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Military Leave Benefits

State statute and labor agreements generally provide 30 work days of leave without loss of pay each calendar year for military service. In addition, 2003 Wisconsin Act 162 (§230.32 Wis. Stats.), effective March 31, 2004, provides for new military leave benefits. Furthermore, Governor Doyle signed Executive Order #156, which extends the military leave and pay benefits provided by statute, labor agreement and Executive Order #50 for an additional two years. With this extension, employees called up for eligible military service on or after January 1, 2003 may receive pay and benefits, pursuant to s. 230.315, Wis. Stats., for a period of four years.

These new military leave benefits are outlined in Office of State Employment Relations Bulletins:

The Military Resources page lists additional sources of information.

During a paid military leave of absence, deductions for coverage will continue unless you let coverage lapse. If you do let coverage lapse, you have the option to reapply for your benefit plan within 30 days of returning to work (RTW).

If you choose to continue your coverage for the duration of your military leave of absence, you will need to arrange for personal payment of employee contributions for the coverage. See your staff benefits office for details.

For information on prepaying premiums, determining your eligibility, or for obtaining forms and instructions for continuing coverage, contact your staff benefits office.

  1. If possible, contact your staff benefits office immediately on receiving your orders to make arrangements for insurance prepayments and obtain a prepayment form (UW1110).
  2. Determine which plans you wish to continue.
  3. Submit the appropriate payment to your staff benefits office. Premium payments are due on or before the first of the payroll month for which premiums are being paid.
  4. Consider updating beneficiary designation forms for plans that offer survivor benefits.

Important: During Military Leave, State Group Health Insurance coverage may be continued indefinitely; see the State Group Health Insurance section below. You may continue coverage for all other plans for up to 36 months by prepaying your share of the premiums.

Upon return to work (i.e., active pay status) from military leave, WRS contributions immediately resume. You may reenroll in any benefit plan that you let lapse, at the level of coverage you had prior to the leave of absence (LOA), by applying within 30 days of return to work (RTW). University Insurance Association (UIA) reenrollment is automatic for unclassified employees.

Eligibility by Appointment Type

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Eligibility for military leave benefits ends when the employment contract ends unless the employee would have received another consecutive appointment if not on active military duty.  If there is an established pattern of consecutive terminal appointments, the employer should make a reasonable determination of whether the employee would have received another consecutive terminal appointment if he or she were not on active duty and, if possible, renew the appointments prior to the beginning of the military leave.  

In cases where the intent is not to renew the appointment in absence of the military duty, incumbents should be notified prior to reporting for active duty.  If the incumbent has a back-up appointment, he or she should be placed in the backup appointment prior to military leave, if possible.

Appointment Type

Eligible for 30-days of military leave with no loss of pay?

Eligible for duration of deployment, up to 2 years with no loss of pay or benefits?

Classified Permanent Represented

Yes

Subject to collective bargaining agreement.
Currently, applies to all eligible represented employees.

Class Permanent Non-represented

Yes

Yes

Classified Permanent (rep or non-rep) during probation

No

Yes

(Statute does not require the employee to be permanent)

Classified Project (w/o permanent status)

No

Yes

Classified Project w/ Permanent Status

Yes

Yes

Limited (e.g., Chancellors, deans, directors)

Yes

Yes

Faculty

Yes

Yes

Academic Staff w/ renewable appt.

Yes

Yes

Academic Staff – terminal appt

No

Yes

Teaching Assistant/PA (under TAA)

No

No

MGAA

No

Yes

Limited Term Employee

No

No

Non-represented Graduate Ass’t

No

Yes

Student hourly

No

No

Research Assistant

No

No

Employees in Training (employees) w/ renewable appt.

No

Yes

Employees in Training (employees) w/ terminal appt.

No

No

Employees in Training (not employees)

No

No

Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)

While receiving the four-year supplemental pay benefit, you continue to earn WRS service.

You will receive WRS service credit while on military leave of absence if:

  • You notify your employer that you are going on military leave; and
  • Upon your return you provide a copy of your military leave and earnings statement showing the dates of entry and discharge; and
  • You leave the military under honorable conditions; and
  • You return to work for the UW System.

