HR, Payroll and Benefits News

Annual Benefits Enrollment: September 27 - October 22, 2021

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period is September 27-October 22. This is your annual opportunity to enroll in or make changes to most of your benefits. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2022.

Plan now so you are ready for the enrollment period. Find all of the ABE resources on the ABE web page.

Prepare

  • Review your current benefit enrollments in the Benefit Information module in MyUW Portal
  • Visit the ABE web page for the 2022 benefit plan changes and ABE resources:

  Annual Benefits Enrollment Highlights video for an overview of benefit changes for 2022
  Department of Employee Trust Funds Health Benefits Decision Guide
  Virtual Benefit Session schedule

Decide

  • Use ALEX, your virtual online benefits counselor. ALEX walks you through your options and suggests benefit plans based on your answers to a series of questions.
  • You must enroll is these plans each year to participate:
  •   Flexible Spending Account (FSAs): Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, and Dependent Day Care

      Health Savings Account (HSA): Required if you enroll in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)

      State Group Health Insurance Opt-Out Incentive

    • You may be eligible to enroll in, change, or cancel coverage for the plans listed below. For some plans you can add or remove dependents. Visit the ABE web page for additional information and premiums for each plan.

      State Group Health Insurance
      Uniform, Preventive and Supplemental Dental Insurance
      Vision Insurance
      Individual & Family Life Insurance (current enrollees only)
      Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
      Accident Insurance
      Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): Health Care FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, and Dependent Day Care
      Health Savings Account (HSA)

    Act

    • Beginning September 27, enroll on the MyUW portal:

    1.  Log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison

    2.  Go to the Benefit Information module

    3.  Click on the Enroll Now button

    • All enrollments and changes must be submitted by 4:30 p.m., Friday, October 22, 2021

    You will receive an e-mail with instructions on viewing your Confirmation Statement for elections effective January 1, 2022, within 24-48 hours of enrolling. Review your statement for accuracy.

    For more information on benefit plans and premiums, visit the ABE web page. If you have questions, contact your Institution Benefits Contact.

    Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder: Schedule Your Time Off - Use Your Vacation and Personal Holiday Time

If you have not taken time off during the pandemic it might be because of travel and gathering restrictions or because you have been busy triaging issues caused by the pandemic to help keep campuses safe. It’s important to step away from work and tend to your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Plan ahead and schedule your paid leave now to avoid losing vacation and/or personal holiday hours.

As a reminder, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Interim Policies were approved as one-time exceptions that allow leave eligible employees to extend the deadline of unused vacation carryover and to carry forward personal holiday hours. The deadline to use the carried over leave time is approaching. Review the charts below for your employee group to determine the deadline for using your vacation and personal holiday time.


Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Paid Leave Type Year Granted       Deadline to Use


Personal Holiday *  

July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 (2020 Fiscal Year)

July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 (2021 Fiscal Year)


      June 30, 2021





Vacation **  

July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 (2019 Fiscal year)

July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 (2020 Fiscal Year)


      October 9, 2021

* Personal holiday hours granted July 1, 2019 and carried over an additional year under the one-time exception outlined in UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 05 Vacation, Compensatory Time and Personal Holiday Carryover must be used by June 30, 2021. Additionally, personal holiday hours granted July 1, 2020 must be used by June 30, 2021 as outlined in UW System Administrative Policy 1211 (formerly BN2) Personal Holiday and Legal Holiday Administration.

** Vacation hours granted July 1, 2018 and carried over an additional year under the one-time exception and vacation hours granted on July 1, 2019 must be used by October 9, 2021. UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 08 Extended Vacation Carryover extends this deadline to October 9, 2021 from June 30, 2021.

Any compensatory time that was earned in calendar year 2019 and carried over under the one-time exception and compensatory time earned in calendar year 2020 must be used by April 30, 2021 or it will be paid out in the pay period that includes May 1, 2021.

Remember to submit your leave reports as leave is taken. Also, for months when no leave is taken or if you have taken a required furlough day, a no leave taken report is required.


University Staff

Paid Leave Type Year Granted       Deadline to Use


Personal Holiday ^

January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020 (2020 Calendar Year)

January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021 (2021 Calendar Year)


      December 31, 2021





Vacation ^^  

January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019 (2019 Calendar year)

January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020 (2020 Calendar Year)


      December 31, 2021

^ All vacation and personal holiday hours carried over under this one-time extension must be used by December 31, 2021.

