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Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
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Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds

 

myETF for Employers

Employers

myETFEmployer FAQ

If you can’t find an answer to your question, please email the myETFEmployers@etf.wi.gov mailbox and let us know.

Click on the category below to expand the questions.

myETF is a new benefits administration system employers who provide ETF-administered benefits will use to report information about employees, such as enrollments, earnings and contributions, benefit deductions and demographics. It will include both myETF Employer Online Services and myETF Member Online Services.
  • Elimination of annual reconciliation
  • Payroll-based reporting cycles
  • Move to electronic communications and correspondence
  • NEW: Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) database
  • Limited paper processes for employers
  • Real-time processing
  • A single source of information
  • Decrease in data errors
  • Intuitive employer interface

Visit the Benefits of myETF section for more details about what myETF has to offer employers.

When myETF is up and running, employers will report information periodically. myETF users will have more freedom to report changes to their information, and account reconciliation will no longer require a large time commitment annually.

ETF staff will have more time to directly answer questions from members and employers using myETF. There will also be ways for myETF users to get immediate assistance with a new Online Help feature.

Once myETF is completely released, there will be no annual reconciliation process. Instead, employers will ensure the accuracy of reported data based on their payroll cycle.

ETF will conduct different phases of training, including offering webinars to instruct employers on the import file documents and layouts. The timeline gives employers enough time to get data mapping done and files ready before myETF goes live.

The myETF Employer web pages contains resources to help employers understand the different processes in the new system. Once myETF is live, the processes will be documented in its Online Help. We will also offer webinars and trainings to instruct employers on required file processes.

When myETF goes live, there will be documentation that will walk employers through the different processes in the system. myETF will contain an Online Help section where employers can directly communicate with ETF staff.

myETF system administrators will manage security by assigning system capabilities to roles. Certain information, such as medical documents, will only be available to roles that would require access.

Yes, members of the Employer Advisory Council (EAC) participate in myETF system testing and offer feedback. ETF will require all employers to confirm that their files meet the payroll file specifications or that they can process their payroll file in myETF.

The myETF Glossary lists new terms employers may see when working with the new system. If you can’t find a term, please email the myETFEmployers@etf.wi.gov mailbox and let us know!

No, myETF Member Online Services will allow members to interact with all of their ETF-administered benefits in a user-friendly, intuitive environment. myETF Benefits will be “retired” as ETF rolls out both myETF Employer and Member Online Services for health insurance, life insurance and income continuation insurance during the current phase.

When myETF goes live, each payroll cycle will gather the information previously collected during the annual reconciliation process.

ETF notified a number of payroll vendors about the changes myETF will bring. We contacted those vendors based on employers’ responses to the myETF Employer Questionnaire conducted earlier in 2016.

 

List of Contacted Payroll Software Vendors

Accela
ACS
ADP
Alio
Banyon Data Systems
Casselle
Civic Systems
Clarity
HAB Inc.
Harris Local Government
Incode
Incode 10
Kronos Software
Marcia Brenner & Associates
MSI Software
New World ERP
Paymate Payroll
Payroll Data Services
School Office
Skyward
Specialized Data Systems
Springbrook
Sungard Public Sector
Town Hall Software
Tyler- Munis
Weidenhammer
WIPFLI (Dynamics-GP)
Workhorse
WPPI Energy
Xerox

For 2017 annual processing, employers will take steps similar to their current annual reconciliation procedures.

We are not planning a phased approach with the file confirmation process. All employers will be required to take the file confirmation training during the same timeframe.

Confirmation/testing is the process for which you will confirm you can report payroll information to ETF through the confirmation/test environment. Because the Confirmation process is testing your ability to submit payroll information in the Confirmation/test environment, you may submit fictitious employee information during the Confirmation process only.

Data Setup is the upload of employee information for the first time into myETF Employer Online Services in preparation of the release of myETF. You must enter this information into myETF, before you submit your first payroll. Then you may begin to take advantage of the new system’s full functionality.

The primary reason for expanding the amount of information collected is to assist employers in making eligibility determinations for Wisconsin Retirement System benefits and ETF-administered benefits (life, health, vision, childcare, parking, etc.) and to flag potential discrepancies earlier in the career of an employee. There are other reasons why additional reporting is beneficial:

  • While employers are ultimately responsible for determining WRS eligibility, increased reporting on employees that are evaluated for eligibility will allow ETF and the employer to create the account quickly and efficiently, potentially eliminating interest assessments on the employer for late reporting.
  • ETF does not review for earnings spikes until the member applies for a benefit, at which point employers are often asked to provide supporting evidence for earnings reported several years ago. If ETF knows what constitutes earnings up front, the painstaking process of backtracking to ensure accurate benefit calculations is eliminated for the member, employer and ETF.
  • Employees are continuously evaluated for WRS participation as they continue to work. State statute provides opportunities to later become eligible for participation if:
    • Work expectations change
    • At the employee’s one-year anniversary
    • Over a rolling 12-month period
  • Including information about ineligible employees in the file that the employer sends to ETF will help automate the look back process for employers. Currently, the eligibility process is a manual and labor intensive process for employers, especially large employers.
  • Should WRS eligibility requirements change in the future due to new legislation, ETF will need this information to provide a thorough analysis of the impact of these changes on participants, employees and the funding of future WRS benefits.

