Chapter 12: Resources

Contact information

DRS general contact information

360.664.7000
800.547.6657
711 for the Washington Relay service

Accounts receivable

360.664.7864
800.547.6657, option 6, option 1
711 for the Washington Relay service
drs.ar@drs.wa.gov

Deferred Compensation Program

888.327.5596, option 1
711 for the Washington Relay
dcpinfo@drs.wa.gov

Employer Support Services (ESS)

360.664.7200, option 2
800.547.6657, option 6, then option 2
711 for the Washington Relay service
drs.employersupport@drs.wa.gov

Insurance (Health Care Authority)

800.200.1004
711 for the Washington Relay service

Member retirement planning seminars and workshops

for employer workshops see Employer Support Services

360.664.7300
888.711.6676
drs.register@drs.wa.gov

Fax

Accounts Receivable
360.664.7400

Deferred Compensation Program
360.664.7995

Employer Support Services (ESS)
360.753.1090

Retirement Services Division (RSD)

LEOFF, PSERS – 360.664.7975
PERS, SERS – 360.664.7336
TRS – 360.753.3429

Forms

Mailing address for completed forms

Mail all completed forms (unless otherwise noted) to the address shown below:

Department of Retirement Systems
PO Box 48380
Olympia WA 98504-8380

To order forms

For bulk quantities of forms, please email DRS. Or call the DRS forms line at 360-664-7066, or 800-547-6657, extension 47066.

If you have questions about a form, please contact ESS.

Links to retirement tables and charts

Transmittal information

Reportable compensation tables

Reportable work hours calendars

2022 Reportable work hours calendar

2022 Reportable work hours calendar

Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan211681471261058463
Feb201601401201008060
Mar231841611381159269
Apr211681471261058463
May221761541321108866
Jun221761541321108866
Jul211681471261058463
Aug231841611381159269
Sep221761541321108866
Oct211681471261058463
Nov221761541321108866
Dec221761541321108866

2021 Reportable work hours calendar

2021 Reportable work hours calendar

Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan211681471261058463
Feb201601401201008060
Mar231841611381159269
Apr221761541321108866
May211681471261058463
Jun221761541321108866
Jul221761541321108866
Aug221761541321108866
Sep221761541321108866
Oct211681471261058463
Nov221761541321108866
Dec231841611381159269

2020 Reportable work hours calendar

2020 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb201601401201008060
Mar221761541321108866
Apr221761541321108866
May211681471261058463
Jun221761541321108866
Jul231841611381159269
Aug211681471261058463
Sep221761541321108866
Oct221761541321108866
Nov211681471261058463
Dec231841611381159269

2019 Reportable work hours calendar

2019 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb201601401201008060
Mar211681471261058463
Apr221761541321108866
May231841611381159269
Jun201601401201008060
Jul231841611381159269
Aug221761541321108866
Sep211681471261058463
Oct231841611381159269
Nov211681471261058463
Dec221761541321108866

2018 Reportable work hours calendar

2018 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan23184161138 115 92 69
Feb20160140120 100 80 60
Mar22176154132 110 88 66
Apr21168147126 105 84 63
May23184161138 115 92 69
Jun21168147126 105 84 63
Jul22176154132 110 88 66
Aug23184161138 115 92 69
Sep20160140120 100 80 60
Oct23184161138 115 92 69
Nov22176154132 110 88 66
Dec21168147126 105 84 63

2017 Reportable work hours calendar

2017 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan22176 154 132 110 88 66
Feb20160 140 120 100 80 60
Mar23184 161 138 115 92 69
Apr20160 140 120 100 80 60
May23184 161 138 115 92 69
Jun22176 154 132 110 88 66
Jul21168 147 126 105 84 63
Aug23184 161 138 115 92 69
Sep21168 147 126 105 84 63
Oct22176 154 132 110 88 66
Nov22176 154 132 110 88 66
Dec21168 147 126 105 84 63

2016 Reportable work hours calendar

2016 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan21168 147 126 105 84 63
Feb21168 147 126 105 84 63
Mar23184 161 138 115 92 69
Apr21168 147 126 105 84 63
May22176154 132 110 88 66
Jun22176154 132 110 88 66
Jul21168 147 126 105 84 63
Aug23184161 138 115 92 69
Sep22176154 132 110 88 66
Oct21168 147 126 105 84 63
Nov22176154 132 110 88 66
Dec22176154 132 110 88 66

2015 Reportable work hours calendar

2015 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan221761541321108866
Feb201601401201008060
Mar221761541321108866
Apr221761541321108866
May211681471261058463
Jun221761541321108866
Jul231841611381159269
Aug211681471261058463
Sep221761541321108866
Oct221761541321108866
Nov211681471261058463
Dec231841611381159269

2014 Reportable work hours calendar

2014 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb201601401201008060
Mar211681471261058463
Apr221761541321108866
May221761541321108866
Jun211681471261058463
Jul231841611381159269
Aug211681471261058463
Sep221761541321108866
Oct231841611381159269
Nov201601401201008060
Dec231841611381159269

2013 Reportable work hours calendar

2013 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb201601401201008060
Mar211681471261058463
Apr221761541321108866
May231841611381159269
Jun201601401201008060
Jul231841611381159269
Aug221761541321108866
Sep211681471261058463
Oct231841611381159269
Nov211681471261058463
Dec221761541321108866