^^ All vacation hours granted January 1, 2020 and personal leave granted January 1, 2021 must also be used by December 31, 2021.


For detailed information review:

Policies
UW System Administrative Policy 1210 (formerly BN1) Vacation
UW System Administrative Policy 1211 (formerly BN2) Personal Holiday and Legal Holiday Administration

Interim Policies
UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 05 Vacation, Compensatory Time and Personal Holiday Carryover
UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 08 Extended Vacation Carryover
UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 06 University Staff Vacation and Personal Holiday Carryover

UW-Madison Policies
Vacation Policy
Personal and Legal Holidays Policy
COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy, Section V

Posted: 2021-03-11, Refreshed: 2021-06-06, 2021-06-15, 2021-08-06, 2021-08-24, 2021-09-27

Source: UW System Human Resources

Use ALEX To Help With Annual Benefits Enrollment Planning

ALEX is an interactive, benefits decision support tool that can help you make the most of the benefits offered to you and your family. Whether you are a new employee or have worked for the UW System for many years, ALEX is available to you at any time!

ALEX walks you through all UW System benefit plans including health insurance, life insurance, spending and savings accounts, and retirement plans.

Review the ALEX Sneak Peek video (90-seconds) for a preview of some of the 2022 benefit changes.

Then, remember to use ALEX to assist you with making decisions in preparation for the 2022 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period: September 27–October 22, 2021.

Source: UW System Human Resources

403(b) Program Enhancements: Town Halls

UW System is making changes to enhance the 403(b) Program, the University’s supplemental retirement savings plan.

Updates to the program focus on cost-effectiveness, simplification, and ease of use for 403(b) participants. UW System’s goal is to make it easier for participants to enroll, select investments, and monitor investment performance on an ongoing basis.

UW System will host town halls to discuss the upcoming 403(b) program changes and actions participants may need to take. Town halls are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 2:00pm
  • Monday, November 15, 2021 at 11:00am

Employees will have an opportunity to ask questions during each town hall. Access links to join on the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page. If you’re unable to attend, recordings of each town hall will be made available on the web page shortly afterwards.

Current participants in the program will also receive additional communication from UW System and their providers in the coming weeks.

Source: UW System Office of Trust Funds

Submit Leave Reports By September 30, 2021, To Avoid Sick Leave Reduction

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees (who have or had an active leave-eligible appointment) are required to submit monthly leave reports for each appointment, whether or not leave is used. Employees are required to report leave on or before the day the leave is taken, or if no leave is taken, to enter a “No Leave Taken” at the end of the month.

Employees who were required to take either individual or consecutive furlough days must also submit leave reports for the months furlough was taken. If no leave was taken for a month, a “No Leave Taken” entry must be made.

Submit Leave Reports by September 30, 2021

Failure to submit all leave for fiscal year July 2020 through June 2021 by September 30, 2021, will result in a permanent reduction of sick leave hours.

Even one unsubmitted leave report will reduce an employee’s sick leave balance resulting in less sick leave available to use if needed. Long term, a reduction of sick leave hours will result in fewer hours available to use for the Sick Leave Credit Conversion Program which allows employees to pay for health insurance in retirement.

How do I Know if I have Missing Leave Reports?

Employees with missing leave reports receive email reminders every two weeks listing their missing reports. Employees may also check for missing leave reports at any time in the MyUW portal.

Employees who do not submit all leave reports for fiscal year July 2020 through June 2021 before September 30, 2021, will receive an email notifying them of the permanent reduction in their sick leave hours.

Submitting Leave Reports

For information on how to submit leave reports, review missing leave reports, enter absences or no leave taken, review the resources on the Time and Absence Help Page.

Questions

If you have questions or are unable to report your leave in the MyUW portal, contact your Institution Leave Administrator.

To review the sick leave policies:

Source: UW System Human Resources

High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) Versus Non-HDHP

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period is September 27-October 22, 2021. ABE gives you the opportunity to select your health insurance plan for coverage effective January 1, 2022. It is important to select the plan design and health insurance carrier that best fits the needs of you and your family.

To help you prepare for ABE, the following information highlights the similarities and differences of the High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and Non-HDHP.

