Retirement Monitor - June 2021

In this issue: All in a Day's Work - CSI due date; Penalty Timeframe Reminders; Agency Level Security; MARS Now Available In ORBIT; Member Handbooks Released; Retirement Planning Conferences; Lunchtime Webinars; Community College Employees; Local Government Employees Retirement Planning Webinars; Teachers and State Employees Retirement Planning Webinars

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Table of Contents

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Graphic with the words "All in a Day's Work and the NC Total Retirement Plans logo

 

Graphic with a triangle and the text 5th at 5:00 in it and exclamation points around itEmployee and Employer contributions are due via the monthly Contribution Summary Instructions (CSI) by 5:00 p.m. on the 5th business day of the month along with the Monthly ORBIT payroll report. This schedule information is also located on our website.

 

 

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Pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes 128-30(g)(3) and 135-8(f)(3), Payments received after the fifth state government working day of the month are delinquent and will be assessed a penalty of 1% of the total contributions per month with a minimum penalty of $25.00.

You can find the scheduled due dates here:  Schedule for Submitting Contribution Summary Instructions

When it has been determined that the employee and employer contributions were transmitted after the above-stated deadline, a penalty invoice will be created. Payment for invoices are due 90 days from the penalty invoice date. The invoice is accessible through Orbit and payment of the invoice should be processed through the Contribution Summary Instruction (CSI) via Orbit.

The Retirement System may waive one penalty per employer every five years. if the employer has consistently demonstrated good-faith efforts to comply with the set deadline. The agency should request a penalty waiver, in writing, within 30 days of the penalty invoice date per DST Policy.

Form 703 COVID-19 Accommodation

Effective 6/1/21, employers are required to resume completion of the medical professional sections (Sections E, F and G) of Form 703 Reporting Earnings for Short-Term Disability Benefits and Medical Report for Eligibility Review. The information required for those sections had been temporarily waived due to the pandemic.  With restrictions lifted, however, this information is once again required effective 6/1/21.

Information Regarding TSERS Employer Contribution Rates for Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2021

For employee service rendered through June 30, 2021 (required to be submitted by early July 2021), the TSERS employer contribution rates are as specified in Section 1.(c) of S.L. 2020-41. These contributions rates totaled 21.68% of compensation for general employees, and 26.68% for law enforcement officers (LEOs). They included employer contributions toward retirement, retiree health, disability, and death benefits, as well as contributions to the N.C. 401(k) Plan for LEOs. They did not include the employee contribution of 6% of compensation.

For employee service rendered on or after July 1, 2021, the employer contribution rate will depend on the status of a Current Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 (“FY21-22 Budget”).

If the FY21-22 Budget becomes law by the time an employer is required to submit contributions, the employer contribution rates will be as specified in that law.

If the FY21-22 Budget has not become law by the time an employer is required to submit contributions, the contribution rates for that submission will remain at the same rates that were in effect on June 30, 2021. See G.S. 143C-5-4(b)(7).

If the FY21-22 Budget becomes law after July 1, 2021, and has a retroactive effective date of July 1, 2021, the Retirement Systems Division (RSD) will create retroactive rate adjustment invoices for any contributions that have already been submitted with respect to employee service rendered on or after July 1, 2021, where it is feasible to do so. Such invoices may be positive (requiring additional contributions) or negative (providing credits against future required contributions), depending on the contribution rates set in the FY21-22 Budget relative to the rates already paid.

For example, if an employer has already reported on employee service for July 2021 and paid retirement contributions of 14.78% of compensation (the retirement component of the 21.68% total contribution in effect as of June 30, 2021), and the FY21-22 Budget retroactively requires a contribution at the rate of 16.00% for retirement, RSD will create a retroactive rate adjustment invoice for the remaining 1.22% of the compensation that the employer had reported for that pay period. Any additional contributions required from a retroactive rate change will be due by the regular contribution deadline for the payroll period during which the invoice is issued.

Depending on the ultimate timing and details of the FY21-22 Budget, it may be necessary for RSD to implement retroactive changes through processes other than, or in addition to, issuing retroactive rate adjustment invoices. RSD will provide additional guidance to employers as needed.

House Bill 82 Signed into Law

“Summer Learning Choice for NC Families” (the “Summer Program”) was signed into law on April 9, 2021. The legislation requires local school administrative units (“LEAs”) to offer an extended learning and enrichment program following t the 2020-2021 school year, meeting certain requirements. The program may continue through October 1, 2021 for year-round schools.

  • Employees in the Summer Program must be employed under a temporary contract. During the time they are working in the Summer Program, they will not earn TSERS membership service, their compensation will not count as retirement-eligible, and they will not accrue paid leave. Also, participation in the Summer Program will not, by itself, entitle any worker to coverage under the State Health Plan as an active State employee.
  • If an LEA hires someone who is a TSERS retiree or beneficiary to work under the summer program, the LEA must certify that information to RSD. For any TSERS retiree that an LEA certifies to RSD has been hired to work in this program, who retired under TSERS effective December 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021 (including both of those two bookend dates), the six-month separation period, generally required under G.S. 135-1(20) for a retirement to become effective, will not be required. Instead, a one-month separation period will be required. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the six-month separation period will again apply to such retirees, but the time they worked under the summer program will not count toward violating the six-month separation period.
  • For example: If a TSERS employee retired March 1, 2021 and was hired to work under the Summer Program in June and July 2021, that would ordinarily be considered a violation of the six-month waiting period. However, if the individual has been certified to RSD as working under the Summer Program, he or she need only observe a one-month separation from State Government (i.e., the month of March). Accordingly, the individual’s work during June and July would not violate the six-month separation period, and the effective date of retirement would still be of March 1, 2021.

