After you retire from Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) covered employment, you may return to work with a WRS employer as a rehired annuitant, provided certain requirements are met. There are no restrictions on what type of position you can hold, and there is no limit to how much you may earn as a rehired annuitant.
After retirement, if you work for an employer not covered by the WRS there is no effect on your WRS annuity or benefits.
Who is a Rehired Annuitant?
A rehired annuitant:
- Is receiving a monthly WRS annuity; and
- Had a valid termination; and
- Served the minimum required break in employment between retirement and returning to work; and
- Now works for an employer covered by the WRS.
*If you received a lump sum retirement benefit, you are not considered a rehired annuitant, and your employer must enroll you in the WRS if your position meets WRS requirements.
Individuals who receive a WRS separation benefit or lump sum payment must abide by the valid termination and minimum break in service rules as outlined by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).
What’s Considered a Valid Termination and Break in Employment?
To have a valid break in employment, before returning to work you must:
- Stop working for all WRS employers (receive no pay for services rendered – date of final paycheck irrelevant); and
- Have officially resigned per employer policy; and
- Have no rights to future employment for pay at a WRS employer; and
- Have no authority to act as an employee; and
- Have been paid out all applicable leave benefits; and
- If returning to UW System employment, serve the required minimum break in employment:
If retirement date is on or after July 2, 2013
– You are required to serve a 75-day break in employment. The break begins on your retirement date and ends on the 76th day after termination from all WRS participating employment.
If retirement date is prior to July 2, 2013
– You are required to serve a 30-day break in employment. The break begins on your retirement date and ends on the latest of the following:
- The day after the annuity effective date; or
- The 31st day after the termination date; or
- The 31st day after ETF receives the retirement application.
- If returning to a WRS employer outside UW System, please contact Madison Benefits Services regarding minimum break requirements.
No agreement for future services can be entered into prior to the employee’s termination. Before you retire, you CANNOT discuss returning to work with your employer. There CANNOT be an enforceable contract (verbal or written) in place to return to work before your retirement date.
If ETF determines that your termination is not valid, your annuity could be stopped and annuity payments considered to be paid in error must be returned.
Principal Investigators with on-going grants
Receipt of an on-going grant from non-University sources may not constitute a contract for or right to future University employment. Thus a Principal Investigator who is or will be receiving such a grant may retire from the University, begin a WRS annuity, and then make an agreement with the University to return to work on the grant after the required break in service. The employee may not enter into the new employment contract until after the termination date, and the minimum break in service is required. Compensation may not be paid for the period of the break in service. Each situation must be analyzed to assure compliance with the required break in service, and the employee and employer should wait the required 75 day period before engaging in discussions that could appear to be an agreement for the return to employment.
When you return to work at the University as a rehired annuitant, your retirement date and your position will determine your options regarding participating in the WRS.
If you retired on or after July 2, 2013:
Your annuity will be suspended and you are required to be covered by the WRS if you are expected to work at least one year and at least 2/3 of full-time:
- University Staff employees: if you are expected to work one year and 1,200 hours (58% appointment), your annuity will be suspended and you will be an active WRS employee.
- Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees: if you are expected to work one year and 880 hours (42% appointment for twelve-month employees and 56% appointment for nine-month employees), your annuity will be suspended and you will be an active WRS employee.
- If a rehired annuitant enters into a contract with the University (e.g. as an independent contractor), and is expected to work at least one year and at least 2/3 of full-time, the annuity will be suspended and no annuity payment is payable until the rehired annuitant no longer provides services under the contract. You will be an active WRS employee.
If you are not expected to work at least one year and at least 2/3 of full-time, you will continue to receive your annuity and your wages from the University.
If you retired prior to July 2, 2013:
You are not subject to the above rules. If your job as a rehired annuitant is eligible for coverage under the WRS, you may choose whether or not you want to stop your annuity and be covered by the WRS. You are eligible for the WRS if you are expected to work at least one year and at least 1/3 of full-time:
- University Staff employees: if you are expected to work one year and 600 hours (29% appointment), you can decide whether or not to stop your annuity. If you stop your annuity you will be an active WRS employee.
- Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited appointees: if you are expected to work at least one year and 440 hours (21% appointment for twelve-month employees and 28% appointment for nine-month employees), you can decide whether or not to stop your annuity. If you stop your annuity you will be an active WRS employee.
Once you elect to go back under the WRS, you will be subject to the rehired annuitant rules effective July 2, 2013.
All Rehired Annuitants
All rehired annuitants must complete a Rehired Annuitant Form within 7 days of returning to work, even if your appointment is not eligible for the WRS. You should submit the form to your HR contact.
ETF requires a new Rehired Annuitant Form any time you change positions within the UW System, accept an additional position (including temporary or limited), increase your work percentage/hours, or extend the duration of your employment.
Rehired annuitants, whether or not covered by the WRS, are eligible for the following benefits:
- UW 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program (SRP)
- Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
If you are covered by the WRS, you are eligible for all benefits offered to active employees in the same position.
A rehired annuitant may be eligible for paid leave benefits. A rehired annuitant must meet the same paid leave eligibility requirements as active employees (see the Leave Policy for eligibility requirements). Only time worked as a rehired annuitant is used to determine your paid leave eligibility. You do not have be covered by the WRS to earn paid leave benefits.