Rehired Annuitant

Overview

After you retire from an employer covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), 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 a rehired annuitant can hold. Under the WRS, 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 Wisconsin Retirement System.

*If you received a lump sum retirement benefit, you are not considered a rehired annuitant.

WRS and Your Annuity

When you return to work at the University as a rehired annuitant of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), your retirement date and your job attributes will determine whether or not you are required to or have the option to be covered by 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:

  • Classified Employees: if you are expected to work one year and 1,200 hours (58% appointment), your annuity will be suspended
  • Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited: 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.
  • 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.

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 “grandfathered” and not subject to the above rules. If your job as a rehired annuitant is eligible for coverage under the WRS, you 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:

  • Classified Employees: if you are expected to work one year and 600 hours (29% appointment), you can decide whether or not to stop your annuity.
  • Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited: 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.

Once you elect to go back under the WRS, you will lose grandfathered status and be subject to the rehired annuitant rules effective July 2, 2013.

All rehired annuitants

All rehired annuitants must complete a Rehired Annuitant Election 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 benefits office. If you are not eligible for the WRS when you first return to work but you later become eligible for the WRS, you must complete another Rehired Annuitant Election.

Minimum Required Break

What’s Considered a Valid Termination and Break in Employment?

In order 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
  • 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 in employment begins on your retirement date and ends on the latest of the following:
      • The day after the annuity effective date; or
      • The 76th day after the termination date; or
      • The 76th day after ETF receives the retirement application.
    • If retirement date is prior to July 2, 2013 - You are required to serve a 30-day break in employment. The break in employment 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.

Before you retire, you can NOT discuss returning to work after retirement with your employer. There CANNOT be an enforceable contract (verbal or written) in place to return to work before your retirement date. Per UW System Administration policy, you may not discuss, negotiate, or enter into an employment contract with the University prior to or during the required minimum break in employment.

If the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) determines that your termination is not valid, your annuity could be stopped and any annuity payments considered to be paid in error must be returned.

Principal Investigators with on-going grants: ETF has determined that receipt of an on-going grant from non-University sources does not constitute a contract for or right to future University employment. Thus a Principal Investigator with two years left on a five-year 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.

Benefits

Rehired annuitants, whether or not covered by the WRS, are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 Program
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Employee Reimbursement Account (ERA) – Classified Limited Term (LTE's) employees are not eligible
  • Pre-Tax Transportation and Commuter Benefits – Classified Limited Term (LTE's) employees are not eligible

If you are covered by the WRS, you are eligible for the following benefits:

  • All benefits offered to active employees in the same position

Paid Leave

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 Leave Benefits 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. 

If you qualify for paid leave as a rehired annuitant, the following leave provisions apply to you:

  • Vacation
    • Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff & Limited appointees – 176 hours per fiscal year (prorated if part-time)
    • Classified employees – vacation based on years of continuous service – service prior to retirement is included if you return to work within 5 years of your retirement
    • The rules for vacation carryover, ability to bank vacation into sabbatical or ALRA, and vacation payouts at termination apply to rehired annuitants just as they apply to active employees (see Vacation for details).
  • Sick Leave
    • Unclassified Faculty, Academic Staff & Limited appointees – 96 hours per fiscal year (prorated if part-time)
      • Rehired annuitants are eligible for Unclassified Initial Entitlement if they meet the eligibility requirements and:
        • Return outside of their reinstatement period; or
        • Have never worked for the University previously
    • Classified employees – 130 hours per year (prorated if part-time)
    • Sick leave converted at retirement to pay for health insurance will be saved by the Department of Employee Trust Funds and will not be available for use during employment.
    • If you elect not to participate in the WRS, any sick leave hours earned will not be credited to your retiree sick leave credit account upon re-retirement.
    • If you elect to go back under the WRS and you later re-retire, any sick leave earned as a rehired annuitant will be converted and added to your saved sick leave credits.
  • Personal Holiday – 36 hours per year (prorated if part-time)
    • The rules for personal holiday apply to rehired annuitants just as they apply to active employees (see Personal Holiday for details).