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Employers

Employer Bulletin

All WRS Employers
Vol. 20, No. 21
December 31, 2003

The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (DETF), provides retirement, disability and death benefits, as well as a Deferred Compensation program for the benefit of Wisconsin public employees and their beneficiaries. DETF also administers various insurance programs available to WRS participating employers that file the appropriate resolutions of inclusion.

Wisconsin Statute 40.21 (1) states, "Any employer shall be included within and thereafter subject to the provisions of the Wisconsin Retirement System by so electing, through adoption of a resolution by the governing body of the employer." Each WRS participating employer designates an agent who is authorized and responsible for acting on behalf of the governing body. However, it is ultimately the governing body that is liable for the actions of the agent.

As the recipient of this Bulletin, you are the designated WRS Agent of record for your employer. As such, you are authorized under Wisconsin Statute 40.03 (2) (j) to act on behalf of your governing body in all matters pertaining to the programs administered by DETF. As the designated agent, you are responsible for transacting business between your employer and DETF. Significant negative impact can occur for an employee when the WRS Agent fails in the performance of his/her duties.

Subchapters 202 and 1701 of the WRS Administration Manual (ET-1127) outline the duties for which WRS participating employers are inherently responsible. These duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Certifying all information transmitted to the WRS. Accuracy of reported information is critical, as this information is used to calculate benefits.
  • Familiarization with WRS participation and coverage provisions.
  • Determining employee eligibility for participation in the WRS, and the employee’s correct WRS employment category.
  • Determining employee eligibility for all DETF administered insurance programs in which the employer participates.
  • Complying with Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code as they relate to WRS eligibility, enrollment and transaction reporting.
  • Transmitting required WRS contributions with their corresponding forms and reports by established due dates.
  • Transmitting required premiums for all DETF administered insurance programs in which the employer participates.
  • Maintaining a sufficient supply of current forms necessary for proper WRS reporting.
  • Distributing materials to employees that are necessary for the effective administration of the WRS, including, but not limited to:
  • The Your Benefit Handbook (ET-2119) when an employee is enrolled in the WRS.
  • The WRS Annual Statement of Benefits, ET-7365. These Statements are produced annually by DETF and delivered to employers for distribution.
  • The Request for Benefit Information (ET-7301) when an employee is terminating participating employment, planning to retire, or becomes disabled (see Chapter 17 of the WRS Administration Manual for more information).
  • Reporting accurate employment termination dates as defined by Wisconsin Statue  40.02 (26) and Wisconsin Administrative Code ETF 10.08.
  • Referring employees to DETF’s Member Services Call Center when questions arise regarding their individual WRS account or benefits to which they may be entitled (see Member Call Center telephone number below).
  • Signing and transmitting all forms necessary for DETF’s use in the determination of a participant’s eligibility for, and amount of, a WRS or insurance benefit.

DETF is dedicated to providing members and their beneficiaries with financial security and protection from financial hardship, both now and in the future. Our members rely on the benefit plans we administer. One of our goals is to assist participating employers in understanding the laws, rules, and regulations governing the WRS and other DETF administered benefit programs. To do this, DETF makes many sources of information available to both employers and employees who participate in the WRS including:

  • The Employer Communication Center at (608) 264-7900. Employers should feel free to contact the Employer Communication Center as often as necessary with WRS related and DETF administered insurance program questions.
  • The DETF Call Center at (1-877) 533-5020. Employees may utilize this toll free number when they have questions regarding their individual accounts.
  • DETF’s Internet Site: http://etf.wi.gov. You will find Employer Bulletins, forms, employer administration manuals, and other information regarding the WRS and DETF administered insurance programs.
  • The WRS Administration Manual (ET-1127). The WRS Administration Manual is provided to all employers who participate in the WRS and contains information on WRS eligibility, reporting, and benefits.
  • Employer Bulletins. Employer Bulletins are sent to all WRS participating employers, advising them of relevant changes in reporting, eligibility criteria, benefit levels, and availability of benefit programs administered by DETF.
  • It’s Your Benefit. This newsletter contains news and information about the group health insurance program administered by DETF. It is distributed to active employees through their employers three times a year.
  • Trust Fund News. This newsletter, containing news and information about WRS benefits and programs, is distributed to all WRS employees three times a year through their employers.
  • Employer Training. Regional employer training sessions are held at various locations around the state offering training on the WRS and related insurance programs. Specialized employer training may be provided upon request.
  • Public Benefit Presentations. Public presentations regarding WRS benefits are scheduled at locations throughout the state in the spring and fall of each year (dates and locations can be found on DETF’s Internet site).
  • Forms and Brochures. The most current revisions of forms and brochures can be ordered by contacting DETF at (608) 266-3302. Forms may also be ordered or printed from DETF’s Internet site.

In order to provide our participants (your employees) with the benefits to which they have a right, while maintaining the integrity of the fund, it is essential that participating employers work in conjunction with DETF in fulfilling that goal. Designated WRS Agents have the responsibility of keeping informed of WRS eligibility, enrollment, and reporting criteria and requirements for the purpose of providing DETF with the essential participant information necessary to meet the needs of, and the obligations to, our participants. Therefore, it is critical that employees are made aware of sources of information pertaining to their benefits and that they receive full cooperation from their employers in obtaining those benefits.

Questions regarding WRS Agent responsibilities can be directed to the Employer Communication Center at (608) 264-7900.

 

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