In a recent conversation with LAGERS Senior Account Analyst, Dennise Schaben, we discussed some of the more common questions she receives from payroll and human resources personnel who administer benefits for LAGERS employers. So, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of the topics we discussed to help you with your LAGERS monthly reporting.
How do I report paid vacation or sick leave? “When reporting someone on vacation or sick leave, the employee is reported as normal, because it is paid leave,” said Dennise. However, when an employee is not working and on unpaid leave or continues to miss work and runs out of leave, they need to be reported as “Leave of Absence.” The Member Status Date to be entered for Leave of Absence should be the date they ran out of paid leave or the first day of unpaid leave.
What employees are covered under LAGERS purposes? When an employer joins the LAGERS system, it must define a covered employee as one that works either 1,500, 1,250 or 1,000 hours on an annual basis. “LAGERS coverage is mandatory for covered employees and if an employee is working the annual hours elected by their employer, they must be covered by LAGERS,” said Dennise. Employees may not individually elect to have LAGERS coverage.
This also applies to making the required employee contributions. “If the employer chooses this option, four percent will be withheld from each covered employee’s monthly pay to help pay for their benefits,” Dennise said. No one ever likes having money withheld from their paycheck, especially when it’s mandatory. But, the value of a LAGERS retirement benefit can be significant. Click here for a blog discussing ways to show employees the value of their benefit.
How do I report Military Leave and Workers’ Compensation? Military Leave or Workers’ Compensation can also be a source of confusion for some of our agencies. “That’s probably because it is confusing!” exclaimed Dennise. When an employee is out on workers’ compensation or military leave for one working day of the month, a zero wage must be reported on that month’s report. This one day could include the month a person goes on military leave / worker’s compensation, the month the person returns from leave and any month(s) in between.
While an employee is on military leave or workers compensation, they continue to earn service credit under LAGERS. However, the reduced monthly wages are not included in their final average salary calculation. In other words, an employee’s benefit will not be penalized because he or she went on military leave or worker’s compensation.
These are just a few of the components that may stump you while completing your monthly wage report for LAGERS. Hopefully this blog helps clear up some of these common issues for you. However, you can reference your administrative handbook or contact the LAGERS office for any additional questions you may have!