Retirement Savings

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MSRS Furlough Repayment

Civil Service and Labor-Represented employees who took furlough hours during the COVID-19 pandemic have the option of making up the pension contributions missed during furlough.

How does the furlough impact my retirement benefits? Should I pay for the missed contributions? This payment is typically only beneficial if the furlough caused you to earn partial service credit (which is unlikely) or you are in your highest five years of earnings. Making the payment would restore the missed earnings to be included in the MSRS pension benefit formula.

Since most employees likely still earned full MSRS service credit during the furlough or are not in their highest five years of earnings, most employees would not benefit from the payment. This MSRS resource can help you learn how your pension is calculated; you may also call MSRS at 800-657-5757 to discuss your individual situation with an MSRS pension counselor. 

 Is there a deadline? Yes. Missed contributions plus interest must be paid within one year of using the furlough hours or by the end of University employment, whichever comes first. 

There are two separate deadlines for the two different furlough periods (Fall 2020 & Spring 2021). The one-year payment window is based on the date you return to work after using all furlough hours for that period, so someone who used all their furlough hours by September 2020 for the Fall 2020 furlough period would have a payment deadline of September 2021. 

If payment is not made within one year of the furlough end date, the cost may be actuarial based rather than simply contributions plus interest (which means it’s more expensive!).

 What is the cost? The cost is based on the missed earnings from the furlough hours; you would pay the employee contribution (6%) and the employer contribution (6.25%), plus interest. Interest starts accruing when the one-year payment window opens; it’s less expensive if you take action earlier.

Sample calculation: An employee earning $32 an hour had 31.25 hours of furlough. The missed earnings would be $1,000 ($32 x 31.25 hours); the cost would be $122.50 plus interest (12.25% x $1,000).

 How do I pay for the missed contributions? Employees pay the missed contributions plus interest directly to MSRS; contact MSRS (800-657-5757) for your payment cost and paperwork. Besides sending a personal check to MSRS, you may have the option to transfer money from another qualified retirement account (such as the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, or a Traditional IRA). Payroll deduction for the payment is not an option.

READY to take action? Call MSRS at 800-657-5757 to get started.

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Primary Retirement Plans

Benefits-eligible employees are automatically enrolled in a primary retirement plan based on their employee group:

FRP - UMN Faculty Retirement Plan logo

Faculty Retirement Plan: For Faculty and P&A Staff

Faculty and P&A are invested in a defined contribution plan known as a 401(a) plan administered by Fidelity Investments. Learn more about plan eligibility, performance, and the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs Retirement Subcommittee.

MSRS - Minnesota State Retirement System logo

Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS): For Civil Service and Labor-Represented Staff

This is a defined benefit savings plan, commonly known as a pension, provides a monthly benefit for life. Eligible employees are automatically enrolled starting the first day of employment. Learn more about the General Plan by visiting the MSRS site or watching a short video.

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Save More with Voluntary Retirement Plans

Faculty and staff can save additional money for retirement through one or both voluntary plans:

You are eligible to contribute to a voluntary plan if you are a Faculty, P&A, Civil Service, or Labor-Represented employee paid on a continuous basis.

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More Retirement Resources

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Looking for Help?

  • Call the Benefits Contact Center 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.
  • Call Fidelity at 800-343-0860 for help or investment advice.
  • Minnesota State Retirement System participants can call 651-296-2761 or 800-657-5757.