You may make voluntary additional after-tax or pre-tax contributions to your WRS account after you return to work.

University Pay

Under the 30 work-day military leave benefit, you are eligible to receive your base university pay minus your base military pay. Under the two-year benefit, you are eligible for the difference between your base University pay (including pay supplements) and your base military pay and housing allowance.

State Group Health Insurance

Premiums are paid two calendar months in advance. For example, the premium deduction from September’s earnings is for November coverage.

  • You can continue coverage indefinitely with the University contribution toward the premium (§40.25 (6) (b) 2, Wis. Stats) while on active duty by filing an election form (ET-2350). Your portion of the monthly premium payment may be paid in advance or deducted from any differential state pay.
  • You can continue coverage for the remainder of the leave if you are NOT on active duty by personal payment of the full monthly premium through the UW System.
  • Generally health insurance is provided to members on active duty and their eligible dependents through a military-sponsored plan.
  • State Group Health plans exclude treatment, services and supplies for any injury or illness as the result of war, declared or undeclared, enemy action or action of the Armed Forces of the United States, or any State of the United States or its Allies, or while serving in the Armed Forces of any country.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of return to work. If a dual-Choice enrollment occurred while on LOA, you may change plans within 30 days of RTW.

Important: If you allow your family coverage to lapse while on leave of absence and you die, your surviving dependents will not have access to your sick leave credits to pay health insurance premiums.

Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)

ICI premiums are paid for the current month of coverage. For example, the premium deduction from September earnings is for September coverage. If you begin a military leave of absence on September 15, your ICI coverage is paid through September 30.

  • University contributions will continue for three additional months after the month the LOA begins or for the duration of active duty if you so choose. You will need to prepay any employee share of the premium.You can continue coverage, with any applicable university contribution, while eligible for the two-year military leave benefit and for a total of three years (36 months).
  • Your ICI coverage remains at the same level as that in effect immediately before your leave began.
  • No conversion coverage is available.
  • If you let coverage lapse you may re-enroll within 30 days of RTW.
  • If you are eligible to enroll through a deferred enrollment opportunity while on military leave, you may enroll within 30 days of RTW.

Benefit payments are not available for disability which is a direct result of war, declared or undeclared.

State Group Life Insureane (SGL)

  • Premiums are paid two calendar months in advance.
  • The state contribution will continue as long as the coverage remains in force.
  • You may continue group coverage for 36 months by pre-paying the monthly premiums. Coverage, including any applicable Spouse and Dependent coverage, will continue at the level in effect immediately before your military leave.
  • Conversion coverage is available after 36 months of prepayments. You must apply within 62 days after the pre-paid coverage ends. Forms are available from your staff benefits office or the Department of Employee Trust Funds at (608) 266-3285 or toll-free 877-533-5020.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of RTW. Coverage, including any applicable Spouse and Dependent coverage, will continue at the level in effect immediately before your military leave.

The regular life insurance benefit IS payable for losses due to military action. If you are injured or suffer loss of life in a military conflict the Accidental Death & Dismemberment benefit is not payable.

University Insurance Association (UIA) Life Insurance (Faculty, academic staff and limited appointees only)

  • Coverage continues during an authorized leave of absence UNLESS you are off the payroll when the UIA premium is normally deducted in October or March.
  • If you are off payroll when the premium is deducted, you must pay the annual premium directly to Minnesota Life Insurance Company NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 19 EACH YEAR to prevent a lapse in coverage. Minnesota Life Insurance Company will not issue annual renewal notices until after the initial premium to continue coverage is received.
  • Coverage ends on September 30 of the plan year for which the annual premium was paid. For example, if you had the annual premium deducted from your November paycheck (October earnings), your coverage would end on September 30 of the following year.
  • You are automatically enrolled on your return to work.

A benefit IS payable for losses due to military action.

Individual and Family Group Life Insurance

  • Premiums are paid one calendar month in advance.
  • You may continue coverage for 36 months by paying premiums in advance to the UW System.
  • Conversion coverage is available after 36 months of prepayments. Contact Minnesota Life Insurance Company not later than 31 days after prepayment coverage ends.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of your RTW. Coverage will be at the level of coverage in effect immediately before your military leave.

