HR, Payroll and Benefits News

Changes: Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent Day Care Accounts

Mid-Year Changes

Typically, outside of Annual Benefits Enrollment, the IRS requires a qualifying life event (e.g. marriage, birth of a child, etc.) to make a change to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Dependent Day Care Accounts.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Insurance Board has approved the flexibility granted by the IRS to allow a mid-year change to either of these accounts without a qualifying life event.

From July 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020, if you are currently enrolled in a FSA and/or Dependent Day Care Account, you have a one-time opportunity to increase or decrease your annual contribution.

    • Increases: Allowed up to the maximum of $2,700 for health care FSA and $5,000 for dependent day care. The increased amount may be used for any eligible expense(s) incurred in 2020, even those that occurred prior to your new election.
    • Decreases: You may only decrease your annual contribution amount to no less than what you have already contributed or spent year-to-date, whichever is greater.

Any change made is effective the first of the month following receipt of your change request form.

Increased Healthcare FSA Carryover

Additionally, the Group Insurance Board approved a $50 increase to the amount you may carryover for healthcare FSA effective January 1, 2021. You may carryover up to $550 from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year. No action is necessary on your part to take advantage of the increased healthcare FSA carryover amount.

How to Make a Mid-Year Change

To make a change to your FSA and/or Dependent Day Care Account, complete an Election Change Request Form. On the form, in step 3, check “COVID-19” as the reason for your change. Then, submit the form by September 1, 2020 to UW-Shared Services, Service Operations:

Email: serviceoperations@uwss.wisconsin.edu
Fax: (608) 890-2327
Mail: 660 W. Washington Ave, Ste 201, Madison, WI 53703

Additional Information

There were items discussed during the June 29, 2020 Group Insurance Board meeting that allowed additional flexibility for benefit plans offered through the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). Some of these items are:

    • health plan enrollment changes,
    • an extended timeframe to submit 2019 FSA claims and
    • extended timeframes for COBRA continuation administration.

ETF did not recommend proceeding with these additional items due to low interest and the administrative challenges and complexities with the vendor change from TASC to ConnectYourCare.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Savings Account: Growth Estimator Tool

What could your Health Savings Account (HSA) amount to over time?

An HSA is a savings account that allows individuals enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to pay for qualifying health care expenses with pre-tax money. Your HSA can provide you a triple tax advantage by allowing:

    • Tax-free contributions
    • Tax-free distributions
    • Investment earnings

Try the HSA Growth Estimator to help you determine the potential value of your HSA over time.

A few items to keep in mind:

    • You may change your per paycheck contributions at any time throughout the year.
    • Money remaining in your account at the end of the year will automatically rollover into the next calendar year.
    • Your HSA is portable. If you leave the UW System, you take your account with you.

Reminder: In case you missed it, review the HSA Contributions and Investment Options article.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Protect Yourself from Phishing Attempts

Phishing is the use of email and fraudulent websites to lure people into disclosing personal identity information such as user names, passwords, Social Security numbers credit card and other financial information.

Although most “phishes” arrive via email, phishing attempts can also be in the form of phone calls, text messages and even in-person, such as in the case of someone engaging in face-to-face impersonation.

There are many ways that you can protect yourself from phishing attempts. It starts with awareness and following some simple strategies:

  1. Never disclose personal information, especially your usernames and passwords.
  2. Hover your cursor over hyperlinks to check the URL. Do not click a hyperlink until you verify that the URL is legitimate.
  3. Verify organizations, addresses and phone numbers by doing an internet search to confirm the validity of the sender.
  4. Look for these common signs of phishing attempts:
    • The message is unsolicited and asks you to take action revealing personal information.
    • The message has a “from” address that you don’t recognize.
    • The message has misspelled words or grammatical errors.
    • Messages that present a sense of urgency for your response should alert you.
    • A web site doesn’t have an “s” after “http//:” indicating it is not a secure site.

What to do if you Suspect a Phishing Attempt
If you suspect that you are on the receiving end of a phishing attempt, do not respond, open any links, or forward the message. Contact your local IT staff or Help Desk immediately for assistance.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

ALEX and Annual Benefits Enrollment Dates

Have you used ALEX, your personalized benefits counselor to help you make the most of your benefits?

