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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

Q&AFrequently Asked Questions
Accumulated Sick Leave Credit Conversion Program

Members

Click on the question below to expand the answer.

Your sick leave credits will be preserved until you later become a WRS annuitant. If you withdraw your WRS account and take a separation benefit, you will lose your eligibility to use your sick leave credits. You do not need to be covered under the State Group Health Insurance Program when you terminate state employment to qualify under this provision unless you last terminated state employment before July 26, 2003.

When you apply for your retirement benefit, you must either enroll in the State Group Health Insurance Program or file an escrow application with ETF within 30 days of notification from ETF if you do not want to enroll at that time because you have comparable coverage elsewhere. If you do not either enroll in state coverage or escrow your sick leave credits at that time, you will lose your eligibility to use your sick leave credits.

If you are eligible for an immediate annuity but choose not to immediately apply for it, and you are covered under the State Group Health Insurance Program on the date you leave state service, you can continue your health insurance coverage and use your sick leave credits to pay the premiums. If you have comparable health insurance elsewhere, you can apply to save (escrow) your sick leave credits for later. See 4. What if I am nearing retirement and not covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program? for more details.

If your spouse is employed with a local employer, they may receive health insurance through the State Group Health Insurance Program, however their plan is considered a local plan and not a state plan. Your accumulated sick leave credits can only be used to pay for premiums through a state plan.

See 5. I currently have or will have health insurance coverage through another source. Can I escrow my accumulated sick leave credits so that I can use them in the future? for details on how to save your sick leave credits for later use.

I would like to be covered under the program and use my accumulated sick leave credits to pay for premiums:

  • If you aren’t covered under the program, you will have a special opportunity to enroll in the nationwide Access Plan by the first of the month in which you retire. Talk to your employer benefit specialist about your specific enrollment deadline.
  • This opportunity only allows you to enroll in the Access Plan, if you’d like to enroll in another plan, you must wait until the next open enrollment period to change plans.
  • If you are not currently covered under the Group Health Insurance Program, you must enroll in the Access Plan by the first of the month in which you retire. Talk to your employer benefit specialist about your specific enrollment deadline.
  • You must also submit the Sick Leave Credit Escrow Application (ET-4305) along with your schedule of benefits. A schedule of benefits can be found in your health plan documents. It describes which services your plan covers, as well as out-of-pocket limits and copays. Your application must be submitted within 30 days of your retirement date.
  • We recommend you get in touch with ETF as soon as you know your coverage details to help determine if your coverage meets the requirements. Then, if your coverage is considered not comparable, you may have the chance to enroll in one of the state plans during open enrollment. If there isn’t an open enrollment opportunity prior to your retirement, you will have a special enrollment opportunity for the Access Plan a full month prior to retirement. Talk to your employer benefit specialist about your specific enrollment deadline.

This question provides an overview, for the full details see Information for Rehired Annuitants (ET-4105).

I am returning to a WRS-eligible position and will work:

  • 2/3 of full-time or more:
    • Your annuity will be suspended, and your accumulated sick leave credits will be placed on hold. If you have health insurance through the state, your health care premiums will be deducted at the employee-rate throughout your employment. If you don’t have health insurance through the state upon return to work, you’ll have a 30-day enrollment period. When you “re-retire”, as long as you are enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program and have paid one full month’s premium, you will have any additional sick leave accumulated during this employment added to your existing sick leave credit balance.
    • If you originally terminated state employment before July 2, 2013, you can choose whether you suspend your annuity. The two bullets below explain your options and how this will affect your health insurance and sick leave credits.
  • less than 2/3 full-time and terminate my annuity:
    • If you have health insurance through the state, your sick leave credits will be placed on hold and your health care premiums will be deducted at the employee-rate throughout your employment. If you don’t have health insurance through the state upon return to work, you’ll have a 30-day enrollment period. When you “re-retire”, as long as you are enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program and have paid one full month’s premium, you will have any additional sick leave accumulated during this employment added to your existing sick leave credit balance.
  • less than 2/3 full-time and continue my annuity:
    • Your health insurance coverage is not affected. Any unused sick leave hours accrued during this employment will be lost when you “re-retire”.

I am returning to work for the state in a non-WRS-eligible position:

  • Your annuity and health insurance will continue, but you will lose any unused sick leave you accrue with this employment.

There are two times in which you can re-enroll in coverage:

  1. During the annual open enrollment period each fall for coverage effective January 1 of the following year.
  2. If you involuntarily lose your comparable coverage. Examples of involuntary loss could be loss of employment or divorce. You must apply within 30 days of your coverage ending. You will be required to submit documentation to ETF verifying your involuntary loss of coverage.

Yes. Having a small escrowed sick leave balance allows you an additional enrollment period if you were to lose other health insurance coverage. Without a balance, you would only be able to re-enroll in coverage during the annual open enrollment period in the fall which would provide coverage effective the following January 1. Once enrolled and your sick leave balance is exhausted, you can maintain coverage by paying for coverage out of your annuity. It’s important that you escrow your sick leave hours upon termination, to have this mid-year opportunity.

  • If you are covered under a family plan (as a subscriber or dependent): Your remaining sick leave credits will be transferred to your surviving spouse or eligible dependents.
  • If you are on a single plan: Your credits will not transfer and will be lost.
  • If your credits are escrowed: Your credits will be passed on to your surviving spouse or eligible dependents if they maintain comparable coverage while the sick leave credits are escrowed.