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Maintain Agency Level Information Security

Due to the nature of sensitive information handled at the N.C. Retirement Systems, it is highly recommended that all agencies participating and reporting through the ORBIT system do not share ORBIT User ID and Password. It is also highly recommended that CPA firms, Payroll Vendors, and other Third-Party Vendors should not be designated as the Agency Administrator SUPERUSER.

Each Agency should create one SUPERUSER. Only users with the role of SUPERUSER will have access to the Agency Administration function. The SUPERUSER is solely responsible for creating and administering additional user id/passwords for others to log into the ORBIT Employer Self-Service page on our website.

Additional users can be assigned with defining roles, such as Agency Administration, Employer Reporting and Human Resources. Each role has a restricted access and function.

Because ORBIT is a web-based program, it is also the responsibility of each employer to immediately remove a user when the employee leaves the agency; otherwise the departing employee will continue to have access to employer reporting information.

It is required that each agency send updates to add or remove Agency contact information with all the necessary authorization (Full Name, Title, Phone, Fax and email for each) in writing on Employer Letterhead (which can be faxed to 919-855-5801 or emailed to oer@nctreasurer.com) whenever staffing changes occur.

This requirement will be changing, be on the lookout for new forms available to you soon to update your Agency Contact.

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MARS (Member Annual Retirement Statement) is now available.

MARS is now available for active employees with accurate data and 12 months of consecutive contributing service as of December 31, 2020.

Active employees will be able to:

  • Verify correct address, phone, and email documented with the NC Retirement Systems. An address correction requires active employees to update this information with their employer.
     
  • View potential monthly retirement pension benefit for each system in which the employee is a member. This information is based on data ending December 31.
     
  • View beneficiaries on file for the NC pension return of contributions and Death Benefit. This information will update in real-time as of the date the member views MARS.
     
  • Find out more about the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans (NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan and NC 403(b) Program). Links are provided to help members easily access their account to see up-to-date information on account balances and use the Retirement Income Calculator (RIC) to estimate their potential retirement income as a participant in the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans. We have made it easy for your employees to participate with the Plan Enroll/Info webpage (https://ncplans.retirepru.com/enrollment.html) in the plans that you offer.

Access and create an account with mySocialSecurity where your employees can generate an accurate estimate of their potential Social Security income in retirement.

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Member Handbooks Released

The 2021 Retirement Systems Benefit Handbooks are now available online.  (https://www.myncretirement.com/retirees/benefits/member-handbooks)

These provide members with information about their retirement benefits, including:

  • Membership
  • Qualifying for Benefits
  • How Benefits are Calculated
  • Benefit Payment Options
  • NC Supplemental Retirement Plans
  • Initiating Retirement Benefits
  • Income Tax & Health Coverage
  • Returning to Work after Retirement
  • Disability Benefits
  • Death Benefits
  • Administration & Resources

 

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Banner with "Retirement Planning Conferences" and NC Total Retirement Plans logo. Also has people sitting on both sides of a podium as if waiting for a presenter.

If you are interested in hosting or participating in virtual conference for your employees, please contact Doug Mayer to schedule (doug.mayer@nctreasurer.com).

We also host a series of events exclusively for employers that help you navigate employer rules and responsibilities. Click here to download the pdf.

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Every Wednesday through July 28 at 11:30am

Take an hour for lunch and watch the Teachers' and State and Local Governmental Employees’ Total Retirement Planning Conference at 11:30am. The program is 60-minutes and will explore the resources available to help you plan for retirement.  Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/136402527832935696.

 

Header graphic with the NC Total Retirement Plans logo, and the words "TSERS Retiremetn Planning Webinar for Community College Employees" on it. Also shows a computer with a person on it to represent attending a webinar.

 

Every Wednesday through June 30 at 1:00pm

This interactive online web conference will provide Teachers and State Employee members who serve in North Carolina Community Colleges with the tools to successfully navigate the Road to Retirement Readiness, while also providing an orientation for new members, pre-retirement planning information for members closer to retirement, and educational information for personnel officers and others who handle retirement matters.  Registration Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/5458425834120099339.

 

Header border with the words "LGERS Retirement Planning Webinar"on it, and the NC Total Retirement Plans logo. Also has a graphic representation showing two people on computer screens as if they're attending a webinar.

 

Mondays and Thursdays through June 30, 9:30am and 1:30pm times available

The Department of State Treasurer is hosting a Total Retirement Planning Conference for Local Governmental Employees. The program is 90-minutes long and will highlight Retirement Readiness and explore the resources available to help you plan for retirement. Dates and times vary, click here to register for the event(s) that fits your schedule: https://www.myncretirement.com/event-calendar.

 

Graphic header with the NC Total Retirement Plans logo and the words "TSERS Retirement Planning Webinar" on it. Also a graphic representation of people on a zoom call, showing four participants on a computer screen.

 

Mondays and Thursdays through June 30, 9:30am and 1:30pm times available

The Department of State Treasurer is hosting a Total Retirement Planning Conference for Teachers and State Employees. The program is 90-minutes long and will highlight Retirement Readiness and explore the resources available to help you plan for retirement. Dates and times vary, click here to register for the event(s) that fits your schedule: https://www.myncretirement.com/event-calendar.

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