Similarities between the HDHP and Non-HDHP

  • In-network preventive services are covered at 100%
  • Coverage for federally required preventive drugs at 100%
  • Both have a deductible
  • In-network coinsurance is 10% (the amount you pay after the deductible for specific services; the plan pays the remaining 90%)
  • In-network providers will provide lower out-of-pocket expenses than out-of-network providers
  • Both allow participation in the Well Wisconsin program to earn a $150 wellness incentive
  • Both provide an opportunity to enroll in Uniform Dental Benefits for preventive dental services
  • Both offer out-of-network coverage through the Access HDHP and Access Non-HDHP. Note: Access plans are more expensive.
  • Premiums will be deducted from your paycheck regardless of whether you use your health insurance

Differences between the HDHP and Non-HDHP

  • HDHPs have lower premiums
  • HDHPs include a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help you prepare for out-of-pocket expenses. An HSA provides three separate tax benefits:
       o   Contributions are tax-deductible
       
    o   HSA assets may grow tax-free (through interest and/or investing)
       o   Withdrawals for qualified medical, dental, and/or vision expenses are not taxed
  • HDHPs include an employer contribution to the HSA (up to $750 for single coverage, $1,500 for family) which remains in your HSA until you use it
  • Non-HDHP have a deductible for medical services and a separate deductible for pharmacy benefits; HDHPs have a deductible that includes medical services and pharmacy benefits
  • Non-HDHP have an out-of-pocket limit for medical services and a separate out-of-pocket limit for pharmacy benefits; HDHPs have a combined out-of-pocket limit that includes medical services and pharmacy benefits
  • Non-HDHP have lower deductibles

Prepare for expected/unexpected out-of-pocket health, dental, and/or vision expenses

Review the expenses you have incurred so far in 2021 for health, dental, and vision services to help you prepare for 2022. Some of the ways you can save for expected and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • With a HDHP you may use the HSA for qualifying medical, dental and/or vision expenses or Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for qualifying dental, vision, and post-medical deductible expenses. The intent of these accounts is to set aside pre-tax earnings to help pay for qualifying out-of-pocket expenses.
  • With a Non-HDHP you may set aside pre-tax earnings in a Health Care FSA for qualifying medical, dental and vision expenses, or after-tax earnings in a personal account for out-of-pocket expenses.

For additional information, review the UW System Human Resources Employee Benefits website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

UW System Integrity Hotline Available to Students, Faculty and Staff

The UW System Integrity Hotline (formerly known as the Waste, Fraud & Abuse Hotline) is available for all students, faculty and staff to report a concern on a wide variety of issues.

The hotline has been available since 2015 and has more than 40 different categories someone can report on, including:

  • Employee, student, and customer service relations.
  • Discrimination, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
  • Retaliation against whistleblowers.
  • Financial issues like accounting irregularities, records falsification, grant mismanagement, wage/hour issues, or theft of cash or goods/services
  • Academic issues like research misconduct.
  • Operational and environmental issues, like data privacy violations, product quality, and safety issues.
  • General issues, like fraud, conflict of interest, animal care, and athletics.

You are always encouraged to talk to your supervisor, a manager, or someone in Human Resources if you have a concern about misconduct, abuse, fraud, or illegal activity. However, you may also use the Integrity Hotline by calling 855-827-4950 or contacting Navex Global at secure.ethicspoint.com. You may remain anonymous.

Source: UW System

2022 Benefit Highlights

The Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period is September 27 – October 22, 2021. This is your annual opportunity to enroll in or make benefit plan changes. Changes made during ABE are effective January 1, 2022. Here are some highlights of the 2022 benefits.

State Group Health Insurance
The health plan designs (health plan and high deductible health plan) and most health plan components (deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) will remain the same. There will be a modest increase in employee premiums effective January 1, 2022.

These are the health insurance plan carrier changes:

  • Quartz Community will split into Quartz Central and Quartz West. Since Quartz Community will no longer be offered, employees enrolled in Quartz Community will need to select a different health insurance carrier.
  • Aspirus will be offered for select counties in Central Wisconsin

Here are some of the enhancements to covered services:

  • Coverage will be added for medically necessary corrective jaw surgery
  • Access to coverage for continuous glucose monitors will be expanded to the pharmacy benefit
  • Timeframe requirement will be removed for extractions and dental repairs due to accidents
  • The age for colonoscopy screenings to begin will be reduced to age 45

Uniform and Preventive Dental Insurance Plans
These plans provide coverage for preventive dental services, most basic dental services, and orthodontia services (up to age 19). Coverage for composite/resin fillings for the back teeth will be added to these plans for 2022. Employee premiums effective January 1, 2022 will decrease for uniform dental (employee only coverage) and will increase for the preventive plan.

