Layoff/Nonrenewal

  1. Overview
  2. Layoff
  3. Nonrenewal
  4. FAQ
  5. Additional Resources

Overview

The information on this page will assist you with understanding the impact of your benefits in regards to the layoff process and nonrenewal process. Detailed information specific to the following include:

  • Layoffs
  • Nonrenewals
  • FAQs
  • Additional Resources

Definitions

"Layoff" is the termination of a staff member's employment because of funding loss or a budget or program decision either prior to the end of the appointment or when proper notice of nonrenewal under Academic Staff Policies and Procedures (ASPP) 3.05 cannot be given. More information can be found in ASPP 5.

"Nonrenewal" is the termination of an academic staff member's employment at the end of the appointment because of funding loss, a budget or program decision, or unsatisfactory performance, when proper notice of nonrenewal under ASPP 3.05 is given.

Further Clarification for Academic Staff

To be a nonrenewal, two criteria must be met:

  • correct amount of notice based on years of service must be given to the employee
    AND
  • the termination date must be no earlier than the end of the current appointment (which is usually tied with the fiscal year).

A layoff occurs when either of the following occur (in each case proper layoff notice must be given):

  • the employee does not receive proper nonrenewal notice based on the years of service
    OR
  • the termination date is earlier than the end of the current appointment

Layoff

"Layoff" is the termination of a staff member's employment because of funding loss or a budget or program decision either prior to the end of the appointment or when proper notice of nonrenewal under ASPP 3.05 cannot be given. More information can be found in ASPP 5.

A reduction of employment to the university workforce, or layoff, sometimes becomes necessary due to lack of funds, lack of work or material changes in duties or organization. Official procedures for the employer to follow for employees at risk of layoff or actually on layoff may vary according to employee class and nature of the layoff.

If you are faced with a layoff, you may be able to maintain some of your UW insurance and other benefit plans for an extended period. It is important to apply for continued coverage before your layoff date.

Some layoff may be seasonal or temporary in nature.

How Layoff Impacts Your Benefits

  • For employees under minimum retirement age -or- not vested in the Wisconsin Retirement System who are at or above minimum retirement age, refer to UWS 41.
  • For WRS-vested employees at or above minimum retirement age, refer to UWS 42.

If you reduce your hours from full-time to part-time or accept a lower-paid position in lieu of, or after, termination, the following charts show the effect on your benefits. Select the category that applies to you.

Benefit Impacts - Less than Full-Time Employment

If you take a separation benefit from the Wisconsin Retirement System you will forfeit all accrued sick leave.

Additional Layoff Links

Nonrenewal

"Nonrenewal" is the termination of an academic staff member's employment at the end of the appointment because of funding loss, a budget or program decision, or unsatisfactory performance, when proper notice of nonrenewal under ASPP 3.05 is given.

Nonrenewals are treated as a termination and are different from layoffs in that they are not extended 3 additional months of health coverage at the employer rate.

Nonrenewal Links

FAQ

  • All
  • WRS
  • Leave Benefits
  • Accumulated Sick Leave
  • Benefits
  • Other Employment

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Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)

At what age can we begin to take retirement benefits?

Under current law, for employees who are vested under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and have service prior to July 1, 2011, the minimum retirement age is 55 if in the General/Teacher category or age 50 if in protective service (police and firefighters).

What options are there for taking retirement benefits?

If the employee is at retirement age and the amount of the monthly annuity benefit is between the minimum and maximum retirement benefit at the time of starting the benefit, the employee would have the option of taking a lump sum payment or the monthly annuity benefit. If the amount of the monthly annuity payment is over the maximum monthly annuity benefit, the employee would be eligible for a lifetime annuity benefit. Payment to a beneficiary or Joint Survivor is dependent upon the retirement benefit annuity payment option at the time of the retirement.

Should I wait until a certain age before taking retirement benefits even if I am eligible to begin receiving benefits?

If you become an inactive employee due to termination of your position and do not apply for the WRS retirement benefit, any beneficiaries might receive half of the benefit should you pass away before starting the retirement benefits due to inactive employment status. For more information on active/inactive status, please refer to page 3 of the Department of Employee Trust Fund's (ETF) brochure, Applying for Your Retirement Benefit.

What happens with my WRS account if I take another state job before the end of my appointment?

The WRS account transfers with you. The only change would be the employer name that will be associated with the accrued service time. ETF keeps record of which employer with whom you worked and accrued service time.

Do my years of service in the WRS affect my benefits at layoff or nonrenewal?

If at the time of layoff (or nonrenewal, or if you stop working for a WRS employer, or at the time of termination) you have 20 years of WRS service and are under the minimum retirement age, your sick leave hours can be preserved and could be used at a later date.

