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Department of Employee Trust Funds
September 21, 2012

WRS Contribution Rates for 2013 Set

Contribution rates for most Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employees and employers will increase from 11.8% to 13.3% of payroll in 2013. In general, the total contribution rate is split equally between the employee and employer. The Employee Trust Funds (ETF) Board approved the rate changes yesterday, based on an annual actuarial report.

While many complex factors affect WRS contribution rates, the increase is primarily due to two factors: the lingering effects of the global economic meltdown in 2008 and recent law changes. Contribution rate changes, whether increases or decreases, are considered normal for retirement systems that have defined or pre-funded benefits.

Core Trust Fund investment results are distributed (“smoothed”) over a course of five years in order to soften the impact of year-to-year volatility of investments. The 26% Core Fund investment loss in 2008 started to affect contribution rates in 2010 and will continue to affect the rates through 2014.

The new rates will go into effect January 1, 2013. The contribution rates in the following table may be different for employees who have collective bargaining agreements.

Employee Category Total Rate
for 2013
for 2013
General/Teacher 11.8% 13.3% 6.65% 6.65%
Elected Official/Executive/Judge 14.1% 14.0% 7.0% 7.0%
Protective with Social Security 14.9% 16.4% 6.65% 9.75%
Protective without Social Security 17.2% 19.0% 6.65% 12.35%

The rates shown do not include other mandatory employer contributions for duty disabilities, the state's Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit program, or unfunded liabilities--all of which vary by employer.

Other information:

  • The contribution rate decrease for Elected Official/Executive/ Judge category employees was largely due to the cut in benefits for these employees under 2011 Act 10.
  • With 232,518 employees, the “General/Teacher” category is the largest in the WRS, followed by Protective with Social Security, 19,610; Protective without Social Security, 2,711; and Elected Official/Executive/Judge, 1,393.
  • The WRS Study, released in June 2012, found that the WRS funding level and contribution rates have been consistently more stable than other state retirement systems.
  • WRS Contribution Rate History


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