Supplemental Dental Insurance Plans
These plans (Select and Select Plus) provide coverage for most basic and major dental services. In addition, one of the plans (Select Plus) covers orthodontia services for children and adults. You may enroll in one supplemental dental insurance plan (and either the Uniform or Preventive Dental plan). Employee premiums will increase effective January 1, 2022.

Vision Insurance Plan
This plan provides coverage for an annual eye exam as well as materials (contacts and/or glasses). There is no change in employee premiums for 2022.

Accident Insurance Plan
This plan is designed to protect employees and their families in the event of an injury due to an accident. For 2022, cash benefit payment amounts for most covered injuries (due to an accident) will increase. In addition, a cash benefit will be added for outpatient rehabilitation therapy, when necessary due to an accident. This plan includes an Accidental Death & Dismemberment component. There is no change to premiums for 2022.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Plan
This plan will continue to be offered. Employees may enroll in both the Accident Insurance plan and the AD&D Insurance plan. There is no change to premiums for 2022.

Pre-tax Spending and Savings Accounts
Here are the annual contribution limits for 2022 for the pre-tax spending and savings accounts:

  • Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts: $2,750
  • Dependent Day Care Account: $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status)
  • Health Savings Accounts: $3,650 for single health insurance, $7,300 for family health insurance

The Healthcare FSA will have a carryover limit of $550. The Dependent Day Care Account does not have a carryover provision. Health Savings Account balances continue to rollover from one year to the next.

403(b) Program
UW System is making changes to enhance the 403(b) Program, the University’s supplemental retirement savings plan.

Changes to the program will focus on cost-effectiveness, simplification and ease of use for 403(b) participants. UW System’s goal is to make it easier to enroll, select investments, and monitor investment performance on an ongoing basis.

Along with upcoming program changes, the 403(b) program has been rebranded to the UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP), from the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program.

In addition to the name change, the 403(b) Program will undergo enhancements to the recordkeepers (providers) and investment line-up effective January 1, 2022.

  • TIAA and Fidelity will remain as active recordkeepers in the program
  • T. Rowe Price, Ameriprise, and Lincoln will no longer be offered as recordkeepers

If you are a current program participant or enroll in the program in the next few months, you may need to take action based on these upcoming changes.

Watch for emails with additional information about ABE and the 403(b) Program changes. Or refer to the following web pages for additional information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Deadline To Earn Your Well Wisconsin Program Incentive

Earn your $150 Well Wisconsin Program incentive by completing a health assessment, health check, and one well-being activity by October 8, 2021. You are eligible to earn the $150 Well Wisconsin Program incentive if you are enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program. Spouses are also eligible if they are enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

Health Assessment: Log into the WebMD website and answer the assessment questions online. The assessment will take approximately 10-15 minutes.

Health Check: Choose from the below options to complete this requirement:

    • Biometric Screening: Check the WebMD website for future clinics located near you. Otherwise, request an at-home screening test kit by logging into the WebMD portal or contacting WebMD via phone. Test kits must be requested by September 17, 2021.
      • Health Care Provider Form: Report your height, weight, and blood pressure from a visit with your health care provider. Your health care provider does not need to sign this form.
        • Preventive Dental Exam: Get a dental cleaning to meet this requirement.
          • Health Coaching Call: Discuss your current health with a WebMD health coach, set well-being goals and explore solutions to help you attain your goals.

Well-being Activity: Select an activity from the WebMD website and get it done!

To learn more, review the UW System Well Wisconsin Program web page.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Your TSA 403(b) Program – Reimagined!

UW System is making changes to enhance the TSA 403(b) Program, the University’s supplemental retirement savings plan.

Changes to the program will focus on cost-effectiveness, simplification and ease of use for 403(b) participants. UW System’s goal is to make it easy to enroll, select investments, and monitor investment performance on an ongoing basis. You can read more about the changes on the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page.

Along with upcoming program changes, there is a new program name: the University of Wisconsin 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program, or 403(b) SRP. We are in the process of updating this name with the providers (also known as recordkeepers) and on relevant materials and web pages.

In addition to the name change, the 403(b) SRP will be undergoing enhancements to the recordkeepers and investment line-up effective January 1, 2022. If you are a current program participant – or enroll in the program in the next few months – you may need to take action based on these upcoming changes. Current participants will be notified via an email about these upcoming changes and any required action in September.