2012 Reportable work hours calendar

2012 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan221761541321108866
Feb211681471261058463
Mar221761541321108866
Apr211681471261058463
May231841611381159269
Jun211681471261058463
Jul221761541321108866
Aug231841611381159269
Sep201601401201008060
Oct231841611381159269
Nov221761541321108866
Dec211681471261058463

2011 Reportable work hours calendar

2011 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan211681471261058463
Feb201601401201008060
Mar231841611381159269
Apr211681471261058463
May221761541321108866
Jun221761541321108866
Jul211681471261058463
Aug231841611381159269
Sep221761541321108866
Oct211681471261058463
Nov221761541321108866
Dec221761541321108866

2010 Reportable work hours calendar

2010 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan211681471261058463
Feb201601401201008060
Mar231841611381159269
Apr221761541321108866
May211681471261058463
Jun221761541321108866
Jul221761541321108866
Aug221761541321108866
Sep221761541321108866
Oct211681471261058463
Nov221761541321108866
Dec231841611381159269

2009 Reportable work hours calendar

2009 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan221761541321108866
Feb201601401201008060
Mar221761541321108866
Apr221761541321108866
May211681471261058463
Jun221761541321108866
Jul231841611381159269
Aug211681471261058463
Sep221761541321108866
Oct221761541321108866
Nov211681471261058463
Dec231841611381159269

2008 Reportable work hours calendar

2008 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb211681471261058463
Mar211681471261058463
Apr221761541321108866
May221761541321108866
Jun211681471261058463
Jul231841611381159269
Aug211681471261058463
Sep221761541321108866
Oct231841611381159269
Nov201601401201008060
Dec231841611381159269

2007 Reportable work hours calendar

2007 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan231841611381159269
Feb201601401201008060
Mar221761541321108866
Apr211681471261058463
May231841611381159269
Jun211681471261058463
Jul221761541321108866
Aug231841611381159269
Sep201601401201008060
Oct231841611381159269
Nov221761541321108866
Dec211681471261058463

2006 Reportable work hours calendar

2006 Reportable work hours calendar

  Hours in month
Business work days in month8-hr workday7-hr workday6-hr workday5-hr workday4-hr workday3-hr workday
Jan221761541321108866
Feb201601401201008060
Mar231841611381159269
Apr201601401201008060
May231841611381159269
Jun221761541321108866
Jul211681471261058463
Aug231841611381159269
Sep211681471261058463
Oct221761541321108866
Nov221761541321108866
Dec211681471261058463

Reporting charts for choosing the correct plan

  • Member History Chart: For individuals hired into an eligible position. This chart is not for reporting retirees. See below for retiree information.
  • Retiree Returning to Work Reporting Charts: Reporting information for retirees hired into eligible, ineligible or educational substitute positions.
  • Substitute Reporting Chart: Reporting information for individuals hired into eligible, ineligible and substitute school district, charter school and ESD positions. This chart is not for reporting retirees. See above for retiree information.

Service credit rules

Status code charts

Type codes by system

DRS communications

Billing questions

Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

Compliance

Miscellaneous

Employer frequently asked questions

Employers are encouraged to submit questions not answered here to Employer Support Services. For more information, refer to the DRS Employer Handbook.

General information

How are retirement contribution rates determined?

  • Contribution rates are established by a process mandated in RCW 41.45, Actuarial Funding of the State Retirement Systems. In a few plans, rates are a specific percent of salary prescribed in statute. In the majority of plans, rates are the product of a funding formula.

How do I contact Employer Support Services (ESS) with retirement questions?

How are retirement laws decided?

  • Unlike many other states, the governance and administration of Washington’s public pensions is shared among several entities. Learn more.

Is there training available for new payroll or human resource personnel?

  • Yes. See training for what’s currently available.

According to the IRS, what type of retirement plan does DRS administer?

  • PERS, SERS, TRS, LEOFF, PSERS, WSPRS and JRS are 401(a) retirement plans. This means an employee who works in a retirement-eligible position is required to contribute. In addition, DRS administers a 457 voluntary deferred compensation plan.

Transmittals and reporting

How do I report compensatory time?

  • Use status code A. Report the actual number of hours used, not time and a half. Report compensatory time when it is used. But if it is cashed out, report the time as earned.

My edit message said that an employee’s data rejected because I was reporting earnings past the end date. How do I fix this?

  • Check to see if you reported the wrong earn period. If so, report the rejected data into the correct earn period.

Did you send us the wrong end date?

  • A wrong end date can’t be changed through the transmittal process. You must contact Employer Support Services to have the end date changed or deleted.

How do I decide if an employee is working in an eligible position?

We hired an employee into an ineligible position in January. On June 15, 2021, the position changed to an eligible position. How do I report this?

  • Report a begin date using the day the position became eligible. In this case, it would be June 15, 2021. Report all compensation earned for the entire month. We recommend using the Position Eligibility Worksheet to document your decision.

What is the criteria for an independent contractor?

Do I report L&I payments when a member is on a temporary duty disability?

  • No. Whether workers’ compensation payments come from L&I or from a self-insured employer, the payments are not for services rendered and are not reportable.

I have an employee who used sick leave while on a temporary duty disability, and I reported it to DRS. Now the employee is buying the sick leave back with L&I payments. What should I do?