A benefit IS payable for losses due to military action.

UW Employee’s Inc., Group Life Insurance

  • Premiums are paid one calendar month in advance.
  • You may continue coverage for 36 months by paying premiums in advance to the UW System.
  • Conversion coverage is available after 36 months of prepayments if application is made and premium paid within 31 days of coverage ending. Contact Country Life at 800-345-2436 for conversion information.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of your RTW. Coverage will be at the level of coverage in effect immediately before your military leave.

A Benefit IS payable for losses due to military action.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)

  • Premiums are paid one calendar month in advance.
  • You may continue coverage for 36 months by paying premiums in advance to the UW System.
  • Conversion coverage is available after 36 months of prepayments. Contact Zurich-American Insurance Company 1 (800) 834-1959 not later than 30 days after prepayment coverage ends.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll when you return to work.

Benefits are NOT payable for losses due to military action

EPIC Dental and Excess Major Medical Insurance

  • Premiums are paid one calendar month in advance.
  • Coverage may be continued for 36 months by paying the premium in advance to the UW System.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of your RTW.

Benefits, including AD&D, are NOT payable for losses due to military action.

DentaCare Dental Insurance

  • Premiums are paid two calendar months in advance.
  • Coverage may be continued for 36 months by pre-paying the monthly premium to the UW System. No conversion coverage is available.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of your RTW.

Benefits are NOT payable for services resulting from disease or injuries related to war or while serving in the armed services. You and your dependents may be eligible for dental benefits through a military-sponsored plan.

Other Dental Insurance — Offered to represented classified employees through their Union

  • Premiums are paid one calendar month in advance.
  • Coverage may be continued for 36 months by pre-paying the premium to the UW System.
  • Contact your bargaining unit for conversion option information.
  • If you let coverage lapse, you may re-enroll within 30 days of your RTW.

Benefits are NOT payable for services resulting from disease or injuries related to war or while serving in the armed services. You and your dependents may be eligible for dental benefits through a military-sponsored plan.

Employee Reimbursement Accounts (ERA)

Medical Account:
You may continue coverage for some or all of the current plan year while on unpaid leave of absence by pre-paying contributions if you have not satisfied the annual amount you elected to contribute.

You may also reduce your annual election by filing a Change in Status Form. Under IRS regulations, you cannot change your election to an amount that is less than you've already contributed when the leave of absence begins.

To continue participation you can:

  • Arrange to have multiple deductions taken from your last payroll check on a pre-tax basis. See your staff benefits office; or
  • Make after-tax payments directly to your staff benefits office; or
  • Complete a Change in Status form changing your plan year amount to the year-to-date amount you have already had deducted from your earnings.
  • Costs incurred after the end of the pay period following the last pay period during the plan year in which you made a contribution will not be reimbursed.
  • If you missed an ERA enrollment period while on military leave, you may enroll for that calendar year within 30 days of RTW.

Dependent Care Account:

  • Your contributions end when you go on unpaid LOA.
  • You can continue to request reimbursement for eligible expenses during the plan year until the account is exhausted.
  • If you missed an ERA enrollment period while on military leave, you may enroll for that calendar year within 30 days of RTW.

For information on Employee Reimbursement Accounts (ERA), contact the local representative for Fringe Benefits Management Company at (608) 829-0435 or Fringe Benefits Management 800-872-0345.

Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program (TSA) and Deferred Compensation Plan (DC)

Contributions end with your last paycheck. Check with your staff benefits office when you return to work to resume contributions.

Leave Benefits

  • You continue to accumulate vacation, sick leave, and personal holidays during the four-year military leave provision.
  • Sick leave balances are retained, except as used during the LOA.
  • You may carry over unused accumulated vacation leave and personal holidays for up to two years after being credited for the leave upon your RTW.
  • After military leave under the four-year benefit, you may use up to 160 hours of leave in the first thirty days after discharge from military duty.
  • You may then take paid or unpaid leave for the remainder of the 180-day period immediately following discharge from the military.

Seniority

You retain your original date of seniority during a leave of absence.

Additional Resources on Military Leave

 

 

 

Some of this information was taken from the University of Wisconsin System - Human Resources and Workforce Diversity Office.