Stay up-to-date on deadlines and actions you may need to take by bookmarking the 403(b) Program Enhancements web page and watching for articles in the Portal or your institution newsletter.

Source: UW System Office of Trust Funds

Register for your Flu Vaccine Appointment

Protect yourself this flu season by getting your annual flu vaccination!

The Well Wisconsin Program offers workplace flu vaccine clinics because a quick needle stick now is better than a nasty illness later. Flu vaccinations are free and voluntary for employees and spouses enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

To receive a flu vaccination, you must:

    • Pre-register
    • Wear a mask to your appointment
    • Present your health insurance ID card at your appointment
    • Complete the digital consent form (available after you register for an appointment online)

The flu vaccination will protect against the four most likely causes of flu illness during the upcoming season, including the H1N1- strain of influenza. The vaccine is preservative-free. The vaccine is not recommended if you are:

      • Allergic to eggs or egg products
      • Have an active neurological disorder
      • Have a fever, acute respiratory or other active infection or illness
      • Pregnant (contact your physician to discuss if you should get the vaccine)

To register for your appointment, go to the Well Wisconsin website, either log in or create an account, then scroll down to find the Get Your Flu Vaccination tile and click Register.

For more information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

Questions About The Payroll Schedule Change? These Resources Can Help!

In September 2021, 9-month academic year contract employees will move from the monthly payroll schedule to a new biweekly payroll schedule.

  • If you have a 9-month contract beginning between August 15 and August 28, 2021, you can expect a first biweekly paycheck date of September 9, 2021.
  • If you have a 9-month contract beginning August 29, 2021, or later, you can expect a first biweekly paycheck date of September 23, 2021. 

Effective July 2021, UW System moved 12-month contract employees from the monthly payroll schedule to the new biweekly payroll schedule.

Resources

The following resources provide detailed information about the payroll schedule change and may answer many of your questions.

  • The Single Payroll resources web page includes frequently asked questions, budget planning information, the 2021 payroll schedules and other helpful resources.
  • Update Contributions and Withholdings
    With the biweekly pay schedule, 9-month employees will receive 20 paychecks per academic year instead of 9. Twelve-month employees will receive 26 paychecks per year instead of 12.

    If not updated, certain contributions and withholdings that you currently have taken on a monthly basis, such as TSA, WDC, and additional taxes, will potentially be doubled when you move to a biweekly schedule. To avoid having more deducted than you intended, review this resource to help you recalculate and take action to change the amount deducted from each paycheck. 
  • Pay Date Models 
    This online tool allows you to enter your annual salary to calculate the gross earnings by pay date. 
  • Paycheck Estimator
    This tool is designed to provide financial planning assistance associated with the schedule change.
  • 2021 Payroll Schedules
    This resource provides you with the biweekly payroll schedule. 
  • Slides and videos from previously held Single Payroll Town Hall Meetings are available on the Single Payroll resources web page.

Questions

Direct your questions to the following:

UW System Support
Email support
(888) 298-0141
or (608) 262-0600
   
   
   
   
UW-Madison
Email support
(608) 265-2257

Posted: July 19, 2021, Updated: August 13, 2021

Source: UW System Human Resources

Bank Unused Vacation Now For Future Use

The deadline to bank unused vacation is soon. Twelve-month Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees (FAASLI) are eligible to bank unused vacation after they have completed 10 fiscal years (July 1 through June 30) of employment. The option to bank unused vacation is a way to save vacation for future use.

Twelve-month FAASLI are allocated vacation on a fiscal year basis. While they can carry unused vacation into the following fiscal year, the vacation must be used by the end of that fiscal year, or it will be lost. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently an Interim Policy which allows an exception to the carryover rule.

UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 08 Extended Vacation Carryover allows leave eligible employees to extend the deadline of unused vacation carryover from June 30, 2021 to October 9, 2021. This extension applies to vacation hours granted July 1, 2018 and carried over an additional year under the one-time exception. It also applies to vacation hours granted on July 1, 2019.

How Much Vacation Can I Bank?
Twelve-month FAASLI are eligible to bank up to 40 hours of vacation per fiscal year after completing 10 fiscal years of employment, and up to 80 hours of vacation per fiscal year after completing 25 years of employment. The amount of vacation that can be banked is prorated for part-time employees. There is no limit to the total number of hours (balance) that can be retained in Banked Leave and the hours do not expire.