If I am eligible to begin collecting retirement benefits upon separation from the University/state employment, what happens if I am rehired at some point (e.g. stop the benefit and begin paying in again if rehired)? What would be the pros and cons?

Unfortunately, this depends upon the rules/laws at the time of rehire. Please contact UW-Madison Benefits Services for more information on your specific situation. More information on rehired annuitants may be found at: http://www.uwsa.edu/hr/benefits/lifevent/rehired.htm.

Will my current WRS account be matched when I retire or will I only be paid the sum that I have at the end of my appointment plus any interest it may accumulate until I do retire?

A separation benefit is a payout of your WRS employee account. Please refer to ETF's brochure, Separation Benefits. You are eligible for a lump sum separation benefit if you leave all WRS employment and you are not vested, or you apply before your minimum retirement age. This is age 55, or age 50 if you have some protective category service that is not purchased forfeited service. You may need to meet one of two vesting laws depending on when you first began WRS employment:

  • If you first began WRS employment after 1989 and left employment before April 24, 1998, then you must have some WRS creditable service in five calendar years; or
  • If you first began WRS employment on or after July 1, 2011, then you must have five years of WRS creditable service.

If neither vesting law applies, you were vested when you first began WRS employment. If you are vested, you may receive retirement benefits at age 55 (age 50 for protective category participants) once you leave all WRS employment. If you are not vested, you may only receive a separation benefit, regardless of your age.

I would like more information about the WRS and my specific situation regarding retirement options. Who can answer my questions?

ETF's Explanation of WRS Annual Statement of Benefits as of January 1, 2013 is a great resource. Page 4 of the statement links to the ETF video presentation that explains the information provided on your annual Statement of Benefits, lists ways to contact ETF and links to an online calculator for potential retirement benefits. Additional helpful webcasts are located in the ETF video library.

Leave Benefits

What if I have vacation and personal holiday hours and decide to use them by taking vacation (i.e., remaining on the payroll) up until the end of my appointment. Is this allowable? What if I accept another position from private industry during that vacation? Can I remain on the payroll until the end of my appointment?

Questions on paid time off will be addressed by your department (as your layoff/nonrenewal letter indicates).

If I leave UW-Madison prior to the end of my appointment will my sick leave balance be paid out in full?

Sick leave is never paid out at termination from UW-Madison.

What happens with my sick leave if I take another state job before the end of my appointment?

Normally, if the transfer is with another WRS state agency/position, your benefits will transfer, and the sick leave hours will go with you. Check with the new agency to see if they will accept the hours as a transfer.

Accumulated Sick Leave

Will my sick leave balance be transferred back to me if I reinstate to a UW-Madison appointment?

**The following is a general summary and should not be considered complete. Each individual situation should be discussed with UW-Madison Benefits Services.

If you are over the minimum retirement age at the time of layoff, you can start your WRS retirement benefit and escrow your sick leave account if you have a comparable health insurance plan. Comparable, according to ETF, is a health insurance plan that has hospital, medical and prescription drug benefits and is within 10% of what is offered with the Standard Plan through the WRS.

If you are under minimum retirement age at the time of layoff AND you have 20 years of WRS creditable service, you can preserve your sick leave account to be used at a later date. If you take a Separation Benefit of your WRS account prior to the minimum retirement age, sick leave credits are forfeited.

Sick leave credits are available to survivors if you escrow or preserve the sick leave credits. Sick leave credits cannot be used if you are offered a comparable health insurance from another employer.

If you have 15 or more years of adjusted continuous "state" service you are also eligible for certification of Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credits (SHCC).

  • Permanent Classified employees - any unused accumulated sick leave credits remain on record and will be restored if you are re-employed in an eligible state WRS position within 5 years.
  • Academic Staff employees - any unused accumulated sick leave credits remain on record and will be restored if you are re-employed in an eligible state WRS position within 3 years.
  • May change due to HR Redesign effective July 1, 2015
I want to keep my sick leave balance. How can I do this?

Sick leave does not have a cash payout. Your unused sick leave value cannot be "cashed out" when you leave state employment, nor can the value be used to pay premiums for Medicare or for any health insurance plans other than the State Group Health Insurance at retirement. Accrued sick leave value may only be used for ONE thing: upon retirement, if eligible, you may use your accrued sick leave value to pay post-retirement State Group Health Insurance premiums. For more information on sick leave and eligibility to use the value to pay for insurance premiums, please refer to ETF's brochure, Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program.

What happens with my sick leave upon retirement?

