Membership - School

Employer Manual

Under Kansas law, KPERS membership is mandatory for any employee in a “covered” position. It is a condition of employment. “Covered” means the position is eligible for KPERS benefits.

Position Requirements

  • Covered by Social Security
  • At least 630 hours of paid work per year
  • Continuously or consistently employed
  • Not temporary (temporary is less than 6 months)
  • Not seasonal (life guarding, summer mowing, etc.

It’s critical to track the hours an employee works. Carefully monitor temporary and seasonal employees and those working less than 630 hours. An employee hired in a non-covered position might later be in a covered position due to a change in position or job responsibilities.

YES: The position is at least 630 hours a year (e.g., 3.5 hours a day) and meets the other requirements.

NO: An employee works over 630 hours, but only during the spring and summer mowing, etc. This is seasonal.

NO: Someone is hired to do a special project that lasts only a few months. These are temporary positions.

NO: Someone works an hour or two each day. This position is not covered. But monitor hours. If he or she consistently works at least four hours per day, you need revisit your position description for this job. If the employee continues to work four or more hours, you need to enroll the employee in KPERS.

The following guidelines will help school districts determine whether substitute teachers are working in KPERS-covered positions. The employer is responsible for following these guidelines and for monitoring the hours worked by substitute teachers.

Substitute Teacher (Daily Call) — A daily call substitute teacher is one who is paid on a daily basis for services rendered. This teacher has control over the number of hours he or she works as a substitute. Daily call subs may choose to work 630 hours or more per school year but are not required to work at least 630 hours. Daily call substitute teachers are not eligible for KPERS membership.

If you have a daily call substitute teacher who is continuously working more than 630 hours per school year, you may want to re-examine this position. Changing the position description to require a long-term substitute, instead, may prevent an arrearage situation for the school district.

Long-Term Substitute Teacher — This teacher is hired to substitute every day for one school district. The teacher is required to substitute at different schools in this school district only. Because long-term subs are required to substitute in the same district every day, they will normally work more than the 630 hours required for KPERS membership. If a school district hires a substitute teacher who is regularly required to work at least 630 hours per school year, that substitute teacher is in a covered position. KPERS membership is required.

Long-term substitutes should become KPERS members on their first day of employment, not after they’ve worked 630 hours.

Temporary Teacher — A school district may appoint a teacher to a temporary position for a short period of time (3 weeks, 6 weeks, etc.). Temporary positions are not eligible for KPERS membership. If the temporary teacher is later appointed permanently to the position because the regular teacher is not able to return to work, the temporary teacher now becomes the replacement teacher. KPERS participation is then required for the replacement teacher. The “temporary turned replacement” teacher should be enrolled as a KPERS member and begin contributing to KPERS on the date the district is informed the regular teacher is not returning.

Replacement Teacher If a replacement teacher is hired during the year to replace a teacher who, for whatever reason, could not complete the school year, and the replacement is assigned permanently to the position held by the former teacher, that replacement teacher is in a covered position. KPERS membership is required, and the replacement teacher becomes a KPERS member when first employed by the district as a replacement teacher.

Substitute Teacher (Daily Call)

  • District uses a computer system that allows a sub to choose the day(s) they sub, sub signs up for 3 days same class.
  • In April, District calls a sub to a classroom 5 days in a row.
  • Sub logs into computer system daily and accepts an assignment every day for the entire year, in either the same school district or different school districts.

Long-Term Substitute Teacher

  • Sub starts at beginning of the school year. She is assigned to grade school, then high school, then back to another grade school, all in same District. She is required to report to work the entire school year, every day.
  • “Building sub” position requires sub to be in the same building every day, but in varying classrooms as needed.

Replacement Teacher

  • District hires a teacher to start at the beginning of the year, but the teacher is unable to start due to sickness and will not return. In October, the district hires another teacher. Replacement teacher is enrolled in October.
  • Sub starts at the beginning of the school year to fill a position that was never filled. The District hires a full time person (different than the sub) in November. Sub is considered temporary teacher, full-time person is the replacement teacher and enrolled when employed.
  • In January, District finds out that the original teacher is not returning for the rest of the school year and asks the sub, who has been in the classroom for three weeks, to remain in the classroom. At that point, the sub becomes a replacement teacher.

Temporary Teacher

  • District hires sub for one semester, which is 692 hours, until replacement teacher is hired.
  • In April, teacher goes on medical leave due to health issue and expects to be gone 4 weeks. District asks same sub to teach class for 4 weeks until teacher returns.

Whether a worker is an employee or an “independent contractor” is a federal tax issue. It is your responsibility to determine if an individual performing services is an independent contractor or employee. If the worker is considered an employee by the IRS and the position meets KPERS membership requirements, the person must be enrolled as a KPERS member.

The IRS has created tests to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Test factors are grouped into three categories:

  1. Behavior Control
  2. Financial Control
  3. Relationship of the parties

The test includes questions like: What training is required? Who hires, supervises and pays for assistants? Who determines the individual’s hours? Will the individual work on the employer’s premises? Who supplies tools and materials? Does the employer control how results are achieved? Does the worker have an opportunity to make a profit or take a loss? Does the worker have employee benefits like health insurance and paid vacation?