As of June 30, 2021, any remaining vacation or vacation carryover up to the allowable amount is eligible to convert to banked leave. HRS will convert the vacation carryover first then convert the remaining vacation.

When Can I Use my Banked Leave?
With your supervisor's approval, you may use the Banked Leave Balance at any time, and it can be used in any circumstance in which you are allowed to use paid leave.

What If I Terminate Employment?
If you terminate employment any unused banked leave will be paid to you at your wage rate at termination.

To View Eligible Banked Leave Hours
If you have a Banked Leave balance, you may view your balance:

Instructions for Banking Leave

To Review the Vacation Policies
   UW System Administrative Policy 1210 (formerly BN1) Vacation

Interim Policy
   UW System Administrative Policy 1200-Interim 08 Extended Vacation Carryover

UW-Madison
   Vacation Policy

If you have questions, contact:
   
Email Support
   Submit a Request
   (888) 298-0141
   (608) 262-0600

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS News Online, September 2021

External link: https://etf.wi.gov/news/wrs-news-online/issue/18576

Employee Well-being Webinars

To live well, it is important to take care of your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. One of the ways to do that is by increasing your knowledge about various aspects of your well-being through webinars.

Below is a selection of well-being webinars available to help keep your well-being on track! Most of the webinars require registration and last 30 to 60 minutes. Visit the UW System Human Resources Well-being Webinars webpage for the registration links and to find more webinars.

  • WRS: Retirement Benefit Calculation Methods
    Vendor: Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF)
    Date and Time: Thursday, August 19, 2021 - 6:00 pm
    Description: This webinar will help you understand how your retirement benefit is calculated in preparation for your retirement. The goal is to help you make the retirement process as stress-free as possible as you look forward to this next chapter of your life!
  • Well WI Radio: The Brain and Youth Sports
    Vendor: WebMD/StayWell (Well Wisconsin Program Administrator)
    Date and Time: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 12:00 pm
    Description: A monthly podcast style session that focuses on topics of health and well-being discussed with experts from around the state of Wisconsin. Join host, Morgan Meinen, as she talks with Julie Stamm, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at UW-Madison. They will discuss the science behind repetitive brain trauma in youth sports, common misconceptions, and how parents can make informed decisions to help protect their child(ren).
  • Wisconsin Strong Program: Take Control of Your Finances
    Vendor: Summit Credit Union
    Date and Time: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 8:30 am or 5:30 pm
    Description: If you feel like you are living paycheck to paycheck or use your credit card more often than you would like, this session may be of interest to you. It will discuss how to make choices that fit the lifestyle you want to live and how to establish new habits that will set you up for successful money management.
  • Caring for Loved Ones at Home
    Vendor: Kepro (Employee Assistant Program (EAP) Administrator)
    Date and Time: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - 12:30 pm
    Description: Many elders prefer home care over institutionalized care; however, the task can seem daunting. This webinar will discuss what to take into consideration when determining what option may be best for caring for your loved ones. Various resources will be shared that can help make this living arrangement safe, affordable, and enjoyable for all.
  • Take the time to manage your well-being! Visit the UW System Human Resources Well-being Webinars web page to get started.

    Webinar attendance is on your own time. Consult with your supervisor for approval to attend during working hours.

    Updated: July 15, 2021, August 11, 2021

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    WRS Contribution Rates for 2022 to Remain Stable

    The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) recently announced the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee and employer contribution rates effective January 1, 2022. The employee contribution for 2022 will decrease slightly.

    The 2022 rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2022, starting with the January 13, 2022 biweekly paycheck. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

    UW System employee contribution rates are determined by employment category. Most UW System employees are in the General/Teacher/Executive category. Employees with law enforcement or public protection duties (police officers, fire fighters) are in the Protective category.

    WRS Contribution Rates
    Employee Category General, Teacher and Executive Protectives with Social Security
    Year 2021 2022 2021 2022
    Employer Contribution 6.75% 6.50% 11.75% 12.0%
    Employee Contribution 6.75% 6.50% 6.75% 6.50%
    Total Contribution 13.5% 13.0% 18.5% 18.5%

    WRS contribution rates change annually, based on investment performance of the WRS and actuarial factors to pre-fund retirement benefits. In general, when investment earnings are greater than expected, contribution rates may decrease the following year. When returns are lower than expected, rates may increase to make up for the shortfall.

