MPSERS Employer News – July 2019

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MPSERS Employer News

July 2019

New employee receives information

New materials will help inform new hires about retirement options

We’re introducing a new toolkit for your new hires! Please share it with any new employee that’s not already a MPSERS member. You may also wish to provide it to recently hired new employees. Depending on your school’s process for onboarding new employees, you can print and distribute the materials in an orientation or other meeting, or you may simply email the information to your new hires.

These materials replace the New Employee Retirement Plan rack card (R0615C), which is no longer available for order on the Employer Information website (psru).

The material consists of two handouts intended to help new hires understand the retirement plan election: the Retirement Plan Election Guide (ORS mails this to new MPSERS members after you report wages for the person) and a new handout, the Retirement Plan Decision Guide. 

The Election Guide summarizes the two plans (Pension Plus 2 and the Defined Contribution plan) and offers comparison in terms of benefits and contributions and qualifying requirements.

The Decision Guide works with the Election Guide, assisting new employees to consider the factors related to this decision, such as their long-term career plans and their tolerance of risk.  

Note that there is a lag between when employees are hired and when they can make their election, because ORS cannot work with a member until a DTL1 record has been posted. This may take as long as a few months (for someone hired in June or July but starting in late August) or as short as four weeks after an employee is hired. Even four weeks may be a long wait, and the new employee, busy with their job, may forget to complete their election, thus defaulting into a plan they may not want.

The goal of this new approach is to encourage new employees to make an informed election earlier. Although the legislature gives new employees 75 days to make their election, it’s easier for all involved when members make their election sooner rather than later. Members who receive this information earlier can consider it along with other “new job” issues, even if they must wait a few weeks to make their election on miAccount. Of course, the sooner a member makes the election, the fewer adjustments you’ll have to make.

Because the new materials are electronic documents, you may choose to email all new hires this information. Here’s a sample email you can copy and paste into an email.

Welcome! As a new employee at [school or organization name], you have a decision to make about your future! Please review the information in the links below to understand your options and consider what fits you best.

About three to five weeks after the first day you work, you’ll receive a letter from the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) with information, including an account number, you’ll need to make your election on miAccount. In the meantime, we hope you’ll review the information and consider your future. More detailed information about the two plan options is available at

We hope this new approach will help us meet the goal of improving the rate of plan elections (rather than defaulting), and we continue to investigate other options to ease this process for members and reporting units.

DC Feedback File

DC Feedback file is a valuable tool

The link to the DC Feedback file is on the Employer Reporting website under the Things To Do menu. The information on the link, provided by both Voya and ORS, relays to you any recent Defined Contribution (DC) and Personal Healthcare Fund contribution changes for your DC employees. The link should be checked on a regular basis, or at least each time you process payroll. Each record on the file contains the employee’s name, their benefit structure, the last four digits of the SSN, the new contribution percentages, the date the change was received, and the report end date when the changes will be effective.

To keep the Feedback File screen up to date and easier to use, once you have updated your employee records with the deduction changes, place a check mark in the Read Record box and click the Save button. The record will drop down to the Read Feedback section of the page leaving only the unchanged records in the Unread section. These Read Records will remain on the screen only until the page is closed when they will be removed. If you need to recall any records at a later time, simply use the Search Criteria section provided on the Feedback File screen.

TSAs – to report or not to report

tax shelter

Tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) investments are an excellent avenue for eligible employees to defer some of their salary and contribute to an additional retirement savings to invest in their retirement future. 

Depending on the specific reason for the payment into the TSA, however, the payment may or may not be included in the calculation of an employee’s final average compensation (and therefore reportable).

If the TSA payment is made for compensation that would normally be considered reportable, the TSA payment should be reported. Examples of when TSAs are reportable:

  • The TSA is paid for work or services performed.
  • The TSA is paid as part of their salary and wages.
  • The TSA is paid for longevity or merit pay.

