Shape Future Benefits Offerings: Complete the Employee Benefits Preferences Survey Today!

As a key part of the UW Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project, UW Human Resources is partnering with Mercer Consulting to conduct an Employee Benefits Preferences Survey.

Why: Your perspective is important!
The purpose of the survey is to gather feedback regarding the benefits our employees value and to design a competitive benefits offering that will serve the diverse and changing needs of UW employees to attract and retain top talent. There is no intent to reduce or eliminate any existing employee benefits, but rather to better understand your preferences for and perspectives on current benefits and get your ideas about any desired offerings.

When: Monday, November 26 – Friday, December 14
Between November 26 and December 14, 2018, all benefits-eligible UW employees have the opportunity to complete the electronic survey confidentially. Employees will be asked about their satisfaction with the benefits that mattered most to them when they began employment with UW, existing benefits (health insurance, vacation time, etc.), and what matters most to them now. Please answer all questions, even if a particular benefit like childcare or tuition reimbursement is not currently offered at your institution.

Results: Summary shared in 2019
A summary of the survey results will be shared in 2019 and will provide UW with a clear sense of which benefits are most valuable to faculty and staff and how satisfied those groups are with the current benefits package.

Time is Running Out!
The Employee Benefits Preferences Survey is an important opportunity for employees to engage and have their voices heard on whether UW’s current benefits program is meeting their needs, and to suggest their level of interest in possible additions and/or changes. Mercer sent you an email with a personalized link to the survey and instructions for completing it. This email is not a phishing scam. The email subject line is "UW Employee Benefits Preferences Survey" and came from the email address of Please complete the survey as soon as possible.

You can find more information about the Title and Total Compensation Project at the UW System and UW-Madison TTC websites.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Social Security and Medicare Taxes for 2019

The Social Security wage base has risen to $132,900 in 2019 from $128,400 in 2018. This means that the first $132,900 of an employee's taxable wages are subject to Social Security taxes. You and the UW will each pay 6.2% on taxable wages up to $132,900.

An employee's entire taxable salary is subject to Medicare tax. Both the UW and the employee pay 1.45% on all taxable compensation. Further, any taxable wages that exceed $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) are subject to an additional 0.9% tax. There is no employer match for additional Medicare tax.

Source: UW Service Center

Monthly Pay Date for December Earnings is January 2, 2019

For UW employees who are paid on the 1st of each month, the monthly pay date for December 2018 earnings is Wednesday, January 2, 2019. January 2 is the pay date because January 1 (New Year's Day) is a Federal Reserve holiday.

When a pay date falls on a weekend or Federal Reserve holiday, the pay date is usually the previous business day. An exception to this is the monthly pay date that falls on New Year's Day, January 1.

To avoid tax-related issues, the January 1 pay date for December earnings is paid in the new calendar year and must be the first "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.

Source: UW Service Center

Review and Update Your Personal and Address Information

As the fall semester draws to a close, you are encouraged to review your Personal Information in the MyUW portal. This includes your home and office addresses, phone numbers, legal and preferred name, emergency contact information and disability and veteran status. It is especially important to update your address information if you plan to move.

To Review and Update Your Personal Information

  1. Log into the portal for UW-Madison or for all other UW System institutions.
  2. Launch the portal Personal Information tile.
  3. Review your Personal Information on the Personal Information page. Choose the applicable buttons to change, delete or update your information.
  4. Click on the Update My Personal Information link to update your home and mail addresses, phone, email, emergency contact and other related Personal Information.

Why is it Important to Update Your Personal Information?
It is important to have your Personal Information up-to-date in the MyUW portal for many reasons:

  • If you do not choose electronic-only distribution of your W-2 and 1095-C tax forms, your mailing address will be used for the annual January tax form distribution. Deadline for this address update is January 11, 2019.
  • Current Personal Information ensures that you will receive important information about your benefits, paychecks, or UW employment.
  • Your employer may need to contact you.
  • Changing your Personal Information/Address in the portal will not change this information for the benefit plans in which you are currently enrolled. See instructions for changing your name or address for your benefits plans.

If you have questions, review the instructions on updating your personal information or contact your human resources office.

Source: UW Service Center

College Savings Made Simple

Saving for your child's post-high school education may seem daunting, but with Edvest, Wisconsin's 529 College Savings Plan, you can start making small contributions today that will benefit them in the future. Anyone – parents, grandparents, extended family members and friends – can set up an account for anyone else. An account can also be used to save for one’s own continuing education.

Edvest makes saving easy by offering low fees, a low minimum contribution of $15 per pay period, and tax deductions for Wisconsin residents (limitations apply). You may have contributions to Edvest allocated from your paycheck. Payroll deduction is not available.