    Contribution fluctuations are considered normal for retirement systems like the WRS that pre-fund retirement benefits.

    For more information visit the WRS web page on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Employee Assistance Program

    The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential resource that can help you and your household family members address personal and/or work-related challenges. Some of the specific concerns you may use the EAP for include:

    • emotional issues
    • substance abuse
    • grief and loss
    • legal and financial issues

    The EAP provides you and your household family members up to six sessions per person per issue per year.

    For most UW System institutions (except UW-Madison) the EAP administrator is Kepro.

    How to Contact the EAP:

    • Phone: 833-539-7285 or 877-334-0489 (TTY)
    • Website: https://sowi.mylifeexpert.com (code SOWI); to access the online resources, you will need to set-up a username and password

    UW-Madison employees contact the Employee Assistance Office for EAP services.

    For more information, visit the UW System EAP web page.

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Self-Guided Mental Health Resource

    SilverCloud is an online platform that offers self-guided, interactive programs and skill-building tools to help manage anxiety, depression, stress, resilience, and insomnia. If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms for any of the above conditions, this may be an effective way for you to help manage your condition(s). Mental health resources offered through SilverCloud are confidential and available to all UW System employees at no cost.

    What does each SilverCloud module contain?
    Each module takes about 40 minutes. Your progress is automatically saved so you can come back later if you get interrupted. A typical module contains seven parts:

    1. Introduction: Helps you decide which module to start with.
    2. Quiz: Helps gauge your knowledge and absorption of new information.
    3. Main Content: Displays the most important information and activities about the topic.
    4. Personal Stories: Based on real-life people, clinical knowledge and experiences to help you realize you are not alone.
    5. Tools: Activities that reinforce the information you learned throughout the module.
    6. Staying in the Present: Many topics discuss living in the past or thinking about the future. This activity uses mindfulness principles to bring you back to the present.
    7. Review: Allows you to reflect, set goals and incorporate what you learned into your life.

    How should I use SilverCloud for my well-being?
    Studies have shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy can provide an effective form of care for motivated individuals experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. SilverCloud may supplement traditional therapy or appointments with a counselor or you may use it without needing a counselor. A referral from a mental health or medical professional is not necessary to use this free online program.

    Where should I go to get started?

    For additional information on SilverCloud, go to the Mental Health Resources web page.

    What is the main difference between SilverCloud and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
    The main difference between SilverCloud and the EAP is that Silver Cloud is self-guided whereas the EAP allows you to speak with a counselor for help on a much broader range of services (e.g. work/life balance, will preparation, financial concerns, etc.).

    Additionally, students are not eligible for the EAP; however, they may be eligible for similar services through the student health center at their institution.

    Note: Both programs are free and confidential.

    For additional information on the EAP, go to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) web page.

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Review Your Beneficiary Designations

    When was the last time you reviewed your beneficiary designations?

    Naming a beneficiary allows you to pass a financial interest on after you have passed away. If you do not recall who you have listed as your beneficiary, or you have experienced a life event such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child, review your designations and submit updated beneficiary designations. The most recently dated beneficiary designation on file at the time of your death is binding for the payment of any proceeds. If a beneficiary is not designated, benefits will be paid according to plan provisions.

    Here is a list of the plans that have benefits payable to beneficiaries:

    • State Group Life Insurance
    • Individual & Family Life Insurance
    • UW Employees, Inc. Life Insurance
    • University Insurance Association Life Insurance
    • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
    • Accident Insurance (accidental death and dismemberment component of the plan)
    • Health Savings Account (HSA)
    • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
    • UW Tax-Sheltered (TSA) Annuity 403(b)
    • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457

    To see which benefit plans you are enrolled in, log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison and follow these steps:

    1. Go to the Benefit Information module and click Launch full app.

    2. On the Summary page, review the Coverage column to see which plans you're enrolled in (Waive indicates you are not enrolled).

    3. Click Next to see additional plans.

    4. Review the plans you are enrolled in that have benefits payable to beneficiaries.

    Some plans allow you to update your beneficiary designations online while others require a signed paper designation beneficiary form. The UW System Beneficiary Information page provides information on how to designate a beneficiary for each benefit plan. If a plan you are enrolled in requires a paper form, you may print the applicable beneficiary form(s) from the Beneficiary Information page.