  • Since the leave is being re-instated (as if it was not used), you need to reverse any compensation, contributions and hours that were reported to DRS as paid time off.

How do I report overtime for an employee?

  • Use status code A. Report the actual number of hours used, not time and a half.

I got an edit message that said the data was “rejected.” What do I need to do?

Verify why the data was rejected. Rejected data means the information was not added or subtracted from the member’s account. You’ll need to report the rejected data again if it’s supposed to be recorded in the member’s account; but if the rejected information was reported in error, don’t report it again.

We terminated a PERS employee for not performing job duties. A legal determination requires that we reinstate the employee and “restore all lost wages, seniority and benefits.” Is this reportable?

  • That depends. DRS recommends that you have us review the agreement between the employee and the employer to determine if any or all of the reinstatement payment is reportable. Contact Employer Support Services if you have questions.

How can I report more data for a separated employee when DRS already has an end date?

  • Be sure you’re reporting data for an EARN period occurring between the begin date and end dates you reported for the employee.

I transmitted an incorrect Social Security number (SSN). How do I correct it?

  • Call Employer Support Services at 360-664-7200, option 2. We’ll need the member’s name, your report group number, the incorrect SSN, the correct SSN and the member’s date of birth. It will take us approximately two weeks to verify the correct number through the Social Security Administration.
  • In the meantime, start using the correct SSN number on your next transmittal. When you transmit the new SSN, you’ll also need to transmit the member profile record and the begin date. (The begin date should be the same as the begin date reported under the old SSN.) From this point forward, you’ll need to report compensation, contributions and hours under the new number. DRS will transfer all account information to the correct SSN once verification is received from the Social Security Administration. We’ll notify you if there are any problems with the new SSN.

How do I determine which plan to report an employee in?

  • Use the Member Management process in ERA to determine the past membership history of the employee and the correct plan to enroll the employee in.

I reported the wrong begin date to DRS. Can I change an incorrect end date through the transmittal?

I reported the wrong end date. Can I change an incorrect end date through the transmittal?

Compliance reviews

Why were we chosen to participate in a compliance review?

  • Review selections are based on a risk-based assessment of an employer’s responses to the initial compliance survey and requested documentation, as well as geographical location and time since last audit or review.

How long will a compliance review take?

  • It depends on factors such as the number of employees and the number of retirement plans, the response time of employers to submit requested documentation and the number of compliance issues found during the review.

What information do I need?

  • Documents reviewed include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Compliance survey
    • Employer-generated spreadsheet to include employees, Social Security numbers, job titles and gross earnings
    • Tax reports such as W2s and 1099s
    • Payroll registers and timesheets for current employees and recent retirees
    • Bargaining agreements and personnel policies
    • Employment contracts, personal service contracts, etc.

Is there a secure method for submitting my documentation?

  • Yes. You will have access to secure file transfer during the course of the review. Please do not email personal information such as Social Security numbers.

Plan 3

We have a new hire who is a Plan 3 member changing employers. What do I report for this person?

  • Report everything except member contributions. Don’t take member contributions until you receive the signed Member Information Form (MIF) with the member’s selection of rate option and investment program. The member has up to 90 calendar days to make these selections or you will default the member to Rate Option A and SELF.

How do I report a correction for a Plan 3 member that occurred while they were a Plan 2 member?

  • Generally, once a member is enrolled in Plan 3, all information must be reported in Plan 3.

Will a Plan 3 member who fails to make a plan selection within 90 calendar days automatically default?

  • No. You must transmit the default information to DRS. Some employers have set up their payroll systems to automatically generate the default information.

An employee chose PERS Plan 3, and I sent the Member Information Form (MIF) to DRS. Why is the member still in Plan 2?

  • To complete the process, you must transmit the plan choice using the plan choice record. Your transmittal moves the member from Plan 2 to Plan 3. The MIF is imaged and kept by DRS to document the member’s decision.

We hired an employee in a PERS-eligible position who is a new member with a plan choice. How do I report this person?

  • Report the member’s demographic information, a begin date, compensation, hours, member contributions and employer contributions at the Plan 2 rate until you receive the Member Information Form (MIF). The member has up to 90 calendar days to provide the MIF, or default to PERS Plan 3, Rate Option A and SELF.

What if an employee was reported in PERS Plan 3 in error?

Retiree return to work

How do I report an address change for retirees who return to work?

  • You can’t report an address change for retirees. Retirees must update their addresses in online account access. If you transmit a retiree’s address data in the member profile record, it will reject.

We’re hiring a retiree into an ineligible position. Do we have to report the retiree?

  • Yes. All retirees must be reported, even those working in ineligible positions; however, reporting compensation and hours for ineligible positions is optional.

We hired a retiree into an ineligible position in January. In March, the position changed from ineligible to eligible but ERA won’t let me choose the new type code. Why not?

  • You must first transmit an end date with the appropriate type code for the ineligible period. Next, report the new employment period with a start date and choose the eligible type code.

Why do I keep getting a missing earnings edit message?

  • Once you report a start date for a retiree in an eligible position, you must report the retiree each month until employment is terminated.
    • You must transmit one of these status codes:
      • Status code A with compensation and hours
      • Status code B if the retiree has no earnings for the month, but is still employed in an eligible position

What retiree hours are counted toward the maximum? Earned or compensated?

