OHR Update: Impact of budget repair bill on employees

The following message was sent to UW-Madison faculty, staff and graduate assistants.

We know there is widespread interest across campus in the employment issues related to the budget repair bill. I’m writing today to update you on several of these issues — sick leave conversion, labor contracts, and health insurance and retirement deductions. The information below reflects the provisions of the bill as signed into law Friday by Governor Walker.
We are sending this message to all UW-Madison employees, but we understand that not all employees are eligible for, or covered by, all of these provisions. If you are unsure, please contact your department human resources/payroll professional.

Sick leave conversion: Many staff have expressed concern about the future of the
Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit (ASLCC) and Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit (SHICC) programs. ASLCC allows retiring employees to convert all of their unused sick leave to a dollar amount to pay retiree health insurance premiums. SHICC allows employees with at least 15 years of state service to convert additional sick leave when they retire, for the same purpose.

We are not aware of any discussion about modifying ASLCC. Since the basis for this program is state law, any changes would require statutory revisions. Neither the budget repair bill nor the biennial budget bill has language changing ASLCC.

As for SHICC, the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) has stated that the SHICC program will continue until at least June 30, 2011 for all employees
(i.e., classified employees represented by labor unions, non-represented
classified employees, academic staff and faculty).

OSER has not provided definitive information yet about the future of the SHICC program after June 30, 2011. We are continuing to discuss this with OSER and UW System administration and should know more about the future of SHICC as we get closer to June 30. When we have more information, we will share it with you.

Collective bargaining agreements: According to OSER, all contract provisions,
with the exception of eliminating the union dues deduction and increasing retirement contributions and health insurance premiums, will be honored until at least June 30, 2011. This means that current compensation provisions (overtime calculations, pay differentials, etc.) and workplace practices (transfers, vacation scheduling, etc.) will continue until at least June 30, 2011. The union dues deduction for classified represented employees will stop with the April 21, 2011 paycheck. For teaching/project assistants, the deduction will stop with the April 29, 2011 paycheck.

Increased Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contributions. The budget repair bill increases the amount employees pay into WRS “beginning on the first day of the first pay period after March 13, 2011.”  The increased deductions for WRS will begin with the April 21, 2011 paycheck for classified employees and the April 29, 2011 paycheck for academic staff and faculty.

Increased health insurance premiums. The budget repair bill increases the amount employees pay for health insurance “beginning with health insurance premiums paid in April 2011.”  The increased deductions for health insurance will begin with the April 21, 2011 paycheck for classified employees and the April 29, 2011 paycheck for academic staff, faculty, graduate assistants and employees-in-training. Here are the new premium rates:

Health Insurance Tiers and Revised Employee Health Insurance Monthly Payments:

Tier 1: $84 single; $208 family
Tier 2: $122 single; $307 family
Tier 3: $226 single; $567 family

Notes:

–Employees in less than 50 percent positions will continue to pay their current rate (i.e., 50 percent of the total premium).

–Part-time employees in 50 percent to less than 75 percent positions will continue to pay the rates they are paying today but, according to OSER, these rates will increase to the rates in the table above after June 30, 2011.

–Graduate assistants (including TAs, PAs, RAs) and employees-in-training will pay half the rates shown in the table above.

–Trades employees will continue to pay 100 percent of the total premium.

You can use UW System administration’s estimator to determine the impact of increased health insurance premiums and WRS contributions on your paycheck.

If you have questions, please review the frequently-asked questions section on the budget.wisc.edu website. As more information becomes available, we will update the site.

If you have other questions not addressed in this message or the FAQs, please e-mail us at budgetrepair@ohr.wisc.edu.

Thanks,

Bob Lavigna
Director of Human Resources
University of Wisconsin-Madison