Reporting Hours and Earning Service Credit
The Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) has an “Education Group” that includes school district employers, the University of Wyoming, Wyoming’s community colleges, BOCES, and “Child and Family” employers.
Service credits are an important part of a member’s retirement benefit calculation and are based on the number of hours an employee works during the month. WRS requires all employers to report accurate employee information, which includes the number of hours an employee works during the month; however, there are circumstances in which an employer in the Education Group can report default hours. If the employee is a full-time contract employee, an Education Group employer may report default hours of 174 each month. If the employer reports default hours each month during the school year, the employee will automatically receive service credit for the summer months. Education Group employers are not required to provide WRS with a breakdown of the hours a full-time contract employee works during the summer months. They can continue to report default hours for full-time contract employees as long as the default hours are consistent with the reported salary. If the contract salary is lower than normal, then the actual hours must be reported - default hours are not allowed.
Education Group employers who have part-time employees or full-time employees who are paid on a “per hour” basis must report actual hours to WRS, including hours worked during the summer months, to ensure proper service credit is applied to the part-time or hourly employee’s account.
Partial File Uploads & Paying Out Contract Employees in Advance
Often contract employees of the educational group are paid monthly during the school year and then receive the balance of their contract in a lump sum, which represents their pay for the summer months. WRS refers to this practice as “paying in advance.” WRS would prefer contributions to be paid out monthly throughout an employee’s contract, but will accommodate those education employers who prefer to pay summer salary in advance. An employer can pay its contract employees in advance by submitting a separate partial file to WRS for each of the months that are being paid in advance. Only those employees who are being paid in advance should be listed on the file upload. Uploading a partial file for any other purpose will create problems with future uploads and/or for your employees when they retire or refund their account. *Keep in mind if there is a scheduled contribution increase that is for the same month you are paying in advance, the increased contribution rate must be reported not the current rate.
Depending on your payroll system, when you process your normal payrolls for the summer months, those employees who have already been paid in advance will be highlighted in yellow on the Contribution Template. You may leave them on the file or delete them.
WRS cannot accept a single lump sum payment that represents more than one month of pay, regardless of whether the payment is for summer months or for a contract payout mid-year. This applies to any contracted employee, not just teachers.
Summer School and Extra-Duty Contracts
Please do not submit contributions in advance for an employee who will be working summer school or has an extra-duty contract for the summer months. Doing so will require you to create a separate adjustment file for the additional summer salary and contributions. The adjustment file can't be uploaded until the original file for that month has been uploaded and the payment processed by WRS, please note adjustment interest may apply.
The Contribution Template must be completed properly to ensure future benefits are calculated correctly, which requires special attention to the columns listed below.
Column L - Reportable Salary is the total retirement-eligible monthly salary for the employee, which must include the contracted employee’s normal monthly salary along with any other monthly retirement-eligible salary for extra duty pay (e.g. overtime, coaching).
Column M (required) - Educator Contract Length - Choose from the column drop-down the number of months the employee’s contract will be paid over, not the number of days/months they actually work during the school year. The contract length should not change from month to month, it must be consistent.
- 12 month contract means the employee’s contract will be paid in 12 equal installments.
- 9, 10, or 11 month contract - the employee’s contract will be paid in equal installments for either 9, 10, or 11 months. The remaining months of the year they will be placed on a “service break” or terminated, whichever is applicable for the specific employee.
- N/A should be used if -
- the employee is not a contract employee; OR
- the employee is contracted only for part of the school year, and their actual salary will be paid during the month earned
Column N - Educator Contract Salary is the amount of the salary reported in Column L that is attributed to the MONTHLY contracted salary earned by the employee; it does not include extra duty pay (e.g. overtime, coaching). It’s the yearly contract amount divided by the number of months the contract is paid over. If the employee is not a contract employee, this column should be left blank.
The following examples are based on an employee with a contract salary of $50,000 who was contracted to work nine (9) months during the school year (Sept-May), but is paid in 12 monthly installments of $4,166.67.
- Example 1 shows how an employer would report contributions for an employee who was paid monthly from September through May, and then paid a lump sum payment, in advance, for June, July, and August.
- Example 2 shows how an employer would report contributions for a nine (9) month contract employee paid over 12 months, who terminates employment before the end of their contract.
Example 1*: Employee is paid monthly September through May, then will be paid in advance the remainder of their contract for June-August in a lump sum ($4,166.67 * 3 = $12,500.01). Once you have uploaded May’s payroll with all of your employees, you can upload a separate PARTIAL upload for each month representing June, July, and August with only those employees who will be paid in advance. Please upload only one PARTIAL file for each of the summer months. Uploading more than one PARTIAL file per month may result in errors in subsequent file uploads.
* This example shows the Employee Contribution paid by the Employer, but you will complete the applicable columns based on your payroll requirements. Termination Record If the employee terminates, this example also shows how to complete the term on the same partial file upload.
Example 2*: Employee was contracted to work nine (9) months, paid over 12 months, but terminates employment in January before the end of the contract. Based on the actual number of days already worked, an additional payment is due to the employee. Even though you may pay your employee in a lump sum, it must be reported to WRS monthly based on the employee’s normal payment schedule. This employee normally received $4,166.67 per month, so the normal salary would be reported for January. If the additional amount owed was $9,386.45 based on the number of actual days worked, then the additional amount would be reported as follows.
*This example shows the Employee Contribution paid by the Employer, but you will complete the applicable columns based on your payroll requirements.
Termination Record If the employee terminates, this example also shows how to complete the term on the same partial file upload.