  • For eligible positions, compensated hours are counted. This includes paid holidays or when compensatory time, sick leave or annual leave is taken in place of normal work hours. Sick leave or annual leave cashed out at the end of an employment period doesn’t count toward the limit. Cashed out compensatory time counts toward the hour limit.

My state agency uses the PAY1 system. When I hire a retiree return to work (RRTW), whom do I contact to get the A.01 screen released to activate health insurance benefits?

  • The payroll/personnel staff hiring the RRTW must send a secure FUZE email to the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Outreach and Training (O&T) staff. O&T staff will respond to you typically within two business days. DRS doesn’t have the ability the release the A.01 screen.

Which plan do I report a retiree in?

  • Retirees must be reported on the applicable system’s transmittal report based on the position the retiree is working in and not the system the employee retired from. For more information, refer to Chapter 5 in the employer handbook.

School districts and educational service districts

I have a teacher leaving at the end of the school term. This teacher’s last day of work as outlined in the contract is June 20, 2021, and the contract ends later in the summer. What should I report for an end date and when should I report it?

  • For TRS, SERS and PERS Plans 1, report the date of resignation. Most school districts require the employee to submit a letter of resignation to clearly indicate the official date of resignation. The resignation date affects School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) coverage and the DRS end date used for retirement. Transmit the end date to DRS with the last payroll data for the employee.

How do I report personal holidays?

  • Use status code A. If a PERS Plan 1 or TRS Plan 1 member cashes out a personal holiday, use the correct cash out code. If the cash out occurs in the AFC and the contract allows the member to have it factored into the benefit, it will generate an excess compensation billing. DRS will need a copy of the current contract.

Do I report sick leave cash outs for a school district, ESD or charter school employee?

  • No. A sick leave cash out for a school district or ESD employee isn’t reportable and isn’t included in the employee’s retirement benefit calculation.

How do I report substitutes?

Higher education retirement membership options

1. How do I know if a new hire is eligible to retire or has previously retired from a DRS-covered system?

You can use the ERA Member Management process to look up retirees. To determine if an employee is eligible to retire, review their age, DRS history and the rules of their plan. Contact Employer Support Services (ESS) to verify.

2. How do I determine if a new hire has previously worked in a HERP-eligible position?

Ask your employee or the previous institution if the position was HERP-eligible. You are responsible for gathering this information.

3. I hired a transfer employee from DSHS into a faculty position. They have previous PERS Plan 2 membership. Can they continue participation in PERS Plan 2 under their faculty appointment?

No. As long as they aren’t eligible to retire, the employee can choose the HERP or TRS Plan 3.

4. I hired a withdrawn PERS Plan 2 member into a non-faculty, HERP-eligible position. They aren’t eligible to retire. What are their choices?

If your institution allows it, the member can choose to join the HERP or reestablish their PERS Plan 2 membership.

5. Do I deduct member contributions while waiting 30 days for the employee to choose the HERP or Plan 3?

No. When the member gives you their decision form, you’ll begin deductions within that same payroll period.

6. I hired a PERS Plan 1 member into a faculty position. What are their choices?

They can choose the HERP or TRS Plan 3 as long as they aren’t eligible to retire.

7. I hired a PERS Plan 2 member into a faculty position. The employee is eligible to retire from DRS with 17 years of service. What are their choices?

If your institution allows it, the employee can participate in PERS Plan 2. They can’t join the HERP because they’re eligible to retire. They can’t establish membership in TRS because they have more than 15 years of service in PERS.

8. I have a non-faculty, HERP-eligible position. The employee has previous TRS Plan 1 membership (not withdrawn). What are their choices?

The employee can elect to participate in TRS Plan 1, if your institution allows it, or the HERP if they are in a faculty or a non-faculty position.

9. A new employee in a HERP-eligible faculty position chooses HERP after July 1, 2011. If they move to a non- faculty position at the same institution, do they get the HERP/PERS Plan 3 Choice?

Yes. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type change they make and at each institution.

10. An employee chooses PERS Plan 3 in a non-faculty, HERP-eligible position, and then they move to a faculty position at the same institution. What are their choices?

The HERP or TRS Plan 3. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type change they make and at each institution.

11. A new employee working in a faculty position at Green River Community College chooses HERP after July 1, 2011. They separate employment and begin working in a faculty position at South Puget Sound Community College. What are their choices?

The HERP only. All of the Community and Technical Colleges are considered one employer.

12. A new employee working in a faculty position at Green River Community College chooses TRS Plan 3 after July 1, 2011. They separate from employment and begin working in a faculty position at South Puget Sound Community College. What are their choices?

TRS Plan 3 only. All of the Community and Technical Colleges are considered one employer.

13. A new employee working in a HERP-eligible faculty position at Green River Community College chooses TRS Plan 3 after July 1, 2011. They separate from employment and begin working in a non-faculty position at South Puget Sound Community College. What are their choices?

The HERP or PERS Plan 3. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type change they make and at each institution.

14. A new employee working in a HERP-eligible faculty position at Grays Harbor Community College chooses the HERP after July 1, 2011. They are now working for Central Washington University in a HERP-eligible faculty position. What are their choices?

The HERP or TRS Plan 3. CWU and Grays Harbor Community College are considered separate employers. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type at each institution.

15. A new employee working in a HERP-eligible faculty position at the University of Washington chooses the HERP after July 1, 2011. They accept a HERP-eligible faculty position at Washington State University. What are their choices?