ALEX is an interactive benefits decision support tool that helps you understand the benefit plans 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 includes all benefit plans available to eligible employees:

  • Health Insurance
  • Well-being Resources
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
  • Accident Insurance
  • Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
  • Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)
  • Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b)
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457

ALEX currently reflects the 2020 benefit plans and premiums. The tool will be updated this fall to reflect any benefit changes for 2021.

The 2021 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period will be September 28, 2020 – October 23, 2020. As we get closer to the ABE additional information will be provided.

We hope you will make it a habit to visit ALEX with your benefit questions!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees May Bank Unused Vacation for Future Use

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.

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. The option to bank unused vacation is a way to save vacation for future use.

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 30th, any remaining vacation or vacation carryover is eligible to convert to banked leave. HRS will convert the vacation carryover first then convert the remaining vacation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to COVID-19, an interim policy allows leave eligible FAASLI to extend the carryover of unused vacation from fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019) for one additional year. Unused Personal Holiday from fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020) may also be carried forward. All Vacation and Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021. Read More.

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 current wage rate.

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

To Review the Vacation Policies

If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources and UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Summer Prepay Deductions: Continuing Insurance Coverage While on Summer Break

This spring, summer prepay insurance premium deductions were deducted from paychecks along with regular monthly insurance premium deductions for the following employees:

  • Academic (9-month) employees who will return to UW System employment in the fall of 2020
  • Academic (9-month) employees with a summer service/summer session appointment
  • Academic (non-exempt employees paid biweekly)

Summer prepay deductions were taken to continue insurance coverage through the summer months. Eligible employees were sent an email prior to these paychecks with an estimated summer prepay deduction amount. Deductions were taken for State Group Health Insurance and any other insurance programs in which the employee is enrolled.

Opt-Out Incentive and Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contributions will continue during the summer months. Summer prepay deductions are not taken for the following:

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions which are calculated based on a 9-month schedule for academic (9-month) employees.
  • UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) (403b) or Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 program deductions.

Confirming Summer Prepay Deductions
Employees should check their spring 2020 earnings statements to verify if they had summer prepay deductions taken from their paychecks. Summer prepay deductions appeared as a lump sum on earnings statements on the following paychecks:

  • Monthly paychecks: April 1, May 1 and June 1
  • Bi-weekly paychecks: March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4

Deductions taken pre-tax (most medical-related premiums and a portion of State Group Life Insurance premiums) will be added together under ‘Prebtx.’ Deductions taken post-tax (most life insurance premiums) will be added together under ‘Preatx.’ Regular benefit deductions for the month will continue to be listed under the plan name.

In the fall, 9-month employees’ regular insurance premium deductions will resume on the October 1, 2020 paycheck. Regular insurance premium deductions for 12-month employees will resume upon return from their summer work break.

What if an Employee does not Have Summer Prepay Insurance Premiums Deducted?
If an employee does not have summer prepay deductions taken in the spring, and then has a summer session/summer service appointment, they will be billed directly for payment of the additional premiums due to provide them with insurance coverage during the summer months.

Payment must be made by the billing invoice due date to ensure that insurance benefits are not canceled due to non-payment. If benefits are canceled due to nonpayment, the next opportunity to add insurance benefits may be during the fall Annual Benefits Enrollment period with an effective insurance coverage date of January 1, 2021. Some insurances can be applied for through evidence of insurability.

What if an Employee’s Employment Status Changes?
If an employee’s summer 2020 or fall 2020 employment status changes after they have had summer prepay deductions, they may receive deduction refunds. If an employee will not be returning in the fall, they should contact their human resources office to determine their insurance coverage ending dates.

Employees who anticipate any other status change; marriage, adoption, birth, divorce, etc., should contact their human resources office to understand the impacts to their insurance benefits.

Questions
If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Health Savings Account: Contributions and Investment Options

Your Contributions
If you are enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) through the UW System, your annual maximum contribution amount* to your Health Savings Account (HSA) differs based on your level of coverage (single vs. family), your age (younger or older than age 55) and how many months of the year you are eligible for the HSA.

Reminder: You may change your per paycheck contributions at any time throughout the year!

*If you are unsure what your annual maximum contribution amount is, contact your tax advisor. Penalties may apply if you contribute more than the calendar year maximum to your HSA.