The best part is the benefit to your child(ren), who can use these funds at universities, colleges, professional schools, technical colleges, and graduate programs across the country and even at some institutions abroad. Funds can cover tuition, books, room and board, computers, tablets, and many other expenses.

For more information and to open an account, visit the Edvest website.

Source: UW Service Center

WRS News Online, November 2018

External link:

Supplemental Dental Insurance Enrollment Extended to December 28, 2018

The Delta Dental supplemental dental insurance enrollment deadline has been extended from October 26, 2018 to December 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm for employees who were eligible to participate in the October 1-26, 2018 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period.

All ABE-eligible employees were contacted via a direct email on November 2 to inform them of this extended enrollment period for the Delta Dental supplemental dental insurance.

If you have not already enrolled in supplemental dental insurance, and would like to take advantage of this extended enrollment period, complete and submit a Delta Dental paper application to your human resources office. Self Service will not be available for this extended enrollment period. Please note: the sooner you submit your enrollment application, the sooner you will receive your supplemental dental insurance card.

If you have already enrolled in Delta Dental supplemental dental insurance during the 2018 ABE period, you do not need to take any action at this time.

Find an overview of the Delta Dental supplemental dental insurance plans on the Annual Benefits Enrollment website. If you have questions contact your human resources office.

Source: UW System Human Resources

2019 Tax-Sheltered Annuity and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Limits

The IRS recently announced the 2019 contribution limits. These contribution limits apply to the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program and the Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program.

In 2019, employees may contribute a basic maximum of $19,000 to the TSA Program. Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $6,000 for a total of $25,000. These same limits apply to WDC. Employees can contribute the maximum to both programs for a total of $38,000 (under age 50) or $50,000 (age 50 or older).

If you have 15 years or more of service with the UW and have contributed less than an average of $5,000 per year over your UW employment, you may have an additional "catch-up" opportunity with the TSA Program. Contact your human resources office for more information.

Both pre-tax and Roth (after-tax) contributions count towards the annual limits. Note: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are a type of retirement account separate from the TSA and WDC Programs and have separate limits.

To change your TSA deduction for 2019 or enroll in the program, submit your TSA Salary Reduction Agreement to your human resources office in early December. If you are enrolling for the first time, set up your account with the provider(s) of your choice either online, by EZ Enrollment form, or via paper application prior to submitting your Salary Reduction Agreement. Clearly mark the form as calendar year 2019.

For questions on the TSA program go to the TSA website - and don’t hesitate to use ALEX, a personalized online benefits counselor. You may also contact your human resources office with questions on your benefit plans.

To change your WDC contribution call the WDC office at 1-877-457-9327 or access your account at the WDC website. The WDC website also has information about enrolling in the program. WDC changes must be made with Empower, the third-party WDC plan administrator, in early December 2018, so that there is adequate time to electronically send the information to the UW Service Center.

Source: UW System Human Resources

UW Employees May Choose Electronic-only Distribution of W-2 and 1095-C Forms

UW employees now have the option of receiving all future W-2 and1095-C forms each January via electronic-only distribution, thus eliminating paper form distribution via U.S. mail.

The W-2 form states an employee’s compensation and tax withholding amounts for the previous calendar year. The 1095-C form documents that an employee who worked full-time for all or some months in the previous year was offered health insurance coverage.

How Do I Choose Electronic-only Distribution of my W-2 and 1095-C Forms?
To choose electronic-only distribution of your W-2 and 1095-C forms, you are required to complete a consent form for both the W-2 form and the 1095-C form. Both consent forms must be submitted by January 11, 2019 for electronic-only distribution of these tax forms in 2019.

If you consent to W-2 and 1095-C form electronic-only distribution, you may withdraw your consent at any time. Your consent will cease if you terminate UW employment. Note: These consent options do not apply to the 1042-S form. 1042-S forms are available electronically in the Glacier Online Tax Compliance System for employees who choose electronic delivery through that system.

If you do not complete the consent forms, your W-2 and 1095-C forms will continue to be mailed to the mailing address you have listed in the MyUW portal. You may review and update your address in the MyUW portal via the portal Personal Information tile.

Why Should I Consent to Electronic-only Distribution?

  • Secure method of delivery with less risk of lost or stolen forms.
  • Electronic forms are available earlier than mailed paper forms.
  • Reduced administrative costs of generating W-2 and 1095-C forms.
  • Environmentally friendly.

Completing the Electronic-only Consent Form(s)
The option to choose electronic-only distribution is now available. Follow the instructions below. It’s quick and easy:

  • Log into the MyUW portal for UW-Madison or for all other UW System institutions.
  • Go to the Payroll Information tile and select “Tax Statements.” 
  • On the Tax Statements page, choose “Consent to receive W-2 electronically” and/or “Consent to receive 1095-C electronically.” Reminder: you must complete the two separate consent forms to choose electronic-only distribution for both the W-2 form and the 1095-C form.
  • Read the provided instructions.
  • Check the “I consent…” checkbox.
  • Choose the “Submit” button.
  • You will receive an email confirming your consent within 24 hours. You will also receive an email by January 31, 2019 alerting you to the electronic availability of your W-2 and/or 1095-C forms.

