Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Defined Contribution - Wages & Contribution Reporting

Wage Submission and Verification (full version, 5 min)
Reporting Process

(Recorded Webinar)
Defined Contribution (including DC portion of Hybrid), 457 and Health Care Savings Program.

Wage and Contribution Guide
DC Wage Upload Template
DC+ Wage Upload Template  (required format as of 10/13/2015)
DC Upload Schema File
DC+ Upload Schema File
The schema file can be shared with your payroll company to provide a description, length and format for each field of the wage template.  Note the following fields are required: MERS Plan Number, Social Security Number, Last/First Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Date of Birth, Date of Hire and Participant Status. If you are reporting a participant status change to Terminated (T), then a date of termination is required. If the participant is a rehire and previously was in terminated status, then the date of rehire is required.
View frequently asked questions

2017 Update
In order to meet the needs of our customers and participants, MERS is making it easier for employers to submit and verify wages of defined contribution participants in 2017.

Learn more:
Video- Wage Submission and Verification

Reporting Wages for Defined Contribution

In order to generate Snapshot retirement readiness reports for your employees enrolled in the MERS Defined Contribution Plan, we ask that you report wages and contributions for these employees. You can do so by using one of the following reporting methods:

  • Use the DC Wage Upload Template and upload the file to your secure Employer Portal
    • See resources on the right side of this page.
  • Manually enter the information in the Employer Portal

For more information, click here to view the Wage, Contribution and Employer Portal Guide (pdf).

Other Plan Administration Information

Using Elapsed Time to Calculate Vesting (Service) for the Defined Contribution Plan (including the DC portion of hybrid)
Unless otherwise adopted by the employer, defined contribution plans earn service based on elapsed time. Elapsed time looks at only the date of hire and date of termination to calculate time toward meeting vesting.

Example: If an employee has a hire date of 10/1/2013 and termination date of 10/5/2014, one year of service is earned toward vesting. If the termination date was 9/15/2014, no service would be earned.

Elapsed time has been applied to all active participant records. Participant who were terminated prior to October 2015 will have service calculated based on when contributions were reported by their employer in each month. When applying service credit from defined contribution to defined benefit, months can still be applied to help a participant reach their defined benefit vesting. When applying service toward a defined contribution record from a defined benefit or another defined contribution plan, all time (by months) will be considered, although only full year increments count to reach vesting.

MERS-to-MERS Service Coordination for Defined Contribution (include the DC portion of hybrid)
Employees who would like to verify MERS-to-MERS time for inclusion in DC service should contact the MERS Service Center at 800.767.MERS (6377) or fill out and submit the MERS-to-MERS Service Verification Form (form md-016). MERS-to-MERS time will only apply before a DC distribution is taken or a forfeiture occurs, ensuring that employers will not incur future liabilities.

Forfeiture Rules
MERS will initiate a forfeiture of non-vested funds from former employees after a period of five years has passed from the date of termination.

However, any participant with a termination date of January 1, 2017 or later who has not met the requirements to become vested in their employer contributions will forfeit non-vested assets after a period of one year or a withdrawal of his or her entire vested account balance has occurred. MERS-to-MERS or Act 88 time may be used to meet vesting requirements as long as the time is earned before the forfeiture occurs. Additionally, time earned at the former employer may be used toward vesting and eligibility at a future MERS employer.

Forfeitures are pulled four times per year - February, May, July and November.

Quick Enrollment
When enrolling an employee in the MERS Defined Contribution Plan, employers should use this quick enrollment form (form MD-000) which reduces the amount of information an employee is asked to provide in order to enroll. Additionally this form lessens the amount of time and administrative oversight needed to enroll your employees into the DC plan.

Submitting New Hire Information to MERS
To begin reporting for a new hire, simply add them to your payroll file. For more information on the new hire communication process, click here. Please remind your new hires that they need to complete and submit beneficiary information to MERS as soon as possible. Here is the link to our beneficiary form (form MD-003).

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Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information?s accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.MERS (6377).