Payroll schedule and benefits deductions changes coming in 2021
Employees of UW–Madison will see some changes to the way they are paid in 2021. This is the result of two separate projects being implemented for UW System employees statewide.
Beginning in April, employees who are currently paid biweekly will have most deductions for benefits split evenly over the first two biweekly paychecks each month. Beginning in July, employees who are paid monthly will be moved to a biweekly pay schedule. For these employees, most benefits will also be split evenly over the first two biweekly paychecks each month beginning in August.
Split Benefits Deductions for Those Paid Biweekly
For UW–Madison employees who are currently paid biweekly, most deductions for benefits such as health, dental, vision and life insurance will be split evenly over the first two biweekly paychecks starting with the April 22, 2021 paycheck. In months where there are three paychecks, benefits deductions will not be taken from that paycheck with the exception of Wisconsin Retirement System, Tax Sheltered Annuity 403(b) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 contributions.
Employees will benefit from more evenly distributed pay amounts each month. “This change addresses concerns that have long been raised by our colleagues in governance,” Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller said. “University staff employees who are paid hourly have been asking to see benefit costs split evenly across biweekly checks for some time.”
UW System will be holding a virtual Town Hall to review this change on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 2–3 p.m. All UW–Madison employees who are affected by this change are encouraged to attend or view the recorded Town Hall later online.
Single Payroll Project Moves All Employees to Biweekly Pay in August
Under the Single Payroll Project, employees who are now paid monthly will be paid on a biweekly schedule beginning in July. The term “Single Payroll” refers to the fact that this change standardizes the payroll schedule for all UW System employees.
Following this change, employees who are currently paid monthly across 12 months will receive 26 paychecks annually, while employees who are paid monthly across nine months will receive 19–20 paychecks annually. The number of paychecks is based on an employee’s contract dates. An employee’s annual salary amount will not change because of the change in paycheck frequency.
Employees will receive biweekly paychecks every other Thursday (except on Legal Holidays). Most deductions for benefits such as health, dental, vision, and life insurance will be split evenly over the first two biweekly paychecks each month starting with the August 26, 2021, paycheck.
A virtual Town Hall will provide more information about this change and provide time for questions and answers. The first Town Hall is scheduled for March 3, and the event will be offered four times in order to give everyone an opportunity to attend. The event will also be recorded and made available for viewing online.
UW–Madison and UW System will be offering a variety of resources and personal assistance as needed to help employees with the transition to a biweekly pay schedule. “We recognize that many employees may want to review their personal budgets and make adjustments to align with the new pay schedule,” Heller said. “We are dedicated to supporting our employees through this transition.”
Support for Employees during the Transition
UW–Madison has established a help desk to answer employee questions about the upcoming payroll changes. Trained representatives can be reached during normal business hours by phoning 608-265-2257 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The web pages for Split Benefits Deductions and Single Payroll provide answers to frequently asked questions, as well as links to videos and articles about personal finance. Employees will also find information about Spending and Savings Plan workshops hosted by UW Credit Union. Payroll calendars that reflect the new benefits deduction schedule and the new payroll schedule are available online.
Employees may wish to take certain actions prior to the transitions, such as changing the amounts of flat-dollar deductions, changing direct deposit amounts or accounts, and adjusting the payment dates for any automatic payments made to mortgage companies, utilities, or others. Instructions will be provided on when and how to make changes to flat-dollar deductions such as Wisconsin Retirement System, Tax Sheltered Annuity 403(b) and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation 457 contributions in future communications.
The changes are the result of a UW System-wide initiative to increase the efficiency of key human resources functions, including payroll processes, under the 2020FWD Strategic Framework and UW System’s Commitment to Operational Reform and Excellence (CORE).