Employer Digest

Summer 2022

NEW PENSION ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM COMING TO OP&F IN 2024

As mentioned in previous editions of the Employer Digest, OP&F is in the process of replacing the current pension administration system with updates and enhancements for both members and employers. This summer, video conference and onsite navigation testing at OP&F are occurring. The new pension administration system is on track to go live sometime in 2024.

Once the new system is implemented, OP&F employers will continue to report member pension data online, but with a more intuitive and accessible interface than the current version. OP&F will ask employers for feedback, including a survey, and they will be updated on the process as the new system design progresses toward completion. Employers will be notified of any updates ahead of time.

In advance of the new system implementation, OP&F reminds employers of the importance to report member payroll data electronically, either through the employer self-serve import method or the employer self-serve manual entry method. By using one of our electronic reporting methods, payroll data can be processed more rapidly because the need to input information manually by OP&F staff is eliminated. Online reporting eliminates the possibility of a report being delayed or lost in the mail, which could result in statutory penalties. When the new system is implemented, paper reporting will likely no longer be accepted.

Each month, OP&F receives more than 900 reports of retirement deductions from employers. These reports contain vital information related to member wages, pension deductions, and hours scheduled and worked. Once these reports are processed, each member’s ledger is updated and service credit is applied. Retirement and disability payments cannot be processed until all payroll information is received and any issues are resolved. Therefore, when a member files for retirement or disability, if OP&F already has this correct information on record benefits will be calculated quickly and efficiently.

If an employer is interested in switching from paper to electronic payroll reporting or would like a demonstration, please contact Employer Education at 1-614-628-8311.

OP&F is working with LifeWorks on the new system, a recognized leader in designing and implementing employee benefit programs, including pension administration. LifeWorks serves over 24,000 organizations nationally and internationally.

EMPLOYER SERVICES GROUP CONTACTS

The OP&F Employer Services Group ensures the accuracy and completeness of employer payroll reports, often working one-on-one with an employer's payroll clerk. Please feel free to contact the employer’s designated payroll representative for any questions or assistance in completing and submitting a payroll report. The designated payroll representative for each employer changes from time to time so be sure to check the OP&F website regularly for updates. The Employer Services Group chart has been updated for August and is found on the OP&F website by clicking here and is updated whenever there is a change.

MILITARY PAY

Ohio law provides that members serving in the uniformed services are entitled to a leave of absence from their respective positions for up to one month, which is defined as 176 hours or 22 eight–hour work days for police officers, and 408 hours or seventeen 24-hour work days for firefighters, for each Federal fiscal year in which they are serving. Federal fiscal year means the year beginning on the first day of October, and ending on the 30th day of September. Service in the uniformed services includes reservist and National Guard duty that covers weekends and two-week encampments where a member’s work schedule is impacted. Therefore, these members are entitled to receive their base salary as if they were still with the employer, for up to one month.

For more specifics and exceptions on military pay reporting and differential pay, including the principle of “Home Rule Authority” please refer to the OP&F Employer Manual pages 31-32.

EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS CALCULATOR

To assist in payroll reporting, the OP&F website has an employer contributions calculator with instructions for use. This calculator looks at the employer report as a whole and then applies the appropriate contribution percentages separating police and fire.

Employer contribution rates at OP&F are 19.5 percent of reportable payrolls of police officers and 24.0 percent for firefighters. This is in addition to the member's contribution, which is a percentage of the gross pensionable wages for full time police officers and firefighters. Member contributions are not included in the calculator.

The Employer Contributions Calculator can be found by clicking here.

OP&F EMPLOYER COURTESY NOTICE EMAIL

Employers who have not submitted their monthly Report of Retirement Deductions or contributions will no longer receive a monthly courtesy call. Instead, a reminder email will be sent to all employers at least two days prior to the due date at the end of the month. This email will go to all employers, even if a payroll report has already been submitted. If this is the situation and payroll contributions have already been submitted, the employer can disregard the message.

To access the Employer Self Service website, you can log in at the Login self-serve link. If you need any assistance with payroll reporting, please do not hesitate to contact your Employer Services Group representative. An employer’s ESS can be found on the OP&F website at Employer Services Contacts.

TERMINATION PAY

When members terminate employment, they may receive several types of termination pay that they accrued during their active career. This termination pay is generally not pensionable. However, if termination pay includes holidays or longevity that was earned within the last year, these items are pensionable and need to be included on the final payroll. When these items are not properly reported on the member’s final payroll, OP&F must later charge the member for any missing member contributions and notify the employers of payments due from them for the employer contributions. This process is time consuming and creates confusion for all parties involved. Please contact your Employer Services Contact if you have a member terminating employment and you have questions about processing their final payments.

IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES

Important dates and deadlines are also posted on OP&F’s website under the Employers menu in the Calendar of Billing Deadlines and Events section.

AUGUST

31 Payroll deductions, member and employer contributions and payroll reports for July 2022

SEPTEMBER

30 Payroll deductions, member and employer contributions and payroll reports for August 2022

OCTOBER

31 Payroll deductions, member and employer contributions and payroll reports for September 2022

OP&F provides the Employer Digest as a general reference material in order to assist employers in properly reporting required contributions to OP&F, as well as submitting the required forms and materials that are necessary to provide benefits for our members. As a general reference material, the Employer Digest may not sufficiently represent all of the details applicable to the subjects discussed. Nothing contained in this newsletter is meant to interpret, extend or change, in any way, OP&F’s governing statutes, administrative rules or policies. If you have any questions or need information on any subjects referenced in the Employer Digest, please contact OP&F.

COPYRIGHT © 2022 by Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, All Rights Reserved.

Posted 8/30/2022