Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Benefit Package Eligibility

Employees who meets the eligibility requirements for the WRS Benefit Package are is automatically enrolled in the WRS. Employees may not opt out. There is an employee and employer contribution to the plan. If an employee does not meet the WRS-eligibility requirements when they are first hired, they will be covered under the WRS once they meet the requirements or are expected to meet the requirements.

Employees 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 the employee first became a WRS participating employee on or after July 1, 2011, they 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 the employee first became a WRS participating employee prior to July 1, 2011, they 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.