Your Investment Options
Once you have a minimum balance of $1,000 in your HSA, you can invest contributions above that minimum balance. There are several investment options available. Take advantage of the investment options to use your HSA as another vehicle to save for retirement and earn a higher rate of return. The minimum balance of $1,000 ensures that you always have access to a cash balance to pay for qualifying medical, dental and/or vision out-of-pocket expenses.

To get started, log into your myCYC mobile app or online portal and indicate how much you would like to transfer to the available investment options.

Note: You may set-up your account so that money greater than the minimum balance requirement will automatically transfer into your investment account. You determine the amount that you would like to invest vs the amount that you have access to with your HSA debit card.

Reminder: Review the HSA frequently asked questions to help you get the most out of your account!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder: Submit Leave Reports

All Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees (who have an active leave-eligible appointment) are required to submit a leave report each month, even when leave is not used.

Employees on a consecutive day furlough are required to enter leave reports while they are on furlough. If no leave was taken for a month a “No Leave Taken” entry should be made.

With the fiscal year-end quickly approaching (June 30), now is the time to make sure you have submitted all your leave reports since July 1, 2019. To check if you are missing any leave reports, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the MyUW portal for UW System Institutions or for UW-Madison.
  2. Go to the Time and Absence module and click Launch full app.
  3. Click on Leave Reports.
  4. Review the “Missing Leave Report Between July 2019 and May 2020.
  5. To submit any missing leave reports, click on Request Absence and follow the prompts.

If you are missing any leave reports, you will receive a reminder email indicating the month(s) you are missing. Failure to submit any leave report(s) by the September 30 deadline following the fiscal year end (July – June) will result in a reduction of your sick leave hours. If possible, submit your leave reports monthly to avoid any issues.

For more detailed information on the sick leave policies review:

Visit the Time and Absence Help Pages for assistance with reporting leave. If you have questions or are unable to report your leave at the link above, contact your Institutional Leave Administrator.

Reminders:

  • Consecutive Day Furlough – For employees who may be on a consecutive day furlough, leave reports are still required. If no leave is taken during the month, you are required to submit a No Leave Taken entry.
  • Intermittent Day Furlough – For weeks in which intermittent furlough is taken, the entry of furlough time taken does not satisfy the monthly leave reporting requirement. If no leave is taken during the month, you are required to submit a No Leave Taken entry.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Vacation/Personal Holiday Carryover Extended

Due to the disruptive effect of COVID-19 on employee’s schedules, an interim policy was approved that allows all leave eligible Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees to extend the carryover of unused vacation from fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) for one additional year. Unused Personal Holiday from fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) may also be carried forward.

All Vacation and Personal Holiday hours carried over under this temporary extension must be used by June 30, 2021. You are encouraged to plan ahead and schedule your paid leave in advance to avoid losing any vacation and/or personal holiday hours.

Employees who extend vacation and/or personal holiday carry over are still required to submit monthly leave reports.

For more detailed information:

Source: UW System Human Resources

How To Get Medical Care When You Need It Fast

Would you like the ability to seek basic medical care from the comfort of your own home?
If so, the telemedicine services in the State Group Health Insurance Program may allow you to do so.

Take these steps now to prepare for the unexpected:

What is telemedicine/telehealth (used interchangeably)?
The remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of electronic communication. This means that for non-urgent medical care, you may be able to access care through video chat or a virtual house call. Through telemedicine, a doctor may recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.

Why should you consider telemedicine services?
You may receive care quicker and it may be more convenient than going to your doctor’s office or to urgent care. They are also typically less expensive than an office visit or urgent care visit.

How will your telemedicine service be covered by the State Group Health Insurance plan?
Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, effective March 27 through December 31, 2020, telemedicine services are covered at 100%. Any follow-up care may be subject to the copayment, deductible and/or coinsurance as described on the Comparison of Health and Pharmacy Benefits.

How can you obtain additional information regarding telemedicine services?
Generally, health plans offer telemedicine services through their online portals and/or through a mobile app. If you’re unable to find telemedicine information through your health insurance plans online portal, contact your health insurance plan directly by calling the toll-free number on your health insurance ID card. Otherwise, go to ETF's Telehealth Options web page for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

CARES Act Offers Financial Relief/Flexibility to Retirement Plan Participants

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act" or "Act") was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act includes provisions related to retirement plans that offer both financial relief and flexibility to plan participants. The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program has adopted the following CARES Act provisions.