Withdrawing Consent: The same instructions noted above apply to withdrawing consent, except that an alternative checkbox must be chosen to submit consent withdrawal. An email is sent within 24 hours of submitting withdrawal.

If you have any questions regarding choosing electronic-only distribution of your W-2 and 1095-C forms, contact your payroll office.

Source: UW Service Center

ALEX Available for 2019 Benefits Planning

You may already be aware that you have access to ALEX, a personalized online benefits counselor, to answer most questions surrounding your 2018 benefit plans.

With the 2019 Annual Benefits Enrollment (ABE) period just around the corner (October 1 – 26, 2018), we are pleased to announce that you will also have access to ALEX to help you make 2019 benefit plan decisions. The benefit plan elections made during ABE will be effective January 1, 2019.

As a reminder, ALEX is an interactive benefits decision tool to help you understand the benefit plans and options offered to you and your family year round. Whether you’re a new or long-term employee, ALEX is available to you at any time! As the ABE period quickly approaches, here is some additional information surrounding both the 2018 and 2019 versions of ALEX:

When will I be able to access the ALEX version that reflects the 2019 benefit plans?
The 2019 version of ALEX will be available late September, prior to the ABE period, which will give you an opportunity to educate yourself regarding the 2019 benefit plans and rates.

Will I still be able to access the ALEX version that reflects the current 2018 benefit plans?
Yes, the 2018 version of ALEX will also be available for you to use even after the 2019 version of ALEX is released.

Will there be any major differences between the 2018 and 2019 versions of ALEX?
The 2019 version of ALEX will be nearly identical to the 2018 version. However, you may notice during ABE the only plans that will appear in the 2019 version of ALEX are:

  • The plans that allow you to make changes during the ABE period 
  • The plans that can be changed at any time

Once the ABE period has ended, the 2019 version of ALEX will be updated to include all benefit plans. These additional plans include: life insurance and Income Continuation Insurance (ICI).

How do I access ALEX?
Visit the ALEX landing page to get started. This page will be updated late September to include the 2019 version for your use!

Will ALEX be my only resource for ABE information?
No, ALEX is just one resource for ABE information. You may begin to review the 2019 benefit plan change information on the ABE website.

Source: UW System Human Resources

Reminder: Substantiate 2018 Flexible Spending Account Claims Timely

Employees currently enrolled in a Health Care or Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for the 2018 plan year are reminded to provide documentation as required for FSA claims.

If you are currently participating in an FSA, review your account at to see if you have any claims that require documentation (referred to as unsubstantiated claims).

Under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, FSAs are a pre-tax benefit, and all payments from a Health Care or Limited Purpose FSA may require third party documentation (substantiation) unless the claim is automatically substantiated.

The FSA administrator, TASC, is able to auto-substantiate some (but not all) claims paid using the TASC debit card. If requested by TASC, you are REQUIRED to provide documentation to substantiate claims paid with the TASC debit card. This ensures the debit card was used for IRS approved items/services within the allowed time-frame.

Failure to provide documentation to TASC when requested may result in repayment by the employee for any unsubstantiated payments. Repayment is done by deducting money from the employee's paycheck on an after-tax basis until repayment is complete. Claims should be substantiated timely to avoid repayment.

Substantiation information can be found in the ERA Participant Guide. If you have questions, contact TASC at or 1-844-786-3974.

Source: UW System Human Resources

WRS Contribution Rates to Decrease in 2019

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced that contributions made by employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) will decrease slightly for all employee types effective January 1, 2019. WRS contribution rates are set and adjusted annually.

The 2019 rate changes are primarily due to higher favorable WRS Trust Fund investment performance.

Contribution rates for UW System employees are determined by WRS employment category. Most UW employees are in the General/Teacher WRS category. High level administrators (chancellors, presidents, vice presidents, provosts) are in the Executive category. Employees whose main duties are related to law enforcement or the protection of the public (police officers, fire fighters) are in the Protective category.

2019 WRS Required Contribution Rates

with Social Security
  2018 2019 2018 2019
Employee Contribution 6.7% 6.55% 6.7% 6.55%
Employer Contribution 6.7% 6.55% 10.7% 10.55%
Total Contribution 13.4% 13.1% 17.4% 17.1%

The 2019 rates will apply to all paychecks in 2019; beginning January 2, 2019 for Faculty/Academic Staff and Limited Appointees paid monthly and January 3, 2019 for University Staff employees paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are deducted on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

For More Information

Source: UW Service Center

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