Background information: Upon retirement, if an employee meets certain eligibility requirements, the sick leave account can pay the post-retirement State Group Health Insurance premiums for you, your spouse and dependents. However, once the sick leave credits are exhausted, according to Wisconsin State Statutes, ETF has the right to take the monthly health insurance premium from the WRS retirement annuity benefit if the retirement benefit is large enough. If the WRS annuity payment is not large enough, ETF will notify the employee by letter and the employee would receive a check made payable to the employee and the health plan to continue health insurance as a direct pay to the health carrier. If the employee did not want to continue the health insurance benefit once the sick leave account was exhausted, it is the employee's responsibility to submit a new health insurance application with ETF to cancel the health insurance benefit. The premium in retirement is the FULL cost of the insurance and not just the employee contribution portion. For example, in 2013, the monthly premium for Unity family coverage is $1,569.80. (see http://uwservice.wisc.edu/premiums/ for all health insurance premiums).

Example: Someone who has a $20 hourly wage and has a sick leave balance of 1,250 hours and 12 years of service. This person's sick leave value would be $20 X 1,250 or $25,000. The family Unity monthly premium is $1,569.80. The health insurance premiums are set one year at a time. The health insurance premiums have increased by approximately 5-7% per year.

Under current law, classified employees who return to an eligible WRS state position within 5 years and academic staff employees who return to an eligible WRS state position within 3 years would have this sick leave balance restored to them.

I have 20 years of service but I am not 55. Can I save my sick time until retirement or do I have to work as a state employee?

Yes, if you have 20 years of WRS creditable service, UW-Madison will certify your sick leave hours upon the layoff as a preserve (please see the eligibility section on pages 2-4 of ETF's brochure, Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program). Once you reach the minimum retirement age, you could apply for your WRS retirement benefit and you should complete a sick leave escrow application if you have comparable health insurance. Once you are no longer eligible for health insurance through an employer, you would have 30 days to complete a new health insurance application, and provide a certification of coverage document from your employer to enroll in the WRS health insurance and start using your escrow sick leave account. All paperwork would need to be returned to ETF.

The 20 years of WRS creditable service do not all have to be employment working for the State of Wisconsin; it includes all covered WRS employment, as well as military and purchased service (other than Other Governmental Service). If a portion of your WRS service has been awarded to your former spouse through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), the years of service that would have been credited to your account if your account had never been divided by a QDRO will be used to determine whether you meet the "20 years of WRS creditable service" requirement.

How much service is required in order to retain the accumulated sick leave so it can go towards health insurance premiums at retirement?

If you are under the minimum retirement age and have 20 years of creditable service under the WRS at time of layoff, you can preserve sick leave to use toward health insurance upon retirement.

If you are over the minimum retirement age and enrolled in the health insurance benefit at the time of layoff, you can escrow your sick leave account if enrolled in comparable health insurance. Information on what is considered comparable coverage may be found on page 7 of ETF's brochure, Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program.

Does non-university employment and buy-back of retirement time count towards the amount of time needed to retain accumulated sick leave?

If eligible for Forfeited Service, Qualifying Service or Other Governmental service and you purchased service before the layoff date, the purchase would count toward the 20 year preserve rule for employees under minimum retirement age at the time of layoff. Employees cannot buy any service not earned.

Benefits

What happens to my benefits (medical, retirement, insurance, vacation carryover, current vacation, personal days, sick leave balances, Employee Reimbursement Accounts, etc.) if I take another WRS eligible position on campus? Do probationary periods apply again? What paperwork is required?

The insurance benefits would transfer with you if it is a less than 30 day break between positions. If it is over a 30 day break of employment, you are eligible to sign up for all new insurance benefit options. Your sick leave transfers with you if there is no break. For unclassified staff, if you have a break of more than 3 years, sick leave hours are lost and you would start out with a new initial entitlement (IE) of sick leave hours. For classified staff, if the break is more than 5 years, sick leave hours are lost. Questions related to vacation/personal hours and probationary periods may be directed to your department along with the Academic Personnel Office (APO) or Classified Human Resources (CHR).

ERA (Employee Reimbursement Account) - What, if anything, do I need to do to continue using money that has been deducted and placed in Employee Reimbursement Accounts if employment with the University is terminated?

If you're enrolled in the ERA medical account for 2013 with a nonrenewal date in 2014 you will have contributed the entire 2013 pledged amount. You have until March 15, 2014 to incur services and claims need to be submitted for reimbursement by April 15, 2014. Upon termination, you may choose to have the remaining calendar year election taken from your final check or you may continue to make payments directly to ETF.

Is there anything else I should know regarding ERA accounts if I terminate employment with the University?

If you terminate before the remaining 2013 (and choose not to continue coverage) pledge deductions are taken, claims for services would be paid to the end of the month in which the termination occurred. For additional information please see the WageWorks handbook

Other Employment

What happens if I take a job that is not with the state, prior to my layoff or nonrenewal effective date? Does the type of health insurance offered at my new job have an impact?