Coronavirus Related Distributions
The CARES Act allows for distributions of up to $100,000 (aggregated across all plans and IRAs) for an individual who has a COVID-19 event, defined as a person:

  • who is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • who experiences adverse financial consequences resulting from COVID-19, including being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, experiencing COVID-19-related child care issues that impede one’s ability to work, or the closing or reduction of hours of a business owned or operated by an individual impacted by COVID-19.

Participants self-certify that they qualify for the distribution as an "affected individual." Distributions must be made before December 31, 2020. These distributions are not subject to early withdrawal penalties or mandatory withholding when taken.

The legislation permits participants to:

  • Spread out the income taxes that would be due on the distribution ratably over 3-years
  • Repay the amounts back into the retirement plan or IRA over next 3-year period if that plan accepts roll-in contributions (the repayments are not subject to retirement plan contribution limits). The repayment does not need to be made to the same plan or IRA from which the distribution was made.

Participant Loan Changes
The Act includes specific relief for participant loans from retirement accounts. A participant must have a COVID-19 related event (as noted above) to be eligible.

  • Plan Loan Dollar Limits Increased. The Act temporarily increases the maximum amount available that participants can borrow from $50,000 to $100,000 (less any outstanding loan amounts) from their plan account balance. The Act also allows participants to borrow up to the lesser of $100,000 or 100 percent of their account balance (subject to provider requirements), rather than the 50 percent limit under current rules. These loan limit increases are in effect for 180 days following the signing of the bill into law (March 27, 2020).

    The participant is still limited to only having two open loans across all providers at one time. If the participant already has two open loans, one loan must be paid off before applying for a new loan.
  • Extension for Loan Due Dates. The Act provides a one-year extension for any loan payment due between March 27 and December 31, 2020. Remaining payments, plus applicable interest, can be re-amortized over the extended period.

Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules

  • The CARES Act waives required minimum distributions (RMDs) for calendar year 2020 for defined contribution plans, including 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), as well as IRAs, allowing individuals to keep funds in their retirement plans. This includes payments to beneficiaries required under RMD rules. Participants who have already taken a 2020 RMD may now transfer the distribution amount back into the account within a 60-day rollover period of taking the withdrawal.
  • The waiver applies to 2019 RMDs due by April 1, 2020 and for 2020 RMDs due by December 31, 2020.

Contact your TSA provider for more information. TSA provider contact information can be accessed on the TSA Program web page.

Please remember that taking a loan or distribution from your retirement account could have a long-term negative effect on your account.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Benefits Resources during COVID-19

Many UW System employees and their families are working through changes to their daily routines due to COVID-19. Watch these brief videos to help you understand why this change is necessary:

If you are covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program, you may have questions on if or how your doctor’s visit will be covered if you or a covered dependent shows symptoms of COVID-19. To answer your questions regarding testing, telehealth, biometric screening cancellations and more, visit the Department of Employee Trust Fund’s (ETF) COVID-19 webpage. ETF’s webpage includes information about using telehealth and nurse line services as an alternative to an office visit.

If you are enrolled in the Dependent Day Care Account and have experienced a change in the cost of your day care provider (e.g., your day care has closed), you may be able to decrease your contribution amount. Per IRS guidelines, changes due to qualifying life events must be made within 30 days. To make a change, submit a change form to your human resources office.

Finally, we realize that the current situation may cause stress and worry for you and your family. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to UW System employees, their spouses or significant others, and their dependents. Services available may include a consultation on legal or financial concerns or help with how to handle an unexpected day care situation (e.g., child day care or adult/elder care). Visit the EAP webpage to determine how to contact the EAP provided at your institution.

For additional information see: Benefits during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This document provides a summary of benefit plan changes you may be able to make during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as links to valuable pandemic-related resources.

Source: UW System Human Resources

UW TSA 403(b) Program May and June Webinars

It’s important to save for your future, and your UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program is here to help. Learn more about the TSA Program and other financial topics by attending one of the webinars listed below. Visit the UW TSA 403(b) Program website to learn more and register.

