The MERS Defined Benefit reporting portal was designed with you in mind. Based on employer feedback and focus groups, MERS is improving the performance of DB monthly reporting. Here’s some enhancements you can look for coming soon:
New Payroll Report Template
MERS is in the process of enhancing the defined benefit portion of the employer portal to provide streamlined navigation and upgraded system capabilities. With the upgrade, you will notice that your defined benefit employer account has a fresh new look with updates to the monthly reporting section.
These enhancements require slight modifications to the defined benefit payroll report template that you have recently used to upload wages, contributions and service credit. Once the upgraded portal goes live, you will need to use the new template in order to use the upload feature to submit your monthly report.
When preparing your report to upload, you will no longer need to remove the header row. The header row with the exact field names in the table below (minus the asterisks) will be required to upload your payroll report.
The seven fields of the upload file are:
Which Fields Will Change?
- Termination Date – Previously called “status date”
- Pre-Tax Contributions – Previously combined with “post-tax” in one contribution field
- Post-Tax Contributions – Previously combined with “pre-tax” in one contribution field
- Service – Previously called “service credit” and will now use “Y” for yes and “N” for no to specify if service credit will be awarded
Which Fields Will Be Removed?
- Contribution Discrepancy – column removed to simplify the reporting process. If a discrepancy code is needed, the portal will flag the contribution and instruct you on how to fix it.
- Wage Discrepancy – column removed to simplify the reporting process. If a discrepancy code is needed, the portal will flag the wage and instruct you on how to fix it.
- Contribution Tax Code – column removed due to splitting out “pre-tax” and “post-tax” contributions
IMPORTANT: You must continue using the old template until the new portal goes live.
New Options to Pay Your Monthly DB Invoices
In order to meet the unique needs of each municipality, and based on feedback we’ve received from customers, MERS now offers the option to pay monthly invoices for the defined benefit plan using either a percentage of payroll method or a flat billing method.
Percentage of payroll is the default payment method for open divisions and allows a municipality to allocate plan costs by employee. As employees enter and exit the plan, monthly contributions are adjusted to accommodate the new participant counts. This is the best option for municipalities that prefer to pay the actual cost of the plan on a monthly basis.
The flat billing payment method is the default payment method for closed divisions and provides employers with one flat rate that they will pay on a monthly basis, regardless of plan participation. Each year the annual actuarial valuation use the actual plan experience to calculate the next year’s cost. This is the best option for municipalities that prefer to budget an exact amount to pay each month.
In your Annual Actuarial Valuation, the Required Employer Contributions table in the Executive Summary shows what your monthly plan costs will be for both options. Payment methods may be switched at any time throughout the year by contacting MERS.
Submission Acknowledgment Button
We know how valuable your time is! We have streamlined the data validations to speed up your reporting process. Now checking a simple box at the end will acknowledge that your information is accurate.
Voluntary Contributions Reports
Voluntary contributions can now be submitted at a division level, ensuring that contributions are correctly applied to division you intended. Additionally now reporting voluntary contributions can be done outside of your regular reporting cycle and can be cancelled prior to submission.
Other enhancements include:
- The function to report voluntary contributions is located under Wage Reporting and the page title will be “Voluntary Contributions”
- The voluntary contribution report will be available as a bill summary PDF file
- You will receive an invoice and can make payments on the ePayment site
- Back-dating does not allow for earnings retroactively – gains and losses will be based on date paid, not reporting period
- This option will be available for any division with participants or retirees, even if the division is closed
Unsubmitted Report Changes
New functionality allows portal users to see what reports are pending and provides the ability to cancel or delete a report without contacting MERS.
Membership Application Changes
Employers are no longer required to enter beneficiaries to create a new member application, MERS will ensure beneficiaries are submitted by communicating with new hires directly. Learn more about the new hire enrollment process by selecting your program and looking under administration.