If the employer controls the worker in largely the same way the employer controls employees, then the worker is most likely not an independent contractor according to the IRS. If you hire someone you consider an independent contractor, we recommend you consult an attorney or your normal source for guidance on payroll withholding and tax matters. See IRS publication: Independent Contractor or Employee?

Generally, classified employees become KPERS members and unclassified employees become members of the Kansas Board of Regents Mandatory Retirement Plan.

Check out our new KBOR section of the Employer Manual.

Employees with green cards

Issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Permanent Resident Card – commonly known as the “Green Card” – gives immigrants the legal right to live and work in the United States. A covered employee with a green card is a KPERS member.

Employees with work visas

Yes: Foreign workers on a visa (except J-1 or F-1) who have an SSN.

No: Employees with a J-1 or F-1 visa.

Anyone who is:

  • Contributing to the Kansas Board of Regents Mandatory Retirement Plan.
  • A State officer or in certain unclassified positions who elected KPERS 457, the State's Deferred Compensation Plan, instead of KPERS.
  • Contributing to United States Civil Service or the Federal Employees Retirement System. This does not affect those receiving a pension, just those contributing
  • Paid by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) as type II or VI.
  • Exempt from Social Security coverage.
  • Working in this country on a J-1 or F-1 visa.

KPERS has three benefit structures: KPERS 1, KPERS 2, and KPERS 3. All new employees hired in KPERS-covered positions should be enrolled in KPERS 3.

In the KPERS plan, there are three benefit structures: KPERS 1, KPERS 2, and KPERS 3*. In the KP&F plan, there are two benefit structures: KP&F Tier I and KP&F Tier II.

Hint: When you enroll employees on the employer web portal, the system will tell you in which benefit structures they are enrolled.

*All new employees hired in KPERS-covered positions should be enrolled in KPERS 3.

  • Contributing members only July 1, 2009.
  • On military leave and returned to work.
  • On leave of absence up to one year and returned to work.
  • Employees who were in their "year of service" between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 and were still employed on July 1, 2009.
  • Active Board of Regents members who have KPERS service and have had no break in service.
  • Inactive members vested with at least 9.5 years of service before July 1, 2009.
  • Members hired before July 1, 2009, who are inactive because they moved to a non-covered position with the same employer with no break in service (started a new position within three days).

Grace Period — Non-vested school members have a grace period from May 1 to September 30 of the same year if they transfer from school to school. If they leave outside of these dates, the grace period is 30 days. If they go from school membership to non-school membership, they have a 30-day grace period.

Note: In 2008, Julie worked for USD 259 Wichita Public Schools as a KPERS 1 member with three years of service (not vested). Julie ended employment with USD 259 at the end of that school year and went to work for USD 305 Salina in August. Julie was within the grace period and continued as a KPERS 1 member.

If Julie had ended employment with USD 259 and not gone to work for another school by September 30, she would have become a KPERS 2 member if she returned to work before 2015. She become a KPERS 3 member if she returned Jan 1, 2015, or after.

Reminder: After leaving employment as a non-vested member, Julie continues to earn interest for 5 years (3 years if KPERS 3 member). If she does not return to KPERS affiliated employment in 5 years, she must withdraw contributions and interest.

  • All members first employed in covered positions on or after July 1, 2009, and before January 1, 2015
  • Inactive members who were not vested on July 1, 2009 (had less than 9.5 years), and returned to employment before January 1, 2015
  • KPERS 1 members who left employment before vesting and returned to employment before January 1, 2015
  • Formers members who withdrew their accounts and began a new membership on or after July 1, 2009, and before January 1, 2015
  • Active Board of Regents members who have KPERS service and have had no break in service.
  • Inactive members vested with at least 9.5 years of service before July 1, 2009.
  • Members hired before July 1, 2009, who are inactive because they moved to a non-covered position with the same employer with no break in service (started a new position within three days).
  • All members (except correctional) first employed in covered positions on or after January 1, 2015
  • KPERS 1 or KPERS 2 members who left employment before vesting and returned to employment on or after January 1, 2015
  • Former members who withdrew their accounts and began a new membership on or after January 1, 2015

Totality of employment affects a member when he or she is paid for working extra jobs with the same employer (e.g., lawn work, janitorial work, etc.). A member working in a KPERS-covered position must have contributions deducted from all pay earned from all work with the same employer.

While this increases a member’s salary, it doesn’t add additional service credit. By law, members can earn only one calendar quarter of service credit for any employment within any quarter.

Dual membership is when an employee works for two or more KPERS employers and all positions have KPERS benefits.

Each employer submits an enrollment. The second KPERS employer enrolls the employee as a dual employee. The employee’s membership date is the one established with the first employer.