Title Date / Time
Select, Sign Up and Save with Your UW TSA 403(b) May 18, 2020 - 3:00 pm
Save Smart, Save Early with Your UW TSA 403(b) May 28, 2020  - 2:00 pm
Learn the Basics of When and How to Claim Social Security June 4, 2020  - 3:00 pm
Save Smart, Save Early with Your UW TSA 403(b) June 9, 2020 - 11:00 am
Select, Sign Up and Save with Your UW TSA 403(b) June 19, 2020 - 11:00 am
Prepare for the Reality of Health Care in Retirement June 25, 2020 - 11:00 am

Source: UW System Human Resources

Health Savings Account: Frequently Asked Questions

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a savings account that allows individuals enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to pay for qualifying health, dental and vision expenses with pre-tax money. An HSA can provide you a triple tax advantage by allowing:

  • tax-free contributions
  • tax-free distributions
  • investment earnings

There is a lot to know about your HSA, such as account basics, eligible expenses, contributions, investment options and how you can use your HSA once you retire. Take some time today to review the HSA frequently asked questions provided by ConnectYourCare (CYC), the administrator of your HSA.

Important: Have you assigned a beneficiary to your HSA? If not, login to the CYC portal to do so online or complete the 2020 HSA Beneficiary Form and send it directly to CYC.

Reminder: Use the CYC resources (myCYC mobile app and account portal) to access your account information anytime anywhere!

Source: UW System Human Resources

Well Wisconsin: 2019 Statistics and 2020 Program Information

UW System Employee 2019 Program Participation
In 2019, 36.7% of UW System employees (and/or their Spouse's) eligible for the Well Wisconsin Program completed a health assessment, biometric screening and well-being activity to earn their $150 incentive. Over 10,000 employees took the necessary steps to become more aware of their current health. The UW System had the highest program participation compared to all other State agencies.

Identified Health Risk in 2019 for UW System Employees
Based on the employees that completed the program, the 2019 health risk report identified weight and its biological consequences (high cholesterol and blood pressure) as the primary risk area for UW System employees. The health risk report provides aggregate data to allow StayWell to further develop well-being activities for future program years.

Program Information for 2020
Visit the UW System Well Wisconsin page for program information. Check out the well-being activity options for 2020 and start earning your $150 incentive today!

To get started, visit the StayWell portal. If you have questions about using or setting up a portal, contact the StayWell HelpLine at 1-800-821-6591, email wellwisconsin@staywell.com, or download the My StayWell mobile app (search for "My StayWell" in the App Store or on Google Play).

Health information is protected by federal law and will never be shared with the WI Dept. of Employee Trust Funds, the group health insurance program or employers. Review StayWell's Privacy Statement or view this short video for additional information.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reviewing 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 new forms if necessary. The most recently dated form on file at the time of your death is binding for the payment of all proceeds.

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 (AD&D) Insurance,
  • Accident Insurance,
  • 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. Compare the plans you are enrolled in to the plans that have benefits payable to beneficiaries.

Some plans allow you to update your beneficiary designations online while others require a signed designation 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

WRS News Online, May 2020

External link: https://etf.wi.gov/news/wrs-news-online/issue/17946

Technology Offers One-on-One Meetings with TSA Providers During Covid-19 Crisis

Participants in the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program can still meet one-on-one with TSA providers even during the Covid-19 crisis. TSA providers are available via telephone calls and through video conferencing to answer questions, review investments, discuss the market, and more.

To schedule an appointment, contact your provider as you normally would. Providers will facilitate meetings with the type of technology they are using and the technology available to participants.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Annual Statement of Benefits Available in the MyUW Portal

UW employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2019 can now view their January 1, 2020 WRS Annual Statement of Benefits on the MyUW portal.

To access your statement, Log into the portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Benefit Information module and click on the Statements tab. Choose “ETF Annual Statement of Benefits (WRS) Issued 2020”.