If the TSA payment is made for compensation that would normally be considered not reportable, the TSA payment should not be reported. Examples of when TSAs are not reportable:

  • It is paid in lieu of health insurance premiums.
  • It is paid in lieu of life insurance premiums.
  • It is paid in lieu of other fringe benefits.

It is vital that you report all TSAs properly so employee pensions are accurately calculated. When you report TSAs incorrectly or not at all, you are probably creating future reporting adjustments that could have been avoided.

For more information on reporting TSAs, please review RIM section 4.04.02: Tax-Sheltered Annuity Investments and section 4.04.03: Employee Tax-Sheltered Annuity or Deferred Compensation Investments.

Keep copies of Download Detail spreadsheets


It is extremely important for a reporting unit to keep a copy of the Download Detail spreadsheet for each payroll report after it becomes 100% posted. This spreadsheet is the only written record available to a reporting unit that shows exactly what was reported to ORS, what ORS calculated for member and employer contributions, and the report totals per pay period. These spreadsheets remain on the Employer Reporting website for about a year and then drop off the site. Once the report is gone from the site, a Download Detail spreadsheet cannot be re-created.

When a payroll report becomes 100% posted, the report header will appear on the Work On Reports page under the Posted Reports section.

1. Click the View Totals link to open the View Report Totals page.

2. Scroll down to the section titled Report Totals for Regular and Adjustment and click on the Download Detail link to open the spreadsheet.

3. Save the spreadsheet in the format you prefer for your records. For more information refer to the RIM chapter 7.10.00: Saving the Download Detail Retirement Reports.

The Download Detail spreadsheet is also a very valuable tool while working on the payroll report. See the Reporting Instruction Manual for the recently updated RIM chapter 7.04.05: Using the Download Detail Link.

Percent symbol

DB interest posted, TDP interest charged

Defined Benefit account interest

Interest has been posted to all active Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) member accounts on July 1, 2019.  This is the first year that Pension Plus 2 members received interest on their accounts.The interest rates posted this year are as follows.

  • Basic and Member Investment Plan (MIP) members: 11.11%.
  • Pension Plus members: 11.84%.
  • Pension Plus 2 members: 7.02%.

You may refer employees to the full list of the Defined Benefit plan interest rates dating back to July 1, 1988, available on the Members website under Contributions - Defined Benefit Plan Interest Rates.

TDP Interest

Tax-Deferred Payment (TDP) agreements that were initiated on or after January 1, 2004, are subject to 8% compound interest, applied annually on July 1 to the unpaid balance. This is included in terms of the completed TDP Agreement Form (R0392C).

As the employer, it's your responsibility to update the employee’s remaining TDP balance with the TDP Interest each year after July 1. The amount appears in the Total TDP Interest Amount column of the TDP Agreement Details spreadsheet. 

See RIM sections 10.06: How to Use the TDP Download Detail Link and 10.07: TDP Annual Interest in the Reporting Instruction Manual for more information.

TDP Download Detail Spreadsheet with Interest Amount column highlighted

In This Issue:

August 2018 calendar

Important Dates & Reminders

July 31
GASB 68 and 75 Schedules Report and GASB 75 data tables posted on the Employer Information page. (GASB 68 data was posted earlier this month.)

Aug 4
Scheduled system maintenance (Employer Reporting website unavailable)

August 15
UAAL invoices available on Employer Reporting website

Recent RIM updates

Recent RIM updates

4.04.02 Tax-Sheltered Annuity Investments

Recent Communications

Recent Communications

7/15/2019: GASB 68 data now available; GASB 75 data and GASB report available by late July

Helpful Tip

Helpful Tip

Benefit Plan Election forms are a thing of the past! You should no longer have copies of that form or give it to new hires.

For all new hires, always check status and benefit plan information on the Member Benefit Plans link located on the Things To Do menu on the Employer Reporting website.

New hires who are not currently MPSERS members now make their benefit plan election online through their miAccount.