Most state employees are offered a retirement benefit through the Wisconsin Retirement System. 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 WRS employee. Employee-required contributions are approximately half of the total required WRS contribution; the state pays the other half. Employees initially employed on or after July 1, 2011, who have no prior WRS employment, have vested rights to the WRS-employer contribution after five full years WRS-creditable service.
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
Employees are granted 4.5 days of personal holiday time.
The state provides nine legal holidays with pay:
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Eve Day
- Christmas Day
- New Year's Eve Day
Full-time employees can earn up to 130 hours of sick leave each year. The unused sick leave will accumulate from year to year. Upon retirement, the state matches a certain amount of the unused sick leave, and the entire balance can be converted to pay health insurance premiums.
Employees can choose from a variety of health insurance plans and health insurance companies. Coverage can start within one month, however, the state contribution toward the premium is not effective until after two months of state employment under the WRS.
All WRS covered employees may have group term life insurance coverage in an amount up to five times his/her annual salary. The state contributes part of the premium for the first two units (x2) of coverage and the employee is responsible for the remaining three units (x3) of coverage. Employees may also secure coverage for their spouse (up to $20,000) and dependents (up to $10,000) each.
Income Continuation Insurance
All WRS covered employees are eligible to apply for income continuation insurance coverage. This benefit ensures that employees will receive up to 75% of their gross salary for physical or mental disabilities certified by a physician. The state contribution, which can range from 0% to 100%, is contingent upon an employee's accrual and use of sick leave.
Supplemental dental coverage, hospital and surgical indemnity, accidental death and dismemberment, and optional vision materials coverage are features of this insurance. Employees pay the full premium.
Some dental coverage is included in most of the group health insurance plans. In addition, there are several dental plans available to choose from. Employees pay the full premium.
Evaluations for visual acuity are generally covered by health insurance. For eyeglass frames, lenses, or for vision exams outside of your health network, optional vision care insurance is available to state employees, annuitants and dependents. Employees pay the full premium.
Employees can choose to enroll in an accidental injury plan, or a plan that pays a set sum in the case of loss of a limb or vision, for instance. Employees pay the full premium.
Long-Term Care Insurance
This insurance covers long-term home health care, assisted living, community-based care and nursing home care. The plan is available to state employees and annuitants, including their spouses, 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 daycare expenses from pre-tax income.
Commuter Benefits Program
The Commuter Benefits Program allows employees to save money on eligible parking and transit costs by using pre-tax dollars to pay for bus passes, parking expenses and other mass transit costs.
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 $22,500 in 2023 ($20,500 in 2022 and $19,500 in 2020 and 2021).
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.