Understanding Your Statement

Your Statement includes your:

    • 2019 earnings and service
    • Years of creditable service as of January 1, 2020
    • Retirement benefit projections, separation benefit, death benefit
    • Primary beneficiary designation(s) for your WRS account

The UW System contributes to your WRS. For the 2019 plan year, the UW System contributed 6.55% of your eligible earnings (for Protectives w/ Social Security the UW System contributes 10.55%). Your WRS Annual Statement of Benefits shows your contributions as well as the UW System contributions to the plan. For the 2020 plan year the UW System contributes 6.75% of your eligible earnings (for Protectives w/ Social Security the UW System contributes 11.65%).

Resources

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has resources available to assist you in understanding your Statement of Benefits. Review and verify each section of your statement using these resources as a guide.

    • An Introductory Letter which highlights important information on the statement.
    • The Explanation of Annual Statement of Benefits.
    • The ETF Statement of Benefits web page which includes many resources including a sample statement.
    • Live Webinar: Topics include WRS contributions, vesting status, years of service, and what happens to your account if you die before taking a benefit. Registration is required for the webinar dates below:
      • Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. CDT
      • Thursday, June 25, 2020, 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. CDT
      • Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT

Review Your Beneficiaries

It is important to review the primary beneficiary(ies) listed on your WRS statement. If there are no beneficiaries listed, you either don’t have a beneficiary designation on file, or your designation was made before 1998 (beneficiaries added before 1998 are not listed on your statement). It is recommended that you complete a Beneficiary Designation Form if a beneficiary is not listed on your statement.

Death benefits are paid according to the most recent valid beneficiary designation form on file with ETF prior to your death. If no beneficiary designation is on file, death benefits will be paid according to the statutory standard sequence in effect on the date of death. Your beneficiary information does not automatically change when a significant life event occurs, such as a divorce or a marriage. To add, change or remove beneficiaries complete a Beneficiary Designation form (ET-2320) or Beneficiary Designation-Alternate form (ET-2321). Mail your completed beneficiary designation directly to ETF at the address listed at the top of the form.

Questions?

If you have questions about your statement, contact your institution’s human resources office.

General information on the WRS can be found on the UW System Employee Benefits WRS web page.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

New Form W-4 Designed to Better Estimate Accurate Tax Withholding

In December 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new Form W-4 designed to help employees better estimate accurate tax withholding throughout the year. Too little tax withheld can result in a tax bill when taxes are filed. Too much tax withheld means you will receive a tax refund, and your money will not be available to spend or invest until your tax refund is received.

Online Self-Service Form W-4

To facilitate the completion of the new Form W-4, the UW now offers an online self-service Form W-4. Completion of this new form is not required, but all employees are encouraged to review the new form and their individual tax situation.

To access the new form, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. In the Payroll Information tile, click on the Update W-4 button.

The Update Federal and/or State Form W-4 tip sheet is a resource available to help you use self-service to complete Form W-4.

How do I Determine How Much Tax I Should Have Withheld?

The Tax Withholding Estimator is a tool on the IRS website designed to help you determine how to have the correct amount of tax withheld from your paychecks so you don't have too much or too little federal income tax withheld.

Before you use the tax withholding estimator:

  • Gather the most recent earnings statements for yourself, and if you are married filing jointly, for your spouse.
  • Gather information for other sources of income.
  • Have your most recent income tax return available.
  • Use whole dollar amounts in the estimator.

Keep in mind that the tax withholding estimator’s results will only be as accurate as the information you enter. If you have questions about the new Form W-4 or the available resources, please contact your Payroll office. Please note that the UW is not authorized to provide tax advice.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Duplicate Tax Statements

Tax statements (Form W-2, 1042-S*, Fellowship Letters) for the current and previous four years are available for active employees in the MyUW portal.

To print duplicate tax statements, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. Launch the Payroll Information app and choose the Tax Statements tab. Statements for 2016 through 2019 are available. You must be logged into a UW network (either connected directly to a UW network, or remotely by using VPN) in order to be able to access 2018 and 2019 W-2 Forms.

Please note that tax statements from 2017 and prior do not include Social Security numbers. If you require a tax document that displays your Social Security number, or you need a statement from a year prior to 2016, you may request a duplicate tax statement by completing a Duplicate Tax Statement Request.