    Once you have completed the appropriate forms, mail them directly to the address listed on the form (not to your human resources office).

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Well WI Radio: Bonus Episode! COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

    WebMD/Staywell and Dr. James Conway from UW Health have joined forces to help you get answers to your vaccine questions. Listen in to this special edition interview on Well Wisconsin Radio. You can access it anytime at www.gotostage.com/channel/wellwisconsinradio.

    Host Morgan Meinen talks with Dr. Conway, Medical Director for UW Health Immunization Programs. Dr. Conway is currently providing oversight for UW Health COVID-19 vaccine logistics and serving in the Emergency Operations Committee for the UW System. He is involved in multiple COVID-19 vaccine development programs as well as serving on the WI State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee for COVID-19 vaccines.

    Well WI Radio is a podcast style program offered through the Well Wisconsin Program Administrator, WebMD/Staywell where topics of health and well-being are discussed with experts from all around the state of Wisconsin.

    The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is working with state health officials and the Group Health Insurance Program partners to ensure you receive the care you and your family need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about vaccine coverage, testing, treatment, medications and more at etf.wi.gov/health/your-health-benefits-and-covid-19.

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Wisconsin Strong Financial Fitness Challenge

    Financial stress can affect your health in many ways; it spills over into your home life, job, relationships with family and your friendships. That’s why UW System supports Wisconsin Strong, a unique financial wellness education program provided by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).

    Wisconsin Strong is designed to help you improve financial wellness and maximize your Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) benefits – at all career stages. Plus, it’s absolutely free to you and your family.

    We encourage you to take advantage of the following Wisconsin Strong financial wellness education, resources, and tools:

    • College Savings Made Simple - When you open a new Edvest account between May 24 and May 31, you’ll receive a $50 match! Find out how you can take advantage of this limited time offer from Edvest, Wisconsin’s College Savings Plan.
    • Financial Fitness Challenge - Get a baseline on your financial stress and interests by taking the 5-minute Financial Fitness Checkup, a confidential self-assessment. Then gain access to a personalized playlist of relevant financial courses. This is a value of $1,000 and it’s free to you and your family. Take the Challenge now.
    • Well Wisconsin Program Incentive - After you complete your Financial Fitness Challenge, you’ll receive a reward code that can be applied as a well-being activity towards earning your $150 Well Wisconsin gift card.
    • Your WRS Benefits - Learn how to maximize your WRS pension, health, deferred compensation, and other benefits. Attend an ETF webinar or find quick and easy-to-access online resources for individuals who are new hires, mid-career, nearing retirement, and post-retirement.

    Financial wellness is a journey, not a one-time event, and your financial wellness is important to us. We encourage you to share these valuable resources with your family. Over the next several months watch for monthly financial wellness webinars offered by Summit Credit Union and resources from other Wisconsin Strong partners to help you with debt management, budgeting, investments, estate planning, retirement planning, and more.

    On Twitter, follow along at #WIStrongSecurity!

    Source: UW System Human Resources

    Mid-Year Changes: Healthcare FSA and Dependent Day Care Accounts

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Insurance Board recently approved the following flexibility granted by the IRS for Healthcare FSAs and Dependent Day Care Accounts.

    Healthcare FSAs

      • Increase annual carryover limit to $1,000 (from $550) from plan year 2020 to plan year 2021
      • Add personal protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes as eligible expenses retroactive to January 1, 2021

    Dependent Day Care Accounts

      • Increase age limit for qualifying dependent child(ren) to under age 14 (for 2021)
      • Add an annual carryover limit of up to $2,500 from plan year 2020 to plan year 2021
      • Increase annual contribution limit to up to $10,500 for individuals or married couples filing jointly and $5,250 for married couples filing separately (for 2021)
      • Allow a one-time opportunity from June 1- June 30, 2021 for current participants to increase their annual contribution, without a qualifying life event.

    Healthcare and Dependent Day Care Account Carryover from 2020 to 2021: No action is necessary on your part to receive the additional healthcare carryover and/or the dependent day care account carryover. If you have funds that are eligible to be carried over, the funds will automatically be applied to your account mid-June.

    Questions: For questions about your flexible spending account, contact Optum Financial/ConnectYourCare at 833-881-8158.

    For questions on submitting a dependent care change form or your flexible spending account payroll deductions, contact your institution’s benefits office.

    Source: UW System Human Resources