Retirement Monitor - June 2022

In this issue: Timely and Accurate Employer Reporting; Local Government Employees' System Rates Effective 7/1/22; Penalty Timeframe Reminders; Employer Manuals Now Available; Applying for Retirement Reminders; Mars is Available in ORBIT!; We have Launched our New URL for the Supplemental Retirement Plans; Best Practices for Administering the Plans; Employer & Member Webinars; State Health Plan - Time to Prepare for Open Enrollment

Table of Contents

 

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

 

Timely and Accurate Employer Reporting

Employee 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. If the 5th falls on a weekend, contributions are due the following business day by 5 p.m. This schedule information is also located on our website.

Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System Rates Effective 7/1/22

LGERS employer contribution rates effective July 1, 2022, are posted to the Retirement Systems’ website: LGERS-Employer-Contribution-Rates-Eff-July-1-2022. Beginning this year, the rates are being posted publicly rather than mailing individual letters to every employer, to improve efficiency and transparency, and reduce costs. The table is ordered by five-digit employer code, but is also searchable (by employer name) within a browser, or by downloading the PDF and using “Edit”->”Find” in Adobe. The specific rate(s) paid by each employing unit will include the “base rate” from the table above, and other adjustments that are specific to the unit. Click here for TSERS, CJRS, LRS, ORP Contribution Rates.

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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 unless a one-time exception has been agreed upon in advance due to exigent circumstances.

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.

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Employer Manuals are now available at myNCRetirement.com

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We are in PEAK RETIREMENT SEASON, and we encourage all applicants to use Retirement Online and apply within 120 days of their selected retirement date. This will allow for timely processing of member applications.

The online application offers a step-by-step guide to move members through the process, integrated videos, examples and links available on screen at critical decision-making points and built-in pension rules that prevent delays in the processing of retirement applications.  

Members can access Retirement Online in their ORBIT account.

Retirement Online information for employers can be found here.

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MARS is available in ORBIT!

The 2022 MARS, which uses December 2021 data, is available in ORBIT.

MARS provides active members (with complete and accurate data) an estimate of their potential monthly retirement benefit based on service accrual and retirement contributions as of December 31 of the prior year.

MARS, available exclusively in ORBIT, focuses on the foundation of retirement for public servants in the state of North Carolina – the pension benefit. This statement provides members with a tool for obtaining the most accurate data and information about their potential retirement benefits. ​

More specifically, each eligible member will be able to view:

  • Personal information like address, phone, email.
  • Retirement Systems in which the member has been or is a member.
  • Principal beneficiaries.
  • Estimated potential retirement benefit from the North Carolina Retirement Systems.
  • Links to the NC Supplemental Plans (NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans) so members can enroll, increase savings and/or view statements for the plans in which they are a participant.
  • Link to mySocialSecurity so members can create an account and receive a real-time estimate from the Social Security Administration based on their work history and contributions.

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The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans now has a friendly URL.  myNCPlans.com will take you and your employees to the NC Supplemental Plans' website where new employees can enroll in the NC 401(k) and/or NC 457 Plans, and all participants can discover the tools and resources that will empower them to plan for their future in retirement. Participants nearing retirement can take important steps to stay in the NC Plans up to and through retirement to generate income from their savings. And employers can find important Plan Administration resources.

myNCPlans.com is easy to remember and easy to navigate. myNCPlans.com allows 24/7 access to participant accounts and to the Employer Sponsor Website.

Upcoming NC Supplemental Plans Employer Events

Upcoming NC Supplemental Plans Employee Events

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Best Practices for Administering the Plans

The Department of State Treasurer (Department) is here to help all employers administer the NC 401(k) Plan and/or NC 457 Plan (the Plans). The North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans (SRP) provides education, training, and oversight to assist employers with their day-to-day Plan administration and compliance.  

SRP also conducts a yearly audit of a sample of employers. The audit is part of the Department’s efforts to help employers remain compliant with plan documents and applicable law, assist with correcting administration errors, and offer suggestions for best practices.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when administering the Plans:

  • Deduct employee contributions for all of the pay periods each year. For example, when three payrolls in a bi-weekly payroll cycle fall in one month, be sure to deduct employee contributions for all three paychecks. Employers must deduct participant deferrals every pay period, whether pay is monthly, twice a month, or every two weeks.  
  • Regularly update participant contribution changes. Employers have access to participant contribution changes on the Plans’ Sponsor Center website and must check regularly to make sure they are updating their systems whenever participant contribution changes are made. To comply with the Plans, changes must be made promptly by employers. Checking the Sponsor Center website for contribution changes before every payroll would be a best practice.
  • Include accrued vacation payout in the compensation used for contributions. All eligible compensation sources must be included when calculating deferrals for retirement contributions, for all participants (including LEOs). This means employers must include and code accrued vacation payout as eligible compensation in their payroll systems. See the plan documents for the full definitions of compensation in the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans.

The Audit Corner on myNCPlans.com is a great resource to help employers maintain Plan compliance and find answers to common questions. Also, if you have specific questions about the administration of the NC 401(k) Plan and/or NC 457 Plan, please contact the NC Plans Service Team by calling 866NCPlans (866-627-5267), or by email at NCPlans@empower.com. We are happy to help!

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Virtual and on-demand training options help you understand employer roles, responsibilities and assist employees with retirement related matters.  Employer Training is available throughout the year.

There are ongoing retirement planning and information sessions are available for new members, mid-career and those nearing retirement. We encourage member participation so they can learn about their benefits and plan for their financial future.

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Prepare for Open Enrollment with Online HBR Training

Let us help you get ready for Open Enrollment! Next month, the State Health Plan is holding Open Enrollment trainings for HBRs. Open Enrollment trainings cover important information regarding 2023. This year, Open Enrollment will be held October 10-28, 2022. Reserve your spot to ensure you have the information you need to best serve your employees! Dates and times released soon.

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