*1042-S Requests: If you have a Glacier account, your 2019 1042-S Form is available in Glacier. For those without a Glacier account, 1042-S Forms were mailed in early March and will be available on the MyUW portal in late March.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Updated Income Continuation Insurance Premiums Effective February 1, 2020

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) premiums are updated annually on February 1. Updated premiums for University Staff (paid bi-weekly) will be reflected on the February 13, 2020 paycheck. Updated ICI premiums for Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly) will be reflected on the February 28, 2020 paycheck.

If you are currently enrolled in the ICI program, visit the ICI Premium Notice web page for your personalized updated premium amount. Current enrollees were sent an email January 25 directing them to this customized web page.

Several factors determine your premium amount:

  • For University Staff: the ICI premium is based on 2019 earnings reported to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), sick leave balance/usage as of December 21, 2019 and current ICI category.
  • For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees: the ICI premium is based on 2019 WRS-reported earnings and the selected ICI elimination period.

Please note: The ICI annual premium update effective February 1 is based on 2019 earnings and does not reflect any enrollments made during the ICI Deferred Enrollment period which began in January and ends March 2, 2020. Employees who are eligible to participate in the ICI Deferred Enrollment period received notification about their opportunity via an email sent January 18.

A complete list of ICI premiums and plan information is available on the ICI plan page. If you have questions, contact your human resources office.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Employee Assistance Program Offers Resources and Webinars

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides UW employees and members of their household with confidential resources to address personal and/or work-related concerns. EAP services are offered at no cost to employees. FEI is the administrator of the EAP program for most institutions. Click here to verify if FEI is your EAP administrator.

2020 Monthly Webinar Series
The FEI monthly webinar series is open for registration for eligible employees. Registration is required. Note: Employees must attend a webinar on their own time or consult with their supervisor for approval to attend.

Click here for webinar information and registration. Follow the individual links on each webinar for registration.

July 2020 Webinar: Dealing with Student Loans

Time: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm CDT

Description: With skyrocketing tuition rates and stagnant wages, it's no wonder so many graduates struggle to repay their student loans. We'll discuss why student loans have become such a burden and explore strategies that eliminate debt through consolidation, pay down and refinancing. Also, we'll explore making those loan payments fit into your monthly budget.

August 2020 Webinar: The Secret Life of (Having) Pets

Time: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm CDT

Description:It's no secret that pets bring an abundance of joy and companionship into our lives. But what isn't as well known is their many health benefits - to our physical, emotional and social well-being. We'll discuss how pets can influence our brain chemistry. Plus, we'll offer recommendations, tips and resources for selecting and caring for the right pet for you.

Source: UW System Human Resources

W-2 Forms (Wage and Tax Statements) Now Available Online

Electronic copies of the 2019 W-2 Forms (Wage and Tax Statements) are now available online in the MyUW portal. Employees will receive a paper copy of the W-2 Form via U.S. mail by January 31, 2020. Note: Paper copies are mailed to all employees except those who elected to receive an electronic only W-2 by 10 a.m. on January 15, 2020.

Instructions to View/print 2019 W-2 Form. Note: You must be logged into a UW network (either connected directly to a UW network, or remotely by using VPN) in order to be able to access your W-2.

Availability of Other Tax Forms

Some employees will receive one or more additional tax forms from the University of Wisconsin. Note: These additional forms are not applicable to all employees.

Examples of additional forms an employee may receive include:

    • Form 1095-C - An email communication will be sent to employees who will receive this form.
    • The Fellowship Letter is typically available in February.
    • The 1042-S Forms are typically available online in the MyUW portal in March. Employees who have chosen electronic delivery through the Glacier System may have access to their forms earlier; others will have them mailed to their home address. Instructions to View/print 1042-S Form and Fellowship Letter.

Resources

Filing Taxes

Employees should use their W-2 Form, not their final 2019 earnings statement, to file taxes. Some employees have had adjustments made to their 2019 taxable earnings since the last 2019 payroll was paid and may have an additional earnings statement generated reflecting these adjustments. These adjustments will already be reflected on the W-2 Form that the employee receives.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting returns on January 27, 2020 for the 2019 tax filing season. Employees may want to consider filing their return as soon as all tax forms are received to minimize the chance of a fraudulent return being processed using their Social Security number, or Individual Tax Payer Identification number. More information is available on the IRS website.

If you have questions, contact your Payroll office.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations