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Benefits Available to State of Wisconsin Employees

The fringe benefits offered to State of Wisconsin employees are significant, and are a valuable part of an individual's compensation package. The fringe benefits may vary somewhat between employee groups based on: occupational status (i.e., protective, executive, general); whether or not the employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement; and, percentage of full-time employment.

A number of provisions in 2011 Wisconsin Acts 10 and 32 affect the retirement and health insurance programs administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds. The link below focuses on the provisions that relate to the programs administered by ETF.

Recent Changes to Your WRS/Group Health Insurance Benefits

The benefits available are:
  • RETIREMENT: Most state employees are offered a retirement benefit through the WRS. All full-time and most part-time employees initially employed on or after July 1, 2011, must be expected to work at least 1,200 hours to be considered a participating Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employee. Employee-required contributions are approximately one-half of the total required WRS contribution. The state pays the other half. Employees initially employed on or after July 1, 2011, having no prior employment with any WRS employer, are required to have at least five full years of WRS creditable service to have vested rights to the WRS employer contribution.
  • VACATION:  Vacation is earned from the first day of employment, but cannot be used until the employee has worked for six months. Vacation is earned by full-time employees at the following rate:

    Years of Service

    Annual Vacation Hours

    Annual Vacation Hours

    During first 5
      5+ to 10
    10+ to 15
    15+ to 20
    20+ to 25
    25 and Over



  • PERSONAL HOLIDAYS:    Employees are granted 4-1/2 days of personal holiday time.

  • LEGAL HOLIDAYS:  The state provides nine legal holidays with pay:
    • New Year's Day (January 1)
    • Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (Third Monday in January)
    • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
    • Independence Day (July 4)
    • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
    • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
    • Christmas Eve Day (December 24)
    • Christmas Day (December 25)
    • New Year's Eve Day (December 31)

  • SICK LEAVE:    Sick leave is earned at the rate of five hours per bi-weekly pay period for full-time employees. Unused sick leave accumulates from year to year. Upon retirement, the state matches a certain amount of the unused sick leave, and the entire balance can be converted at the employee's current hourly rate to pay health insurance premiums.

  • HEALTH INSURANCE:    A variety of Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Plans, and fee-for-service health providers offer coverage. Employees may obtain coverage within one month of starting work, but the state contribution toward the premium is not effective until after two months of state employment under the Wisconsin Retirement System.

  • LIFE INSURANCE:  After six months of coverage under the Wisconsin Retirement System, an employee may have group term life insurance coverage in an amount up to five times his/her annual salary. The state contributes approximately 49% of the premium toward two of the five units of coverage; however, the premiums for the remaining three units of coverage are paid totally by the employee. Employees may also secure coverage for their spouse (up to $20,000) and dependents (up to $10,000) each.

  • INCOME CONTINUATION INSURANCE:  After six months of coverage in the Wisconsin Retirement System, employees are eligible for income continuation insurance. This benefit ensures that individuals will receive up to 75% of their gross salary for physical or mental disabilities. The state contribution, which can range from 0% to 100%, is contingent upon an employee's accrual and use of sick leave.

  • CATASTROPHIC INSURANCE:  Excess medical, accidental death and dismemberment, and dental coverage are features of this insurance. Employees are responsible for the entire premium.

  • DENTAL INSURANCE:  Some dental coverage is included in many of the group health insurance plans and the catastrophic insurance plan. Many unions offer separate dental coverage to their membership.

  • LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE:   This insurance covers short-term and long-term home health care, assisted living, community-based care, and nursing home care. The plan is available only to state employees and annuitants, including their spouse, parents, and spouse's parents.  Employees pay the full premium.

  • EMPLOYEE REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNTS PROGRAM:   The Employee Reimbursement Accounts Program allows employees to pay eligible medical and dependent care expenses from pre-tax rather than post-tax income. In addition, premiums for State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program, catastrophic, and life insurance (excluding spouse and dependent life insurance coverage) may be treated as pre-tax deductions.

  • COMMUTER BENEFITS PROGRAM:   The Commuter Benefits Program allows employees to save money on their commuting costs by using pre-tax dollars to pay for bus passes, parking expenses, and other mass transit costs.

  • DEFERRED COMPENSATION:   The Deferred Compensation Program allows eligible employees an opportunity to save pre-tax earnings to supplement retirement income. Under Sec. 457, participants are allowed to defer up to the lesser of 100% of gross income or $16,500 in 2009.

  • WORKER'S COMPENSATION:  All employees are covered by the State of Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Law the day they start employment. The law covers both mental and physical harm from either accidents or occupational diseases.


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