Benefits and Payroll News
January 2010 Unclassified Employee Monthly Pay Date
December 11, 2009 | Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources
For employees normally paid on the 1st of the month, this is a reminder that the January Unclassified monthly pay date (for December 2009 earnings) will be Monday, January 4, 2010, since January 1, 2010 is a Federal Reserve Holiday.
When a pay date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal Reserve Holiday, the pay date is usually the previous business day or non-Federal Reserve Holiday. An exception to this normal pay date provision is the Unclassified monthly pay date that falls on New Year’s Day – January 1. To avoid tax-related issues, the January pay date must be the “official banking business day” following the New Year’s holiday. The “official banking business day” is defined as a calendar day other than a Saturday, Sunday or a Federal Reserve Holiday.
Social Security and Medicare Wage Bases and Rates for 2010
December 11, 2009 | Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources and the Social Security Administration
Because there is no cost-of-living adjustment for January 1, 2010, the Social Security (full FICA) wage base for 2010 will be the same as the wage base for 2009, $106,800. The Medicare wage base will not have a dollar limit for 2010.
The employer and employee tax rates will remain the same in 2010. The Social Security (full FICA) rate remains at 7.65% (6.20% Social Security plus 1.45% Medicare) for wages up to $106,800. All wages over $106,800 are subject only to the 1.45% Medicare rate. The rate remains at 1.45% for others who are subject only to Medicare.
The University matches the employee contribution rate and amount for both the Social Security and Medicare components.
Related Link: Social Security Administration, Maximum Taxable Earnings
Payroll Check Pick-Up on Furlough Days
November 18, 2009 | Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources
November 27 and December 30, 2009 are designated furlough days for UW-Madison employees. The Office of Human Resources will be closed for business on these days.
For UW-Madison employees who do not have direct deposit, payroll check pick-up will be available at the Transportation Services office at the Welcome Center, 21 N. Park Street, Suite 1200, on Friday, November 27 and Wednesday, December 30, 2009 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Payroll checks will be available at the Transportation Services window and drive-thru in the interior of the parking garage. Walk-up service will be offered at the window, and drive-thru service will be accessible from the middle lane. Employees must provide their photo ID to the attendant to pick-up their check.
Annual Adult Dependent Eligibility Mailing for Health Insurance
October 21, 2009 | Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds
Health plans will be sending the annual notice letter and Adult Child Eligibility Form to health insurance subscribers with dependents age 19 or older (other than spouses) the week of October 26, 2009. The deadline to return the Adult Child Eligibility Form to the health plan is December 1, 2009. Health plans must receive verification forms by this date in order to ensure that health coverage will continue on January 1, 2010. If health plans receive the verification forms after December 1, 2009, the dependent’s health insurance coverage may end as of December 31, 2009.
Note: Health plans are not allowed to accept verbal responses to the Adult Child Eligibility Form. Incomplete and/or unreturned verification forms may result in denied/delayed prescription drug benefits and claims for dependents.
Health insurance subscribers switching health plans during the 2010 It’s Your-Choice enrollment period must complete and return the Adult Child Eligibility Form to the health plan that initiated the letter and covered the subscribers in 2009, not the new health plan selected for 2010. Employee Trust Funds (ETF) will notify the new health plan of any dependent status changes based on responses to the Adult Child Eligibility Form.
If a health insurance subscriber wants to delete a dependent, they are instructed to submit a Health Insurance Application/Change Form, ET-2301 to their benefits coordinator or campus benefits office so that the dependent can be removed from coverage and a COBRA continuation notification be issued.
Note: If the employee with family coverage chooses not to continue coverage of an adult child that is otherwise eligible, it is a voluntary cancellation and the child is not eligible for COBRA coverage.
Related Link: ETF - Benefit Eligibility for Adult Children up to Age 27
2009 UW-Madison Employee Benefits & Resources Fair
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street on the UW-Madison Campus
Participants will have the opportunity to meet with benefit plan representatives, discover campus resources, attend informative presentations, talk to a benefit specialist and participate in health assessments.