The HERP or TRS Plan 3. UW and WSU are considered separate employers. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type at each institution.

16. A new employee working in a HERP-eligible faculty position at the University of Washington chooses TRS Plan 3 after July 1, 2011. They accept a HERP-eligible faculty position at Washington State University. What are their choices?

The HERP or TRS Plan 3. UW and WSU are considered separate employers. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type at each institution.

17. A new employee working in a HERP-eligible faculty position at the University of Washington chooses the HERP after July 1, 2011. They accept a HERP-eligible, non-faculty position at Washington State University. What are their choices?

The HERP or PERS Plan 3. UW and WSU are considered separate employers. An employee is eligible for a permanent choice for each position type at each institution.

18. I have an employee who currently participates in PERS Plan 2 through classified employment at my institution. They are moving into a new position that is a non-faculty, HERP-eligible position. Can I continue reporting the employee in PERS Plan 2 until they’re vested and then transfer them to our HERP?

No. The employee must choose between PERS Plan 2 and the HERP for employment in the new position.

Acronyms

This list includes acronyms used in the Employer Handbook, within the Employer Reporting Application (ERA) and at DRS.

AFC: Average Final Compensation

AR: Account Receivable

CIS: Center for Information Services

CJTC: Criminal Justice Training Commission

CT: Contribution Transmittal

DBR: Defined Benefit Record

DCP: Deferred Compensation Program

DCR: Defined Contribution Record

DME: Determine Member Eligibility

DRS: Department of Retirement Systems

EFT: Electronic Fund Transfer

EIR: Employer Information Record

ERF: Early Retirement Factor

ERP: Employer Reporting Process

EPM: Electronic Payment Management

ESS: Employer Support Services

FAS: Final Average Salary

FCR: Final Compensation Report

HERP: Higher Education Retirement Plan

HRMS: Human Resource Management System

JBM: Judges Benefit Multiplier Program

JRF: Judges’ Retirement Fund

JRS: Judicial Retirement System

JV: Journal Voucher

LEOFF: Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System

MIF: Member Information Form

MLU: Member Lookup

MMHS: Minimum Medical and Health Standards

MPR: Member Profile Record

MRL: Multiple Record Layout

OFM: Office of Financial Management

PA: Participation Agreement (for DCP)

PCR: Plan Choice Record

PERS: Public Employees’ Retirement System

PERS JBM: Public Employees’ Retirement System and Judges Benefit Multiplier Program

PSERS: Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System

RCW: Revised Code of Washington

RMS: Receivables Management System

RRTW: Retiree Return to Work

SAW: Secure Access Washington

SCERS: State-wide City Employees’ Retirement System

SCPP: Select Committee on Pension Policy

SELF: Self-Directed Investment Program

SERS: School Employees’ Retirement System

SFT: Secure File Transfer

SR: Summary Record

SRL: Single Record Layout

TC: Transmittal Correction

TIAA: Teachers’ Insurance & Annuity Association

TPA: Third-Party Administrator

TRI: Time, Responsibility, or Incentives

TRS: Teachers’ Retirement System

TRS JBM: Teachers’ Retirement System and Judicial Benefit Multiplier Program

VOE: Verification of Employment

WAC: Washington Administrative Code

WSIB: Washington State Investment Board

WSPRS: Washington State Patrol Retirement System

Glossary of terms

Terms in this handbook

Some of the terms used in retirement system law have varying definitions in different systems. Unless noted for a specific plan or system, the glossary provides general definitions that are applicable to all systems. For specific legal definitions, see the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

Active member

An employee working in an eligible position covered by one of the Washington state retirement systems, who is not a substitute working in a school district or Educational Service District and who is not a retiree who has returned to work. TRS Plan 1 has a different definition for active membership. For information, see Chapter 2: Membership.

Anonymous user

Users who access limited functionality in ERA without logging in.

Annuity

The money payable per year during the lifetime of a retired member based on their accumulated contributions.

Arrears Billing (AB)

An adjustment to a member’s account for prior earning periods.

Average Final Compensation (AFC)

The average final compensation used to calculate a member’s retirement benefit. For PERS and TRS Plan 1, the AFC is calculated from the member’s 24 consecutive highest-paid service credit months. For PERS and TRS Plan 2, the AFC is calculated from a member’s 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months.

Average Final Salary (AFS)

For WSPRS Plan 1, the AFS is calculated from the member’s overtime earnings earned before July 1, 2001. Voluntary overtime earned on or after July 1, 2001, is not reportable and is not included in the AFS used to calculate the retirement benefit. The figure used to calculate a member’s retirement benefit is based on the average monthly salary received by a member during their last two years of service or any consecutive two-year period of service, whichever is greater.

For WSPRS Plan 2, the AFS is calculated from the monthly average of the member’s 60 consecutive highest paid service credit months. This excludes voluntary overtime, lump sum payments for unused sick leave, annual leave/vacation or holiday pay or any form of severance pay.

Basic salary

Compensation. A term used in LEOFF.

Begin date

Identifies the date a member begins retirement-covered employment. It’s required on the monthly transmittal when an employee becomes eligible for retirement system membership or when a LEOFF member begins certain types of leave lasting more than three days. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

Benefit multiplier

See PERS Definitions

Billing month and year

The month and year in which a billing obligation was incurred. (For the CT billing, this is the same as the reporting period for the monthly transmittal report.) Payments are applied to the billing year and month entered on the Payment Advice form.

