Wis. Stat. 40.22 (6) requires that you look at the period of employment in determining if the 30 calendar day provision applies, not the period of WRS coverage. If the employe has been employed less than 30 calendar days between the date of hire and the termination date, the employe is not eligible for WRS.

Please direct any questions or concerns about the above process to the Employer Communication Center at (608) 264-7900.

Benefit Presentations Begin February 1 in 13 Locations

The Department of Employe Trust Funds (ETF) and other sponsors will offer 13 public presentations explaining Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and other benefits. Employes, spouses and any interested individuals are encouraged to attend if interested in learning more about WRS benefits and how they apply at the time of retirement.

The first session is on February 1 in the Shawano Community High School Auditorium in Shawano, Wisconsin. Topics include retirement formula benefit calculation, annuity options, disability benefits, separation benefits, taxes, survivor benefits plus health and life insurance benefits. Questions on when to retire and how to determine actual benefits also will be discussed.

No reservations or fees are required. Each session is from 7 to 9 p.m. All locations are handicapped accessible with adequate free parking.

Please inform your employes of the dates and locations. Attached to this Bulletin is a list of the presentation dates and locations. Please reproduce the page as a poster for display in your work areas. In addition, you may want to highlight the locations within driving distance to your office(s).

For questions about the presentation schedule contact Luana Schneider, ETF Member Services, at (608) 266-3463.


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