Wisconsin Retirement System Eligibility

Any employee who meets the eligibility requirements for coverage under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is automatically covered and required to pay any applicable employee contribution towards the WRS. Employees may not opt out of the WRS. If you do not meet the WRS-eligibility requirements when you are first hired, you will be covered under the WRS once you meet the requirements or are expected to meet the requirements.

You must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for coverage under the WRS:

  • Must be in a Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited or University Staff appointment; and
  • If you first became a WRS participating employee on or after July 1, 2011, you must be expected to work at least 2/3 of full-time for at least one year*.
    • University Staff: 2/3 of full-time is equal to 1,200 hours worked per year (58% appointment)
    • Faculty, Academic Staff, & Limited: 2/3 of full-time is equal to 880 hours worked per year (42% appointment for twelve-month employees and 56% appointment for nine-month employees); or
  • If you first became a WRS participating employee prior to July 1, 2011, you must be expected to work at least 1/3 of full-time for at least one year*.
    • University Staff: 1/3 of full-time is equal to 600 hours worked per year (29% appointment)
    • Faculty, Academic Staff, & Limited: 1/3 of full-time is equal to 440 hours worked per year (21% appointment for twelve-month employees and 28% appointment for nine-month employees)

*For nine-month employees, one year is considered the academic year and an expectation to return the following academic year.

Employee Type WRS Participant* before 07/01/2011 WRS Participant* on or after 07/01/2011
Must be expected to work:

  • At least 1/3 full time
  • For at least 1 year
Must be expected to work:

  • At least 2/3 full time
  • For at least 1 year
*WRS participation date refers to the date the employee is first covered under the WRS as a participating employee.
Hours  FTE Hours FTE
University Staff 600  29% 1200  58%
Faculty, Academic Staff & Limited A-basis / Annual
440 21% 880  42%
Faculty, Academic Staff & Limited C-basis / Academic
440 26% 880  56%

NOTE: During the period of July 1, 2011 through July 1, 2013, eligibility for coverage under WRS using the 1/3 of full-time measurement was extended to those employees who had been previously employed by a WRS participating employer, regardless of actual prior WRS participation. As of July 2, 2013, any current or new employee who is not under the WRS, must be evaluated on the 2/3 of full time measurement UNLESS he/she actually participated in the WRS prior to July 1, 2011.

Earnings and lump sums as they apply to WRS eligibility:

All personal service counts toward WRS eligibility determinations, even if the employee is paid a lump sum rather than an hourly or annual rate.

See Lump Sum default rate if you need to determine hours for WRS.