Contribution transmittal billing

The contribution transmittal billing (the bill created from the monthly transmittal report) is identified on the statement of account activity with a CT.

Calendar year

The period beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31.

Case

A saved occurrence of an ERA process.

Contact type

Identifies the roles a contact is responsible for and types of notifications the user will receive.

Cash out code

A specific status code used on the monthly transmittal to report lump-sum payments of leave cash outs. Cash out codes are used only for PERS Plan 1, TRS Plan 1 and WSPRS members. Refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

Compensation

That portion of scheduled payments of salaries, wages or benefits paid to a member that is reportable on the monthly transmittal report. Certain non-monetary benefits are defined as compensation in PERS and TRS Plan 1. Refer to Chapter 4: Reportable Compensation.

Compensation earnable

Compensation that is reportable to DRS. Refer to Chapter 4: Reportable Compensation.

Contributions

Any payment made to DRS by an employee or employer to one of the Washington state retirement systems. Except for a small percentage of employer contributions that pay for administrative expenses of the system, the contributions are deposited in a trust fund to pay for future retirement benefits.

Contribution rate

The percentage rate of member compensation required to be contributed to a retirement system each month. Members pay a percentage of their compensation. In addition, employers pay contributions based on a percentage of each member’s compensation. Contribution rates vary for the different systems and plans. Refer to Chapter 6: Contributions.

Credit redistribution

A process used to correct or move outstanding items on the statement of account activity. The credit redistribution allows credits shown on the statement to be moved to a billing month, system or plan where there is a debit or balance due. A credit redistribution occurs by using the Credit Redistribution form or by calling an Account Manager.

DCP

Deferred Compensation Program. An Internal Revenue Code Section 457 plan administered by DRS.

Determine member eligibility

A sub-process within the Member Management process used to identify which plans/systems a member or a position is eligible for.

 (DRS) Department of Retirement Systems

The Washington state agency that administers PERS, PSERS, SERS, TRS, LEOFF, WSPRS, JRS, Judges Retirement Fund, and DCP.

DRS notices

Communications from DRS about specific areas of concern to employers, including rate changes, new legislation and policy and procedural changes. Sent through email to employers and posted online.

Defined benefit plan

A vested member in a defined benefit plan will receive a retirement benefit based on their accumulated service credit and average final compensation or (final average salary for LEOFF and Average Final Salary for WSPRS). The amount a member has contributed is not a factor in the calculation of the retirement benefit.

Defined contribution

Plan 3 member contributions. A benefit that consists solely of the money the member contributes and any investment gains, losses or expenses applied to the member’s account.

Deferral

The amount of the DCP participant’s compensation.

Dual member

A member who has established membership in more than one system. Dual members can’t be retired and can’t be receiving disability leave benefits from any DRS-administered retirement system. Dual member systems include: PERS, TRS, SERS, PSERS, LEOFF Plan 2, WSPRS, and the city retirement plans for Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma.

Note: If a member is employed at the same time in a SERS-eligible position and a PERS-eligible position, a different set of rules apply. Contact Employer Support Services for more information.

Early Retirement Factor (ERF)

DRS applies a reduction factor to a member’s benefit when they retire early. When payment of the benefit begins before normal retirement eligibility, the factor offsets the cost of paying a member’s or beneficiary’s benefits over a longer period of time.

Earnable compensation

A type of compensation used in TRS.

Earning period

The calendar month and year an employee earns compensation in. This may be different from the month the compensation was paid to the employee.

Edit reports

See “Transmittal Edit Reports.”

Education employers

Under PERS, includes school districts, higher education institutions, community and technical colleges, the State School for the Deaf, and the State School for the Blind.

Elected or governor-appointed officials

Includes elected officials, direct appointees of the governor, appointees to fill vacant elective offices, and city managers or chief administrative officers.

Electronic payment management

ERA process that allows employers to manage their online payments.

Eligible position

A term used to define an employee’s eligibility for membership. Refer to Chapter 2: Membership.

Employer invoices

Billings or adjustments to correct employer contributions for taxed earning periods, or to correct employee and employer contributions for non-taxed earning periods. See the list of invoice codes and descriptions.

Employer main contact

An ERA user type registered for ERA access by DRS. Has the ability to register employer contact and information-only contact user types. Assign a contact type of main DRS contact to this user in addition to any other applicable contact types.

Employer reporting

ERA process that accepts employer reports.

Employer primary main contact

An ERA user type registered for ERA access by DRS. Has the ability to register other employer main contacts for their organization as well as employer contact and information-only contact user types.

End date

The date a member ends employment in a position eligible for retirement coverage. An end date is required to separate (or stop reporting) a member from the monthly transmittal or to report a LEOFF member ending certain leave types longer than three days. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

Enroll member

A sub-process within the member management process in ERA used to submit enrollment data for new employees.

ERA portal

The portion of the Employer Reporting Application accessible via the web.

Excess compensation

Paid for by the employer rather than DRS, it’s a portion of compensation used in benefit calculations. Employers pay the extra benefit derived in the calculations.

External admin contact

A user who is not associated with an employer, but can access all employers such as the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) and Office of Financial Management (OFM).