ETF Notice Details Budget Bill Changes
July 28, 2009 | Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds
ETF has released a notice outlining the provisions from 2009 Wisconsin Acts 28 and 14 that may affect WRS Participants and Employers. The following sections provide summaries of the changes.
The Effect of Furloughs on WRS Reportable Income and Benefits.
Effective July 1, 2009 - The University of Wisconsin System will continue to report employee earnings and service for WRS purposes as if the furloughs did not occur.
Changes In The Calculation Of WRS Benefits For Certain Part-Time Staff
Effective July 1, 2009 - This provision has two parts:
- School District educational support staff qualify for WRS participation at 440 hours; this change does not apply to University of Wisconsin System Employees.
- The early retirement actuarial reduction is lowered for all part-time non-teaching participants and requires that the calculation use 1,320 hours as the full-time equivalent for a year of creditable service, when calculating the actuarial reduction.
Domestic Partners – Retirement and Insurance Benefits Available
Effective January 1, 2010 – A domestic partner is treated like a spouse for purposes of the WRS, state group health insurance Wisconsin Deferred Compensation and other related benefits.
Health Insurance Coverage of Dependents Through Age 26
Effective January 1, 2010 – Requires that health plans provide coverage to a dependent child through age 26 years.
Insurance Coverage for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Effective January 1, 2010 – Requires health plans to provide coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives and Services
Effective January 1, 2010 – Requires that health plans expand coverage to include implantable birth control devices that are currently excluded.
Insurance Coverage of Licensed Mental Health Professionals Services
Effective January 1, 2010 - Requires health plans to provide coverage for the treatment of nervous or mental disorders, or alcoholism or other drug abuse problems when the services are provided by a licensed mental health professional.
Insurance - Independent Review of Coverage Denial Determinations
Effective January 1, 2010 - Permits participants to have claim disputes reviewed by medical professionals who have no connection to their health plan.
Insurance Coverage of Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants and Related Treatments For Infants and Children
Effective January 1, 2010 - Requires health plans to provide coverage for hearing aids, cochlear implants and related treatments for a child covered under the plan that is less than 18 years of age and who is certified as deaf or hearing impaired.
Related Link: ETF Notice Details Budget Bill Changes
Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program Update
July 20, 2009 | Source: University of Wisconsin System
As of June 1, 2009, Lincoln National Life Insurance Company and RiverSource Life Insurance Company are temporarily suspended from entering into new Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) contracts. UW employees with existing contracts may continue their contributions.
The University of Wisconsin TSA Review Committee voted to recommend restricting both Lincoln and RiverSource because their financial stability ratings do not meet the minimums established in the TSA Criteria. UW System President Kevin Reilly approved this recommendation.
Participants who have fixed annuity investments are permitted to move these investments to a different company in the TSA program or to a variable sub-account with the same company without surrender charges. This condition will remain in effect until the companies' ratings improve to meet the standards in the TSA Criteria.
There are six investment providers in the UW TSA 403(b) program; other providers include Dreyfus, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and TIAA-CREF. Please visit the TSA-WDC Appointment Contact Information Page if you are interested in meeting with an investment provider representative.
2010 Health Insurance Changes
July 3, 2009 | Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds
The recently-enacted 2009 Wisconsin Act 28 (state budget) contains a number of new health insurance coverage requirements that will affect the State Group Health Insurance Program next year, including:
Available coverage for domestic partners, and generally speaking, expanded coverage for:
- Dependents less than 27 years of age
- Mental Health
- Cochlear implants and hearing aids for children under age 18 (this was part of separate legislation- WI Act 14)
These changes will be effective on January 1, 2010 and will apply to the Group Health Insurance Program, offered to insured State and participating local employees and retirees. At this time, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is working with health plans, employers and insurance regulators to determine exactly how these changes will be implemented. ETF will provide detailed information in the It's Your Choice 2010 booklet for the October 2009 health insurance enrollment period.