  • For these reasons, it is necessary that employees enrolled in categories evaluated for WRS eligibility who have not yet met eligibility requirements be reported on the Payroll File as ineligible. For a complete list of myETF Job Category Codes see Appendix 6, Table 6 of the myETF Employer Payroll File Resource.

    NOTE: There are employees who will never be evaluated for WRS eligibility and, therefore, will never meet WRS eligibility requirements. These individuals are

    a) not statutorily mandated to be covered under the WRS,
    b) were not included in the employer’s Resolution of Inclusion Under the WRS (ET-1319),
    c) were specifically excluded from participation in the WRS or,
    d) given the opportunity to participate in the WRS but waived participation.

    Employers should not report employees who will never be evaluated for WRS eligibility as identified above. This circumstances only affect approximately 40 employers. If you are unsure whether your employees fall into this category, please confirm with your ETF case manager.

    Employees who do not fall under the above criteria need to be reported on the payroll file. These include graduate assistants, Insurance-Only employers/employees, LTE, seasonal employees, poll workers and anyone else eligible for any ETF-administered benefits (including life, health, vision, childcare, parking, etc.)

    Ultimately, employers are responsible for determining their employees’ eligibility for participation in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), especially when employees are initially hired because ETF does not know the terms or agreement of the hire. Validations built into myETF are meant to call the employer’s attention to an employee who may be eligible, but not actually to determine eligibility.
    A work report validation will inform the employer that a WRS ineligible employee appears to meet WRS eligibility criteria. The employer will then need to confirm the employee’s WRS eligibility status.
    Yes, a rehired annuitant should be reported as either WRS Eligible or WRS Ineligible depending on the employee’s WRS eligibility. Please note that a rehired annuitant’s eligibility requirements may differ depending on their termination date. Please see Chapter 15 of the WRS administration manual for more information on rehired annuitants and their WRS eligibility.
      Your options include:
    • Payroll File in Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, sent to ETF by SFTP, or imported directly into myETF
    • Payroll File in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format, sent to ETF by SFTP, or imported directly into myETF
    • Manually entering the detailed payroll information directly into myETF Employer Online Services
    If you have more than one payroll reporting cycle, you can use multiple codes that correspond to your different cycles, (for example, both the bi-weekly and semi-monthly codes, both the weekly and bi-weekly codes, etc.). If you have multiple cycles using the same frequency (for instance, bi-weekly on Monday and bi-weekly on Friday), you would use the specific codes for each of those. Appendix 4 of the Payroll File Resource document provides more information.
    Reporting insurance information on covered employees is required for employers that provide ETF-administered insurance benefits to their employees.
    Employers will add WRS ineligible employees the same way as WRS eligible employees in myETF. Employers will include WRS ineligible employees when they submit their payroll information each pay cycle.
    You should submit an adjustment record to the pay period for which the contributions were missed or misreported. You may submit an adjustment record for one period or a ‘spread’ adjustment covering multiple periods. (In the case of a ‘spread’ adjustment, myETF will automatically allocate contributions to each period within the ‘spread’ adjustment). Alternatively, you may create a manual adjustment through myETF Employer Online Services. Note that in myETF, the reconciliation happens in real time.
    Yes, also remember to report all the relevant information that is required when a Job Category changes.
    If the employee’s home email address and phone number are available, please report those. If they are not, you should report their work email address and phone number instead. Both of these fields are required only when available; if an employer does not have that information, they don’t need to report it.

    A Chapter 40 termination occurs when an employee’s WRS coverage is terminated while the employee is on a leave of absence, but the employee/employer relationship is not severed. Under Chapter 40 rules, an employee’s WRS coverage must terminate when he/she has been:

    • On an unpaid layoff/leave of absence for:
      • Three or more years without insurance deductions, or
      • Five years with insurance deductions
    • Approved for certain disability benefits.

    In such situations, even though the employee’s WRS coverage must end, the employer may choose to keep the employee on an unpaid leave of absence rather than terminating employment. The employer may choose this approach for a variety of reasons, including maintaining the employee’s eligibility for non-Chapter 40 (non-ETF) benefits that the employer offers, pending the resolution of ongoing employment-related litigation, etc.