Final Average Salary (FAS) (for LEOFF)

The basic salary used to calculate a LEOFF member’s retirement allowance. For LEOFF Plan 2, the FAS is the monthly average of the member’s 60 consecutive highest-paid service credit months. For LEOFF Plan 1, the FAS varies according to length of service and conditions of separation. For more information, members should refer to the LEOFF member handbooks for Plan 1 and Plan 2.

Final compensation report

A formula that provides information needed to calculate benefits for retiring members of PERS Plan 1.

Fiscal year (for TRS Plan 1)

The period from July 1 through June 30 of the next year.

Form

A user interface in ERA that displays or accepts data.

Full-time (for TRS Plan 1, LEOFF and PSERS)

  • For TRS Plan 1: Regular service for four-fifths or more of a school day or an assignment to duties that are the equivalent of four-fifths or more of a one-time assignment
  • For LEOFF and PSERS: Means an employee who is regularly scheduled to earn a basic salary from an employer for a minimum of 160 hours each calendar month

Fully-compensated employment (for LEOFF)

Employment that is paid at the rate regularly afforded an employee in that position.

Group (in ERA)

A collection of related fields placed together in a box.

Inactive member

A person who is not currently contributing to a retirement plan. For TRS Plan 1, there is an additional requirement that the person must not have withdrawn contributions.

Ineligible position (for PERS, SERS, and TRS Plans 2 and 3)

The position that is not eligible for retirement coverage. For information, refer to Chapter 2: Membership.

Information-only contact

ERA user type registered by employer main contacts for DRS informational purposes only.

Invoice number

Unique 8-digit invoice number that appears on the invoice. Refer to Working with Employer Invoices for additional information.

Judges Benefit Multiplier

See PERS Definitions

JRF

Judges’ Retirement Fund

JRS

Judicial Retirement System

LEOFF

Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System

LEOFF-covered employer (for LEOFF)

  • LEOFF Plan 1: An organization that employs any law enforcement officer or firefighter in the state of Washington
  • LEOFF Plan 2: The legislative authority of any city, town, county, district, or public corporation established under RCW 35.21.730 to provide emergency medical services as defined in RCW 18.73.030

Member

Any employee enrolled in and contributing to a retirement system.

Member Information Form (MIF)

Enrollment form for new PERS, SERS or TRS members, for Plan 2 members who choose to transfer to Plan 3, or for Plan 3 members returning to eligible employment.

Member invoice

Formal notification from DRS to a member of money due. Member invoices are mandatory member obligations such as an Employer Correction (CT) billing, refund overpayments or pension overpayments. See also “Optional bills.”

Member lookup

An activity within the member management process in ERA, used to access information on current, past and prospective employees.

Member management

A process within ERA that is used to view and update member information.

Minimum Medical and Health Standards (MMHS) (for LEOFF Plan 1)

Legislatively mandated medical and health standards that determine eligibility for coverage under the LEOFF retirement system.

Non-taxed (or tax-deferred) contributions

Employee retirement contributions for which federal income taxes have not been withheld. See also “Taxed contributions.”

Notification

Automatically generated communications accessible from the messages screen within ERA.

Optional bills

An invoice members may pay if they want certain service credit. For example, optional bills may be issued to members who are restoring service credit or purchasing service credit for an authorized leave of absence.

Organization number

Each employer has a unique organization number that is inclusive of all reporting group numbers assigned to your organization.

Partial service credit (for PERS, SERS and TRS Plans 2 and 3, and LEOFF Plan 2)

Credit earned for working fewer than the number of hours required for a full month of service credit. Applies to PERS, SERS and TRS Plans 2 and 3 members in ineligible positions and to full time, fully-

compensated LEOFF Plan 2 members.

Participant (for Deferred Compensation Program)

Any eligible employee who enrolls in DCP. DRS or its designee must approve the enrollment.

Payment advice

Form required with all payments to DRS. ERA will create a payment advice for you if you submit payment through ERA. For a hard copy of the form, see the alphabetical list of Employer Forms for the three types of payment advice forms and descriptions.

PERS

Public Employees’ Retirement System

PERS education member

A PERS member employed by a school district, higher education institution, community or technical college, the State School for the Deaf, or the State School for the Blind, and service in an educational service district.

PERS service after Oct. 1, 1977, is transferred to SERS if the member is working in a SERS-eligible position and was previously in PERS Plan 2 or Plan 3.

Plan 1 (for PERS, TRS, LEOFF and WSPRS)

When Plan 1 members retire, they will receive a benefit based on their service credit and Average Final Compensation (PERS and TRS), or Final Average Salary (LEOFF), or Average Final Salary (WSPRS). PERS, TRS and LEOFF Plan 1 covers those who first became members of a retirement system before Oct. 1, 1977. WSPRS Plan 1 covers employees commissioned before Jan. 1, 2003. Plan 1 is a defined benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Plan 2

Members will receive a benefit based on their service credit and Average Final Compensation when they retire. Plan 2 covers those who first became members of a retirement system on or after:

  • Oct. 1, 1977, for PERS and SERS if the member was previously a PERS Plan 2 member. Oct. 1, 1997, also applies to TRS and LEOFF.
  • July 1, 2003, for commissioned WSPRS
  • July 1, 2006, for PSERS

Plan 2 is a defined benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Plan 3

Member contributions finance a defined contribution component, and employer contributions finance a defined benefit component. Plan 3 covers those who first became members of a retirement system on or after:

  • July 1, 1996, for TRS Plan 3
  • Sept. 1, 2000, for SERS Plan 3
  • March 1, 2002, or Sept. 1, 2002, for PERS Plan 3. New members of PERS have the option of choosing Plan 2 or Plan 3. Refer to PERS Membership for more information.

