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Employer Update Archives | February 2015 A Publication for VRS Employers

VRS Director Resigns; Board to Conduct National Search

Robert P. Schultze

The VRS Board of Trustees has accepted the resignation of Director Robert P. Schultze, effective February 16. Schultze will leave VRS to become president and chief executive officer of ICMA-Retirement Corporation, a leading provider of public-sector retirement plans and related services dedicated to helping public-sector employees build retirement security. The Board of Trustees will retain a consultant in the near future to assist with a national search for a new director.


Patricia S. Bishop

In the interim, the board has named Patricia S. Bishop acting director, effective February 17. Bishop, who has served the commonwealth for more than 20 years, joined VRS in 2008 and has served as deputy director since 2011, overseeing implementation of benefit policy and processing, retirement counseling, call center services, training and education services and insurance programs. Read the press releases on Schultze and Bishop.

2015 General Assembly Considers Bills Affecting VRS

legislation

The 2015 General Assembly convened January 14 and is considering bills with potential impact to VRS benefits. Links to these bills are available on the VRS website at Legislation.

Any changes to the VRS benefit structure must be approved by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor. VRS will provide a legislative summary after the April Reconvened Session with information on any changes that affect VRS benefits.

Employer Manual Chapters Revised

The VRS Employer Manual is a comprehensive resource for VRS benefit information and myVRS Navigator processes. A number of existing chapters have been revised and are available now:

  • General Information
  • Purchase of Prior Service
  • Group Life Insurance

In addition, two new chapters have been added:

  • Enroll and Maintain Employees
  • Contribution Confirmation and Payments

Revisions to the remaining chapters will be posted as they become available. Revision dates are noted at the bottom of each page. The Employer Manual can be accessed from the Employer tab on the VRS website.

Transition to New Disability Vendor Begins

VRS has selected Reed Group as the third-party administrator for the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) effective May 1, 2015, and the Virginia Local Disability Program (VLDP) effective July 1, 2015. Benefit provisions for both plans will remain the same. Any short-term disability claims incurred before these dates will remain with Unum until the claim moves to long-term disability. At that time, the claim will transition to Reed Group.  

LeavePro training for employers will begin in April. LeavePro is the system Reed Group uses to track disability claims.  You may choose from classes held regionally across the state, webinars and e-courses. Reed Group also will provide training materials for employers to counsel members on program benefits. See the timeline for VSDP and VLDP transition-related activities.  

New Roth Option Requires Payroll Changes

Effective July 1, 2015, a Roth option will be available to all participants in the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan. The new deferral option, which is made on an after-tax basis, will require political subdivisions and schools who offer the plan and state employers who do not report through CIPPS to update their payroll systems to allow for the deductions. The Department of Accounts will handle payroll system updates and contribution submission changes for state employers who report through CIPPS.  

Contribution Submissions

Employers will continue to use EZLink, ICMA-RC’s online plan administration tool, to manage the contribution process. You can submit contributions by batch file or online:

  • Batch file: ICMA-RC has updated the ICMA-RC VRS Hybrid and DC Plans Payroll File Interface to include the new Roth option. You or your payroll vendor will need to test the updated file with ICMA-RC to ensure it has been properly formatted to accept Roth contributions. The file interface provides testing instructions.

  • Online Submitters: In April, ICMA-RC will begin contacting payroll staff to review changes to EZLink and provide training on Roth contribution submissions.

Participating employees will be able to set up Roth contributions by logging into Account Access or calling Investor Services at 1-877-327-5261 beginning July 1. You will continue to use the monthly Deferral Changes report to process payroll changes.

Training resources, such as a revised Payroll Guide and webinars, will be available to help you prepare for the new Roth option. More information on training will be communicated in the coming months.

Please note that the Roth option will not be available for the Hybrid 457 Deferred Compensation Plan.

Promote VRS Retirement Resources During America Saves Week

america saves week

Experts suggest saving 10 to 15 percent of pay to have sufficient retirement savings. But according to the National Institute on Retirement Security, more than 38 million U.S. working-age households do not have retirement accounts.

America Saves Week, February 23 – 28, is a great time to remind employees of the need to save, reduce debt and build wealth for a secure retirement. VRS has many resources available to employees to help them learn about their retirement plans and financial basics, and map their retirement strategy.

myVRS

Your employees have instant access to myVRS, one of their most important resources. They can stay on track by estimating income and expenses using the Retirement Planner or, if they are in Plan 1 or Plan 2, creating VRS retirement benefit estimates based on variable retirement dates and payout options. Order or download myVRS promotional resources.

Money Matters for Virginians

Money Matters for Virginians, a series of online courses covering financial basics, is available on the VRS website. Courses are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary. Each Money Matters course takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and covers various financial topics from banking basics to more complicated subjects such as buying a home.

Focused Retirement Education

VRS member education focuses on planning for retirement through courses geared to employees at different milestones: new and current employees, employees within five years of retirement and employees ready to retire. The Member Education and Counseling page provides a list of available courses and webinars.

Retirement Education Seminars

Retirement Education Seminars are conducted by industry experts and offered at sites around the state. Employees can register for seminars at Member Education and Counseling.

Retirement Education Seminar I covers mid- and long-range financial planning, estate planning and adjusting to retirement. Retirement Education Seminar II focuses on short-range financial planning, long-term care insurance, Social Security and Medicare.

Hybrid Retirement Plan Features and Benefits Series

This six-part video series includes an introduction to the Hybrid Retirement Plan and a description of how contributions and investments are handled, along with an explanation of the benefits available and retirement eligibility. You can use these videos during your orientation sessions or ask your employees to watch them at their convenience.

One-on-One Counseling

One-on-one counseling sessions are available to VRS members at 1111 East Main Street in downtown Richmond. Sessions are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited scheduled appointments also are available; call VRS toll-free at 1-888-VARETIR (1-888-827-3847) for more information. The hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

457 Deferred Compensation Plan Regional Education Meetings

Sign up for a Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan individual appointment or seminar. Topics include long-term planning for financial security, managing plan accounts and distribution strategies.

Handbooks, Guides, Publications and the VRS Website

View VRS handbooks, guides, newsletters and other resources on the publications page of the VRS website. The member section of the website also provides comprehensive information on VRS plans and benefits. Member News is published quarterly to update your employees on the latest news from VRS.

Your Turn to Ask

Q: If a retiree returns to work in one or more non-covered positions, how many hours is he or she allowed to work and still receive a retirement benefit?

In some cases, retirees can continue to receive their benefits if they work in a non-covered position for a VRS-participating employer. Non-covered positions do not provide eligibility for benefits. The position must be 80 percent or less of the hours required of a full‑time employee in the same or a comparable covered position. For employees working more than one part‑time position, the combined total for the positions cannot exceed 80 percent of one full-time position.

Other rules also apply for employees returning to work, see Retirees Returning to Work on the VRS website for a full list.

Have a question?

Email the Employer Support Team or contact your Employer Representative.

Important Email Notice: Do not send personal or confidential information, such as a Social Security number, by email. VRS will send only non-confidential replies.