    The payroll report needs to be submitted, reconciled (work report submitted error-free), and paid by the 24th of the month following the pay date. In order to account for payment processing, payments need to be initiated two business days prior to the 24th if ETF already has the bank account information on file. If it is a new bank account or a different bank account, employers will need to enter a new payment method and go through the pre-note process at least four business days before the 24th of the month. This means you will submit your myETF Payroll File and reconciled Work Report to us two or four business days prior to the 24th, depending on the bank account status.

    ETF must receive payment for adjustments made to previous work reports within 20 days of the validated adjustment work report submission.

    ETF will assess late reported earnings interest when employers submit any adjustments to work reports from a prior calendar year.

    Payroll files must be submitted, reconciled, and paid by the 24th of the month following the pay date for the payroll information being submitted. ETF will assess late payment interest if an employer submits its payment after this date.

    If the pay does not clearly fit into Overtime Pay, Compensatory Time Payout, Bonus Pay or Extra Curricular Activity Pay and it is WRS reportable as described in Chapter 5 of the WRS Manual, include that amount with Regular Pay.

    No, employees are identified through their Social Security Number.

    In most cases, the relationship that employees have with ETF for ETF-administered benefits spans a longer timeframe than their relationship with an individual employer. Many state and local government employees have dynamic public service careers working for more than one employer that provides ETF-administered benefits. Even for those employees who do work with one employer their whole career, their relationship with ETF continues into their retirement. A personal email address is generally more consistent through the course of a person’s life than their work address. ETF will use these email addresses to ensure employees are informed about the benefits they earn.

    Your options include:

    • Payroll File/Employment File in Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, sent to ETF by SFTP or imported directly into myETF
    • Payroll File/Employment File in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format, sent to ETF by SFTP or imported directly into myETF
    • Manually entering the detailed payroll information directly into myETF Employer Online Services

    You can do any combination of these methods. For instance, you could submit a Payroll File in CSV format for your regular payroll reporting cycle, and then enter enrollment information manually by going through myETF Employer Online Services.

    We updated the myETF Payroll File Resource in March 2017 to contain more Report Generation Types codes (payroll reporting cycles) (see Appendix 4) to account for situations like this. For this specific circumstance, you would use two separate Semi-monthly Report Generation Types to capture each payroll reporting cycle.

    Here are the Payroll File fields employers can submit on every file, regardless of whether there is an update. Please remember that you must report all fields marked with a Y in Table 1 of the Payroll File Resource on each record submitted.

      • First/Middle Name (Fields 11 and 12) (Last Name is always required)
      • Address Fields (Fields 17 – 25)
      • Phone Number (Field 26)
      • Email Address (Field 27)

    ETF provides information in the myETF Payroll File Resource Appendix 10 Addendum explaining what happens when other fields have duplicate information reported.

    For larger files, sending duplicate information may increase the time it takes to process the file.

    Employers that may have balance-of-contract situations include school districts, technical colleges and CESAs. They sometimes pay teachers in July and August even though they do not work in July and August. The teachers elect a lower dollar amount in each paycheck to stretch their pay over the summer. In cases like this, the employer should report the earnings and associated service hours in the months when they were earned.

    An example may help: Serendipity is a nine-month contracted teacher for the School District of Sunshine. Serendipity elected to reduce her normal payroll checks to extend payments through the summer. Her fiscal year contract is for $50,000. Serendipity elects to receive $2,000 biweekly checks across 26 pay periods (eight pay periods from July to December and 18 pay periods from January to August); rather than $2,632.00 biweekly check over 20 pay periods (eight pay periods from July to December and 12 pay periods from January to June).

    The school district’s payroll benefit coordinator should report the earnings and associated service hours to ETF in the January to June portion on the transaction so they are allocated to the correct fiscal year. The balance-of-contract payments (those made throughout the summer) must be reported along with their corresponding service hours as though received the preceding fiscal year.

    Reporting in myETF: The employer will use a spread adjustment for January 1 through June 30 to report the hours and earnings to the correct fiscal year. A spread adjustment divvies up the paycheck into all the pay periods from January through June.

    WRS Manual Chapter 9 Periodic Employee Transaction Reporting

    Payroll File:

    Note: Some columns are hidden in order to display the relevant data

    Work Report Spread Adjustment:

    Note: Some columns are hidden in order to display the relevant data

    When you report the teacher hours and earnings, submit those amounts in the Regular Wages and Regular Hours fields. You should report the hours and earnings for any incidental positions to the employee’s primary position in the Extra Curr Act Pay and Extra Cur Act Pay Hours fields.

    Please note, in situations where the compensation is paid on a flat-fee basis (regardless of hours worked), use the following formula to determine hours of service to report: divide the amount paid annually by the participating employee’s current basic pay rate and report the resulting quotient for hours of service. Extra-curricular pay is intended for school district employees that may have extra-curricular responsibilities at a different rate of pay.