In the event an you choose to leave your state position prior to the end of the nonrenewal or layoff, you would be considered an inactive employee (for more information on active/inactive status, please refer to page 3 of the ETF document, Applying for Your Retirement Benefit). It would no longer be viewed as a nonrenewal or layoff. You can review the document, Benefits When You Leave UW Employment for more information.

If you are over the minimum retirement age it may be in your best interest to start your retirement benefits. Please contact UW-Madison Benefits Services for more information.

If you have a layoff and your new job offers a health insurance benefit that is within 10% of what the WRS Standard Plan covers, you are no longer eligible to use your sick leave hours to continue the WRS health insurance benefit.

If you are over the minimum retirement age, and you have started your WRS retirement and your new job offers a health insurance benefit within 10% of what the WRS Standard Plan covers, you could escrow your remaining sick leave account/hours. The escrow application should be sent to ETF to be escrowed the first of the month following receipt of the application.

If I find another job before my layoff or nonrenewal effective date, how much advanced notice do I need to give?

There is not a requirement regarding how much notice must be given. A notice is appreciated and customarily employees provide a minimum 2 week notice. See the Resignations and Retirement Policy.

If I take a part-time job on campus, how are all my benefits affected? To get full health care benefits, what percentage appointment would I need to have?

Any employee can reduce to a 50% position and may be eligible for full employer contribution toward health insurance premium.

If I take a job outside of the state system, what happens with my retirement and what forms need to be completed?

Please review Benefits When You Leave UW Employment for more information.

If I take a job outside of the state system, what happens with my sick leave balance and what forms need to be completed? Can it be saved until I retire?

Under current law, classified employees who return to an eligible WRS state position within 5 years and academic staff employees who return to an eligible WRS state position within 3 years would have this sick leave balance restored to them.

If at the time of layoff/termination you have 20 years of creditable service under the WRS and you are under the minimum retirement age, you can preserve the sick leave balance. UW-Madison Benefits Services would provide a copy of the sick leave balance to you and a copy to ETF.

If at the time of layoff, you are over the minimum retirement age, due to layoff you can use the sick leave hours converted to a dollar amount to continue the health insurance benefit. You are not forced to start a retirement benefit.

If you are not under the WRS health insurance benefit at the time of layoff/termination and you are over the minimum retirement age, you could complete a health insurance application enrolling in the Standard Plan. You could enroll in single or family coverage for one month; therefore, coverage is in place the first of the month of the termination/layoff. You would be eligible to escrow due to having comparable health insurance coverage with another employer by sending the escrow application to ETF.

If I leave the state system, can I use my sick leave balance to continue paying for medical insurance if my new employer does not provide health insurance or if I would go on unemployment?

Yes, due to the layoff, if under the WRS health insurance at the time of the layoff, and new job with non WRS employer or no job, you could continue using the sick leave account to pay for one of the WRS health insurance plans. If at any time after the layoff you are offered a comparable health insurance benefit, you are no longer eligible to use the sick leave account to continue the WRS health insurance benefit.

If I leave the state system for another job and then come back in a year or so to the system, what happens then with retirement and sick leave balances?

Unused sick leave hours would be returned to you if you came back to a WRS position within 3 years (for unclassified staff) or 5 years (for classified staff). Returning to a WRS position would continue service and earnings under the WRS, and the employee would return to active WRS status. No earnings or service would have been reported or available for the break of service. If you took a separation benefit, you would have forfeited your sick leave. Upon rehire, you would start with a new WRS account and at this time would serve applicable vesting rules. If you started a WRS retirement benefit, you would need to complete a Rehired Annuitant form upon rehire.

Is there any assistance available to find other state jobs that are comparable to our current positions?

Resources for other state jobs include:

Additional Resources

Important Contact Information

UW-Madison Benefits Services
21 N. Park Street, Suite 5101 (5th floor)
Madison, WI 53715-1218
Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Benefits Phone: (608) 262-5650 | Fax: (608) 265-1456 | Email: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

UW-Madison Payroll Services and Analysis
21 N. Park Street, Suite 5101 (5th floor)
Madison, WI 53715-1218
Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fax: (608) 265-6547 | Email: payroll@ohr.wisc.edu

Ombuds Program
223-225 Lowell Center
610 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703
Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (608) 265-9992 | Fax: (608) 263-9228 | Email: uwombuds@mailplus.wisc.edu

Employee Assistance Office
226 Lowell Center
610 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703
Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (608) 263-2987 | Email: eao@mailplus.wisc.edu

Helpful Links