Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage in Wisconsin

UPDATED June 18, 2014: On June 13 2014, the federal district court issued a stay of its June 6, 2014 ruling, when U.S. District Judge, Barbara Crabb, ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin is unconstitutional. That stay will remain in effect pending further appeals. If you’re currently covering your same-sex spouse for State Group Health insurance and are subject to imputed income, there will be no changes made until guidance is provided by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF).

We ask for your patience as we await guidance from ETF.  Until that guidance is received,, if you are recently married and/or want to enroll your same-sex spouse for State Group Health insurance, you must still create a domestic partnership.  See Domestic Partnership for details.

See ETF’s statement on the Impact of Recent Federal Court Ruling on WRS for more information.

Save for Your Future with the TSA 403(b) Program

Think of the things you plan for - vacation, a new vehicle, your home. Have you planned for your future retirement? Take advantage of an opportunity to supplement your retirement savings by participating in the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program. It is easy with an automatic payroll deduction - and it feels good to save!


There are many benefits of participating in the UW TSA Program, including:

  1. It's an easy way to accumulate additional savings you will need to supplement your retirement income.
  2. You can make either pre-tax or Roth after-tax contributions or a combination of both options.
  3. It is a flexible, low-cost program with a wide array of investment options.
  4. It's portable. You may rollover your contributions to another qualified plan if you leave UW employment.


If eligible, you may enroll in this voluntary program at any time. All permanent, project and limited term employees (LTEs) of the University of Wisconsin as well as rehired annuitants, student hourly employees, and graduate assistants - with the exception of some employees-in-training, fellows, and interns - are eligible to participate. You make the entire contribution; there is no employer match. Investment options include a wide array of mutual funds and fixed and variable annuities managed by six authorized investment companies. For a description of our investment companies and how to enroll, see the Quick Guide to the UW TSA Program.

To find out more about the program, take a look at the TSA Q&A, which provides answers to some frequently asked questions.

T. Rowe Price Offers Recorded Webinar

T. Rowe Price, one of the investment companies in your UW TSA 403(b) Program, offers the recorded webinar Retirement Investing From Beginning to End.

Retirement Investing From Beginning to End – This 20-minute program is a comprehensive presentation that explains asset classes, reviews the concepts of risk and return, and helps you make the most of your investment choices. The plan’s investment options will be discussed and profiled using market capitalization, investment style, and geographic characteristics.

To view this recorded webinar, just click here.

New UW System Personnel System Approved - Effective July 1, 2015

On April 23, 2014, the state Legislature's Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER) approved the new personnel systems for UW-System and UW-Madison.  These new personnel systems are required by legislation and will be effective on July 1, 2015.

For more information about the approval, see the UW System press release

For information about the new University Personnel System (UPS), see the UPS website.

T. Rowe Price Offers Live Webinars April 1, 2 and 3

T. Rowe Price, one of the investment companies in your UW TSA 403(b) Program, again offers the well-received webinar Retirement Investing From Beginning to End. This is a live presentation over the web, and there will be time for you to ask questions and get your questions answered.

Retirement Investing From Beginning to End – This 40-minute program is a comprehensive presentation that explains asset classes, reviews the concepts of risk and return, and helps you make the most of your investment choices. The plan’s investment options will be discussed and profiled using market capitalization, investment style, and geographic characteristics.

  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014 – 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 3, 2014 – 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

You may sign up and watch the presentation on your own computer. Listen to the audio portion on the telephone. Register for the live webinar.

New ETF Video: Interest Rates and Annuity Adjustments

The Department of Employee Trust Funds released an online video explaining how this year's Wisconsin Retirement System effective rates and annuity adjustments were calculated. The 13-minute presentation also covers the Core Fund smoothing process and the actuarial factors used in determining annuity adjustments. See ETF's news release for access to the video.

2013 Effective Rates and Annuity Adjustments for Wisconsin Retirement System Announced

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has announced the final Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) interest rates for 2013. The Core Fund effective rate of interest is 10.9% and the Variable Fund effective rate of interest is 31%. Interest rates are applied to the balance of employees' WRS accounts as of January 1, 2013. The rates are based on investment performance earned by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB). Click here for ETF's news release regarding 2013 interest rates.

ETF also announced Core and Variable annuity increases for retired members of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). The 2013 Core annuity adjustment is 4.7% and the Variable annuity adjustment is 25.0%. The rates go into effect May 1. Click here for ETF's news release regarding annuity adjustments.

No TSA Participant Fee in 2014!

Great news! There is no TSA annual fee for employees who contribute to the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program in 2014! The TSA Program is your supplemental retirement savings program.