Related Links: State Group Health Insurance -
For Employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System
For Appointees not covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System, including Graduate Assistants
Summer Deductions for Unclassified Nine Month Appointees
Understanding "May Multiple" Insurance Deductions
May 18, 2009 | Source: Employee Benefit Services | Read More >>>
For UW Unclassified appointees (Academic Staff, Faculty, Graduate Assistants, and Employees-in-Training) who have nine month appointments and are expected to return for the Fall Semester, multiple insurance deductions are taken from May earnings so that insurance coverage continues through the summer months. Since most insurance premiums are paid in advance of coverage, the additional three deductions from May earnings (for June, July and August) will maintain coverage until deductions resume with September earnings.
If you are an existing UW Unclassified appointee with a nine month appointment and work during the summer, insurance deductions are not taken from your summer pay.
Related Link: Summer Deductions for Unclassified Nine Month Appointees
UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premium and Coverage Changes
May 5, 2009 | Source: Employee Benefit Services
UW Employees that participate in the UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance program will notice a change in their premium and coverage level if they have moved into a new age category as of May 1. Premium changes took effect on the April payroll for May coverage. Employees can review the Monthly Premium Table for detailed information on premium and coverage amounts: UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance Premiums
Related Link: UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance
Benefits Statements To Be Released By April 20
April 7, 2009 | Source: Employee Benefit Services
UW Staff Benefits Statement
UW-Madison employees will be able to access their Staff Benefits Statement on their My UW page, under the Work Record tab, beginning the week of April 20, 2009. The benefits statement provides employees with an overview of their benefit and insurance plans, coverage level and the projected annual costs paid by the employee and the university. The estimated premium, Social Security and retirement projections for the calendar year are based on salary information and benefit enrollments in effect on April 1, 2009. Employees should review their statement for benefit enrollments and coverage levels; a detailed explanation of the statement is available online: Explanation of UW Staff Benefits Statement
Please e-mail questions to the Office of Human Resources at: email@example.com
The statement is produced once a year for employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System; employees on unpaid leave of absence and graduate appointees do not receive a statement.
Wisconsin Retirement System Annual Statement of Benefits
UW-Madison employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2008 will receive their annual WRS statement in campus mail beginning the week of April 20, 2009. The statement provides employees with information about their individual WRS account as of January 1, 2009. The statement includes:
- 2008 WRS earnings and creditable service;
- Total years of WRS creditable service;
- The 2008 effective rate of interest and contributions applied to your account;
- Additional contribution information (if applicable);
- Primary beneficiary, if you have filed a beneficiary designation since 1982;
- Separation benefit and death benefit calculations;
- Formula benefit data and money purchase balance information showing the data used to calculate your retirement benefit. If you participate in the Variable Fund, it will also list your Variable account excess / deficiency as of January 1, 2009.
Employees should review their statement. A complete explanation is included with the statement. In addition, employees can view the Employee Trust Funds “Your Annual Statement of Benefits” video for detailed information on how to interpret their statement.
Please e-mail questions to the Office of Human Resources at: firstname.lastname@example.org
COBRA Health Insurance Continuation Premium Subsidy
March 27, 2009 | Read More >>>
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law on February 17, 2009, established an employer-provided COBRA subsidy. Employees who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 may be eligible for a nine month subsidy of COBRA premiums. The subsidy also applies to any eligible family member of an involuntarily terminated employee. A qualifying individual would pay 35% of the premiums during the subsidy period. The University of Wisconsin will subsidize the remainder, but will receive a tax credit for its 65% share.
Employees who have been involuntarily terminated from September 1, 2008 through March 2009 will receive information about the subsidy from the Office of Human Resources, Benefit Services in mid-April. Any employee who is involuntarily terminated between April 2009 and December 31, 2009 will be sent subsidy information with their COBRA continuation notice.