Plan 3 is a dual-component benefit plan structured under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Political subdivision

Any political entity other than a state agency, a higher education institution or a school district.

Potential member

Someone who has worked in an ineligible or substitute position at a school district or educational service district, but hasn’t purchased their substitute service credit and hasn’t established membership.

PSERS

Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System

Public portal

The public-facing section of ERA that includes Employer Eligibility Check, Organization Status Check, Position Eligibility Check and the Purchase Prior Service Credit Calculator.

Query form

Perform searches using criteria to filter existing cases.

Reportable work hours calendar

A calendar provided by DRS for employers who need to know the number of reportable work hours each month.

Reporting group number

A unique number assigned to an employer that identifies the retirement system in which the employer participates.

Restoration

The process of restoring a member’s service credit for prior periods. A member who has left service and withdrawn contributions can, upon reestablishing membership, receive service credit for earlier service. The member must repay all withdrawn contributions plus interest accumulated since the time of withdrawal.

Retirement allowance (for TRS Plan 1)

The benefit a TRS Plan 1 member is entitled to. This allowance includes the member’s pension benefit plus their annuity amount.

Retirement benefit

The benefit to which a retired member is entitled based on the accumulated service credit and Average Final Compensation, Final Average Compensation, or Final Average Salary depending on the system and plan the member retired from. The amount a member has contributed is not a factor in the calculation of the retirement benefit. For information, see Chapter 3: Service Credit.

School day

The number of hours in a day that make up a complete day of work, as defined by the employer. In the absence of an employer definition, Washington Administrative Code defines the school day as seven hours long.

Secure Access Washington (SAW)

A single sign-on application gateway developed by Washington Technology Solutions (WATech). DRS uses SAW for security authentication in ERA.

Secure File Transfer (SFT)

A process that facilitates the secure transfer of data. An automated process of transferring a multiple record layout (MRL) file to the Employer Reporting Application.

SERS

School Employees’ Retirement System

Services

A secondary security setting providing access to specific ERA functions. Applied to a user account through the ERA Portal. Access to services varies by user.

School year

The period from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31 of the following year. The period is used to calculate service credit for TRS Plans 2 and 3 and PERS Plans 1 and 2 education members.

Separated

No longer employed in a retirement-covered position.

Separation Date

See “End date.”

Service

The number of hours or days for which an employee receives compensation. Service is reported in days for TRS Plan 1 members and in hours for members of all other systems and plans.

Service credit

Months or years of employment credited toward an eventual retirement benefit.

Statement of account activity

Issued to employers once each month. Provides a summary of all payment and billing activity in an employer’s account.

Simulation

Function within ERA that allows users of the manual upload process to pre-edit their file for errors.

Status code

A one-character code that identifies the status of compensation, contributions and/or service reported on the monthly transmittal. For information, refer to Chapter 7: Status Codes.

Sub-group

A group nested within a group in ERA.

Sub-tab

A tab nested within a tab in ERA.

Summary form

Used to display case information that can’t be modified.

Table

A set of data organized in columns and rows found in a form.

Task

An item waiting to be completed in the ERA task list.

TRS

Teachers’ Retirement System

Tax-Deferred (or non-taxed) contributions

Contributions on which taxes have not yet been paid. Also see “Taxed contributions” below.

Taxed contributions

Contributions for which federal income taxes have been withheld. All contributions for earning periods before September 1984 are taxed. See also “Non-taxed contributions.”

Teacher

Any individual qualified to teach who is engaged by a public school or an institution of the state of Washington in an instructional, administrative or supervisory capacity. Among other requirements, an individual must meet this definition to be eligible for membership in TRS. For information, see Chapter 2: Membership.

Transmittal edit reports

The DRS transmittal system uses a single edit report to provide information to you about your reporting. The edit report lets you know if information wasn’t reported, if information was reported incorrectly or if information you’ve reported was rejected. See Edit Specifications by Field for additional information.

Transmittal report

Report submitted to DRS by each employer. The report contains compensation, contributions and hours or days worked by each member. For information, refer to Chapter 8: Transmittal Reporting.

Type code

A two-digit code used on the monthly transmittal report to identify the type of employer or type of job an employee performs. For information, refer to Chapter 7: Type Codes.

User type

Identifies the security level of a user when they are created or updated using the ERA portal.

Vested member

An individual who has accumulated the required years of service credit within their retirement plan and has not withdrawn contributions (Plan 3 is an exception). A vested member is eligible to receive a retirement allowance when qualified for retirement. Refer members to their member handbook for plan requirements.

WSPRS

The Washington State Patrol Retirement System

Year

As used in the definition of an eligible position. Any 12-consecutive-month period established, and applied consistently, by an employer to evaluate the eligibility of a specific position. In the case of ongoing positions, the year used by the employer must be the same for all positions. In the case of a project or temporary position, the year used may be specific to the position. The term may include, but is not limited to, a school year, calendar year or fiscal year. Employers should document the 12-month period used to define a year for a given position (such as, January through December, September through August, April through March, etc.).

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