    WRS Manual Chapter 5 Earnings and Reportable Hours

    If only one employment category meets the WRS eligibility criteria, and all other employment with the employer does not, report all the employee’s hours and earnings under the one employment category that meets the eligibility criteria.
    *Continue to monitor the hours of all other employment that does not originally meet eligibility criteria on its own. Should the other employment eventually qualify on its own, the employee must be enrolled in the WRS under that employment category, and hours and earnings must be reported to their respective category.

    Here is an example: Hermes is a police officer and a dispatcher for the Village of Olympus. His position as a police officer meets WRS eligibility, so he is enrolled in the WRS with job category 33. His position as a dispatcher is general job category 30. The dispatcher position does not meet WRS eligibility on its own. You should report hours and earnings for both job categories to ETF under category 33.

    If all employment categories meet WRS eligibility criteria, you will need to report the hours and earnings separately for each employment category.

    Here is an example: Annabeth is a police officer and a dispatcher for the Village of Olympus. Her position as a police officer meets WRS eligibility, so she is enrolled in the WRS with job category 33. Her position as a dispatcher is general job category 30 and also meets WRS eligibility so she is enrolled as a category 30 as well. You should report hours and earnings for both job categories separately to ETF.

    Be sure to indicate the Work Status Codes as ACT (WRS Eligible). Annabeth will have a line for job category 33 with the Employee Status Change as AE (Active Employment). Her second line is for job category 30 with the Employee Status Change as AE (Active Employment).


    Note: The above image is an example of what the work report would look like when an employer enters the employee in as a new employee.


    Note: The above image is an example of what the work report would look like on subsequent reports once an employee has been established as an employee with multiple job categories at an employer

    Refer to WRS Manual Chapter 4 subsection 402
    *Please note, an employee can have multiple employment records with ETF.

    Employees with a summer school teaching contract that is part of the school year contract, should have earnings and associated service hours for summer school that are paid in June, July or August reported with the January through June fiscal year earnings. 

    Use a spread adjustment for January 1 through June 30 to report the hours and earnings to the correct fiscal year. A spread adjustment divvies up the paycheck into all the pay periods from January through June.

    Employees with a separate summer school teaching contract that is unassociated from the previous school year contract or subsequent school year contract, the earnings and associated service hours for summer school should be reported ‘when paid.’

    Report the earnings and associated hours for the regular school year, plus any summer earnings and associated hours paid before July 1 in the Fiscal January to June field. Then include only the summer school earnings and associated hours paid after July 1 in the Calendar January to December field.

    Yes, you can upload a payroll file with different records. This will create separate work reports and adjustments in myETF. When you look through work reports and correct errors, you’ll need to evaluate multiple work reports if there are multiple record types. 

    The recommended file naming conventions for uploading a Payroll File to myETF are as follows:
    ETF_Payroll_[EmpETF_ID]_[paydate]_[File_no].csv (paydate formatted as yyyymmdd) ETF_Payroll_[EmpETF_ID]_[paydate]_[File_no].xml (paydate formatted as yyyymmdd) (File_no refers to the number of the file submitted in a day. Even if you intend to only submit one file in a day, File_no is still recommended.) These naming conventions apply to files directly uploaded to myETF as well as files uploaded via SFTP. 

    Use a spread adjustment for January 1 through June 30 to report the hours and earnings to the correct fiscal year. A spread adjustment divvies up the paycheck into all the pay periods from January through June.

    Comp Time is compensatory time that is included in regular wages and hours. If the employee used the comp time, then it is reported with regular wages and hours. If they were to be paid out (like a one-time cash amount for comp time), the employer would have to report it back to the year in which it was earned (by doing a spread adjustment record). This avoids having any upticks in reported hours and earnings for some years. 

    Employees who are WRS-ineligible should be listed with the Job Category code they would have if they were eligible for WRS benefits. Take a look at Appendix 6 in the myETF Payroll File for a complete list of job category codes.

    An error will prevent myETF from saving the file information. An exception will notify you which information needs reviewing; myETF will still save the information reported as an exception. For errors, you may delete the records in error from the work report details and process another payroll file containing only the corrected (previously deleted) records.
    No, myETF will only accept error-free work reports. You may delete the records in error from the work report details and later process another Payroll File containing only the corrected (previously deleted) records.

    Currently, you will find a CSV sample file on the myETF Employer web pages under the Library/Resources tab. Watch for the addition of an XML schema in the near future. This file is just a sample; the data you submit will depend upon which ETF-administered benefit programs you participate in and whether you are a state or local employer.

    Additional Employer FAQs are also available.