Related Link: COBRA Health Insurance Continuation Premium Subsidy
Long-Term Care Presentations Scheduled for April
March 27, 2009 | Source: Employee Benefit Services
Long-Term Care Insurance is not just for those thinking about old age; recovery from a serious accident or illness can sometimes require long-term care services. UW employees will have four opportunities in April to learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance:
John Hancock will present on April 2, Noon and April 21, 3 p.m.
HealthChoice will present on April 6, Noon and April 23, 3 p.m.
Location: 21 N. Park Street, Room 5045. No registration required.
Long-Term Care Insurance is an optional insurance available to UW employees and annuitants including their spouses, parents and spouse's parents. The Long-Term Care Insurance programs may cover expenses usually not covered by group health insurance including long-term home health care, assisted living, community-based care (adult day care) and nursing home care. The Department of Employee Trust Funds monitors the programs.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) publishes a free Guide to Long-Term Care (PI-047) to help you evaluate your needs. Please contact OCI at 1-800-236-8517 if you would like a copy of the Guide to Long Term Care.
The 2009 Making Work Pay Tax Credit; Will You See a Bigger Paycheck?
University of Wisconsin implements the Making Work Pay Tax Credit provisions.
March 18, 2009 | Read More >>>
One of the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Federal Stimulus Package) signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009 is the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. Under this provision, new tax tables have been issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The University of Wisconsin is implementing the new federal tax tables effective with paychecks issued on and after April 1, 2009.
Eligible taxpayers with adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 may receive up to $400, and married couples filing jointly with adjusted gross incomes of less than $150,000 may receive up to $800. The tax credit will phase out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income in excess of the above amounts. Non-resident aliens for tax purposes are not eligible.
The tax credit will be provided through the new tax tables. If you are eligible, tax withholdings will be reduced. Even if you are not eligible for the tax credit, your withholding may also be reduced under the new tax tables. You may want to consider changing your withholding allowances by filing a new W-4 Form.
The following documents describe the Federal Percentage Method of Withholding for the 2009 tax year. The first document covers the first quarter of 2009. The second document covers the remainder of the year and reflects the new tax tables.
Related Link: Make Work Pay Tax Credit Notice
Individual and Family Life Insurance March 20 Deadline
March 13, 2009 | Source: Employee Services
Employees currently enrolled in the Individual and Life Insurance program, who are below the maximum level of coverage, are eligible to increase their life insurance coverage during the annual option period: March 2-20, 2009. Participants may apply for a coverage increase as outlined in their announcement letter; please complete and return the form by Midnight on March 20, 2009. Changes are effective with May 1, 2009 coverage and any premium changes will be reflected on your April paycheck.
Related Link: Individual and Family Group Term Life Insurance
Employee Reimbursement Accounts Reminder
March 5, 2009 | Source: Administrative News
Medical and/or dependent care expenses incurred through March 15, 2009 can be reimbursed with any funds remaining from the 2008 plan year.
The deadline for submitting claims incurred during the previous plan year is April 15.
Related link: Employee Reimbursement Accounts (ERA)
State Group Life Coverage & Premium Annual Review
March 5, 2009 | Source: Administrative News
Coverage amounts and premiums for all insured employees were reviewed and updated after the last complete payroll period in 2008. Any pending coverage increase will be based on 2008 WRS earnings rounded up to the next $1,000. Premiums may increase due to coverage amount and the employee’s age as of March 1, 2009. Changes are effective with March 1, 2009 coverage.
Related Link: State Group Life Insurance
Income Continuation Insurance Deferred Enrollment
March 5, 2009 | Source: Administrative News
Employees who applied for either the Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Standard and/or the Supplemental plans in January through deferred enrollment will have a coverage effective date of April 1, 2009. Unclassified employees will see deduction changes with their May 1 paycheck. Classified employees will see deduction changes with their April 23 paycheck.
Related Link: Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)