Retirement Monitor - September 2021

In this issue: All in a Day's Work; Paying Bonuses to LGERS Employees to Encourage Vaccination; Has your agency had changes to your banking?; Local Government 1,000 Hour Rule Reminder; Employer Requirements for Return-to-Work; NC Supplemental Plans Eligibility for Part-time Employees; Oct. is National Retirement Security Month; State Health Plan Open Enrollment Dates; Supplemental Benefits Open Enrollment for Retirees Now

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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Paying Bonuses or Incentives to LGERS Employees to Encourage Vaccination

The State and Local Government Finance Division put out some information on handling bonuses and incentives to employees to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. Here are two key points:

  • Are these incentives taxable to employees? We believe they are and should be paid through payroll so that they are subject to the appropriate withholdings and reporting. We are watching for clarification from the IRS on this issue.
     
  • Are these incentives reportable to LGERS? We believe they are not, as they do not represent compensation that is earned in exchange for service as an employee. In addition, if the incentives are not compensation for LGERS, then they will not be compensation for contributions to the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans.

Read more here: NC Treasurer: Paying Bonuses or Incentives to Employees to Encourage Vaccination

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Has Your Agency had Changes to Your Banking?

The new Form 717 will ensure security, efficiency, and consistency for Agency Banking changes by collecting the same information from each Agency on an easy-to-complete notarized form. Upon receipt, the form will be processed and will result in an acknowledgement letter to confirm the changes to the Agency.  The new Form 717-Employer Bank Change Request Form is now available.

Please note that this form requires a notary signature and should be completed by an official agency contact on record with the NC Retirement Systems.

Automating the Payroll Reporting Process

We will no longer include screenshots of errors on payroll rejection reports. These will go out 'as is' beginning with the September 2021 payroll report.

Please share this information with your payroll vendor or IT Department as the employer will be responsible for:

  • finding errors,
  • correcting reports, and
  • resubmitting reports.

This is to prepare employers for the automation of this process.​

 

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Local Government 1,000 Hour Rule Reminder

North Carolina Retirement Systems law requires an employee to become a contributing member of the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS), if the employee is employed by a participating LGERS employer in a regular position that requires at least 1,000 hours of work in a calendar year. The employee will not be a contributing member of LGERS if his or her work is considered “temporary employment,” meaning employment for a limited term which does not exceed 12 consecutive months on a non-recurring basis for an LGERS employer, or “statutorily required interim employment,” meaning employment as an interim city or county manager for a period that does not exceed 12 months on a non-recurring basis.

To determine if an employee is required to be an LGERS member and if contributions must be submitted to LGERS on his or her behalf, examine the requirements of the position. The hours required of the position determine membership in LGERS, not the actual number of hours an LGERS employee works in a calendar year.

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Employer Requirements for Return-to-Work

Effective in 2009, the General Assembly authorized House Bill 642, requiring employers to report all rehired retirees to the Retirement System each month. To assist employers in reporting all rehired retirees and therefore avoiding penalties, the Retirement System offers an online user-friendly procedure to certify employee status under the retirement reemployment laws. To use this tool, you should:

  1. Access the ORBIT Employer Self-Service page.
  2. Under “Reporting” click “Check Retired Status.”
  3. Here you are able to upload a list of employee social security numbers which will be run against the Retirement System retiree list to generate a report of members who are actively receiving a benefit from TSERS or LGERS.

Important Points to Remember:

  • Rehired retirees should be reported in ORBIT monthly.
  • Reports should include the appropriate pay period, pay type, plan code and all other applicable fields.
  • Reports must be received by the Retirement System within 90 days of the end of each month in which a beneficiary is reemployed, otherwise the Retirement System is required to assess a 10% penalty of the compensation of the unreported reemployed retirees during the months the employer did not report the reemployed retirees, with a minimum penalty of $25.

The Retirement Systems appreciate your important role in helping us provide accurate information to active members and retirees.

 

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NC Supplemental Retirement Plans (NC 401(k) Plan, NC 457 Plan and NC 403(b) Program) Eligibility for Part-Time Employees

The SECURE Act, which was enacted in December 2019, expanded 401(k) plan eligibility for part-time workers. Part-time employees who work at least 500 hours per year for three consecutive years, starting on January 1, 2021, are eligible to participate in the NC 401(k) Plans. While the earliest that a part-time employee could begin participating in the NC 401(k) Plan is January 1, 2024, participating employers in the NC 401(k) Plan must begin tracking the hours of their part-time employees – and retaining records of those hours for at least three years – beginning January 1, 2021. We will provide additional information on the implementation of this new eligibility requirement, but for now, employers should begin tracking part-time hours if they are not doing so already. 

 

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Each year National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc. (NAGDCA) works with members of Congress to sponsor National Retirement Security Month (NRSM), a dedicated time to focus on improving employee retirement outcomes. Throughout the month, the Retirement Systems will run campaigns and host events to engage with participants and drive positive results. Follow us on Facebook and join us each week a s we focus on saving for retirement.

Week 1: Start Early, Save Often (SESO)
Learn what you can do in your early career to save for retirement.

Week 2:  Fresh Look on Savings and Security (FLOSS)
Mid-career is a great time to take a fresh look at your current retirement savings and assess if you will be secure in your retirement.

Week 3:  Planning Transition (PT)
Learn what you can do when you are in the late-career phase and planning transition into retirement. The third week of October is also National Retirement Security Week.

Week 4: It’s Here. It’s Happening!
It’s a celebration of our NC Retirees.

 

Join us throughout the month of October for special webinars, events and more! Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our Retirement…It’s in Your Future campaign.

Upcoming Events | My NC Retirement

And other events highlighted on our Facebook page – including: NC Plans en Espanol, Roadmap to Retirement, Social Security Lunch and Learn, Planning Retirement Conferences and more.

 

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Attention State Health Plan Agencies:

Coming Soon! 2022 Open Enrollment is October 11-29, 2021. View your 2022 Open Enrollment  information now!

 

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🦷👓👂 Supplemental Benefits Open Enrollment for Vision, Dental, and Identity Theft Protection provided through Pierce Insurance is now available and closes on October 29, 2021. (NOTE: this is different than the open enrollment period for the State Health Plan, which runs October 11 - 29.) For more information and to register for information webinars, visit https://ncretiree.com/ 🦷👓👂

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