As background, in 2012 the TSA fee was $15, which the Program was able to reduce to $12 in 2013. The University negotiated with TSA investment companies, so that the companies take on some of the administrative burden – and in 2014 the fee has been eliminated!

The UW TSA 403(b) Program is a low-cost program with great investment options. All funds are no-load: there are no sales commissions or broker fees. UW TSA investment companies have no annual fees. You have access to funds with special low-cost share classes like Fidelity K shares and TIAA-CREF Institutional-share class.

With as little as $20 for monthly employees or $8 for biweekly employees, you can start a TSA deduction. If you already participate in the UW TSA 403(b) Program, consider increasing your deferral. If you are not participating in the program, go to the TSA webpage to find out how to save for your future. Don’t delay!

2014 Tax-Sheltered Annuity and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Limits Announced

The IRS announced that because inflation has been very low there are not cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to the dollar limitations for 2014 contributions to the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program (TSA) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 Program (WDC). (The same limits as 2013.)

In 2014, employees may contribute a maximum of $17,500 to the TSA Program. Employees age 50 and over can contribute an additional $5,500 for a total of $23,000. These same limits apply to WDC. Employees can contribute the maximum to both programs for a total of $35,000 (under age 50) or $46,000 (age 50 or older).

If you have 15 years or more of service with the UW, you may have an additional "catch-up" opportunity with the TSA Program. Check with your human resources/benefits office to see if you are eligible. For more information, see the web page on TSA limits.

Both pre-tax and Roth after-tax 403(b) contributions count towards the annual limit. For example, if you are under 50, you could contribute $8,500 pre-tax and $9,000 Roth after-tax to each program. Please note Roth IRAs are an investment completely separate from the UW 403(b) Program.

Employees currently enrolled in the TSA Program can easily change TSA contributions for 2014 by submitting a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) to their human resources/benefits office. See the TSA website for more information about enrolling in the program.

If you want to change your deduction for 2014, you should submit your TSA Salary Reduction Agreement to your human resources/benefits office in early December. Clearly mark the form as calendar year 2014.

To change your WDC contribution or enroll in the WDC Program, call the WDC office at 1-877-457-9327 or enroll online.

WDC changes must be made with Great-West Retirement Services in early December 2013, so that they have adequate time to electronically remit the information to the payroll office.

If you want to maximize your TSA and/or WDC contributions for 2014, see the chart below to determine how much to contribute per paycheck.

Contributions by Paycheck

Number of Paychecks Annually

2014 Annual Maximum

2014 Amount per Paycheck

9 paychecks (under age 50)



9 paychecks (age 50 and over)



12 paychecks (under age 50)



12 paychecks (age 50 and over)



26 paychecks (under age 50)



26 paychecks (age 50 and over)



Note: No deductions are taken during the summer for employees paid on an academic year basis (9 paychecks annually).

2014 WRS Contribution Rates Announced

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution rates for 2014. Your contribution rate is determined by your WRS employment category. Most UW employees are covered by either the general or teacher WRS category. High level administrators (chancellors, president, vice presidents, provosts...) are covered by the executive category, and those whose main duties are related to law enforcement or the protection of the public (police officers, fire fighters...) are covered by the protective category.

WRS contribution rates are set on an annual basis. The 2014 contribution rates will apply to all paychecks paid in 2014 beginning on January 2, 2014 for unclassified employees paid monthly and January 9, 2014 for classified employees paid bi-weekly. As a reminder, WRS contributions are taken on a pre-tax basis for state and federal tax purposes.

2013 and 2014 WRS Contribution Rates
 General/TeacherExecutivesProtectives w/
Social Security
2013 2014 2013 2014 2013 2014
Employee Contribution 6.65% 7.00% 7.00% 7.75% 6.65% 7.00%
Employer Contribution 6.65% 7.00% 7.00% 7.75% 9.75% 10.10%
Total 13.30% 14.00% 14.00% 15.50% 16.40% 17.10%

See the ETF press release for additional information about how contribution rates are set.

ETF Announces State-Wide WRS Presentations

ETF announced it will be offering two new WRS presentations across the state of Wisconsin. The first presentation is for new and mid-career employees (more than 5 years from retirement). This session will discuss how to enhance your retirement benefit, vesting requirements, contribution rates and much more.

The second session ETF will be offering is for employees nearing retirement. The information will include annuity options, retirement benefit calculations, annuity adjustments and more.

See ETF's Learning Opportunities page for information on these WRS presentations. Also available - group appointments, webinars and a video library.

archived news 2013