Both employers deduct member contributions. Both employers make employer contributions. If an employee is purchasing service credit by payroll deduction, KPERS service purchase contributions will be deducted by each KPERS employer. Dual employment will increase the member’s salary, but won’t add additional years of service credit. By law, members can earn only one calendar quarter of participating service credit for any employment within any quarter.

Dual employment is not working in a covered position at one employer and in a non-covered position with another employer. Dual employment can be working at a non-school employer and at a school employer, as long as both positions are eligible for KPERS benefits.

Example 1: Dan works 630 hours a year with USD 501 Topeka. He also works 630 hours a year with USD 437 Auburn-Washburn. Both positions meet KPERS eligibility requirements. He is a member at both employers. Contributions are made on both salaries.

Example 2: Dan works 630 hours a year with USD 501. He also works 500 hours a year with USD 437. Only the USD 501 position meets KPERS eligibility requirements. Only USD 501 enrolls him and deducts contributions.

Concurrent employment is when an employee combines hours from two or more school employers to reach the 630 hours to be eligible for membership. KPERS school membership requires 630 hours of paid work per school year. Employees in this situation need to elect membership. It is not automatic. Once they elect membership, the employer is required to enroll them. Quick Vids: Enrollments

  • Position covered by Social Security
  • Employed with two or more school employers at the same time
  • A combined total of at least 630 hours of paid work per school year
  • Continuous or consistent employment
  • Not temporary (temporary is less than 6 months)
  • Not seasonal (snow removal, summer moving, etc.)

Each school year, on the first day of employment, provide a School Employee Certification of Concurrent Employment form (KPERS 1-C) to all non-seasonal, permanent employees whose positions require fewer than 630 hours or fewer than 3.5 hours per day for 180 days. If the employee marks “yes,” to elect membership, submit the completed form to KPERS and begin deducting KPERS contributions. If the employee marks “no,” keep the form for the employee’s record, but do not send the form to KPERS. The employee needs to complete a form for each employer every year.

The KPERS-1C form is for the current school year only. Once a school year passes and the employee did not elect participation, he or she cannot go back and pick up past years.

With concurrent employment, both employers deduct member contributions. Both employers make employer contributions. If an employee is purchasing service credit by payroll deduction, KPERS buyback contributions are deducted by each KPERS employer. Concurrent employment will increase the member’s salary, but won’t add additional years of service credit. By law, members can earn only one calendar quarter of participating service credit for any employment within any quarter.

Employers must recertify concurrent employees each year to continue membership. If an employee is working enough hours in any position for it to be a KPERS-covered position on its own, then concurrent employment does not apply.

Example 1: Amy works 430 hours a year with USD 327 Ellsworth. She also works 200 hours a year with USD 328 Lorraine. Both positions are covered by Social Security and meet the other KPERS eligibility requirements except for hours worked. She can combine employment hours to be eligible for membership. Contributions are made with both employers on both salaries.

Example 2: Amy works 630 hours a year with USD 327 Ellsworth. She also works 200 hours a year with USD 328 Lorraine. The position with USD 327 Ellsworth is a covered position on its own. The USD 328 Lorraine position is not KPERS-covered. This is not concurrent employment. Contributions are made only on the USD 327 Ellsworth salary

If an employee leaves one employer and the remaining position(s) don’t meet the 630-hour requirement, the remaining employers stop contributions and submit an end date for the employee record in the EWP using “non-covered” as the reason code. The system automatically generates a “non-covered” employee record and removes him or her from the pay report.

Totality of employment affects a member when he or she is paid for working extra jobs with the same employer (e.g., lawn work, janitorial work, etc.). A member working in a KPERS-covered position must have contributions deducted from all pay earned from all work with the same employer.

While this increases a member’s salary, it doesn’t add additional service credit. By law, members can earn only one calendar quarter of service credit for any employment within any quarter.

When employees move from a covered position to a non-covered position, they stop making contributions and earning service credit. They are no longer eligible for disability coverage or group life insurance. Submit an end date for their employee record in the EWP using “Non-covered” as the reason. The system automatically generates a “non-covered” employee record. Quick Vid: End Date

While officially considered “inactive,” these members can’t withdraw contributions because they are still employed by a KPERS employer. This includes employees moving from a KPERS-covered position to one covered by the Regents Mandatory Retirement Plan. They can withdraw contributions when they end employment.

If this person returns to a covered position, enter an end date in the non-covered record with a “Return to payroll” reason. If the person ends employment in the covered position, enter an end date with “Termination” reason.

When employees leave

When an employee takes a personal or medical leave of absence, enter an end date in his or her employee record on the EWP with the “Leave of absence” reason. The system automatically generates a leave of absence record. If it’s a military leave, choose “Military leave” reason.

Leave of Absence

An employer can grant a leave of absence for up to one year without affecting the employee's KPERS membership. After one year of absence, the employee automatically becomes an inactive member. Employees cannot withdraw during leaves of absence and do not earn service credit. See the Leave of Absence section of Leaving KPERS-Covered Employment.

Military Service

Membership during military service is protected as long as the employee is in active service and doesn’t withdraw. Members in active military service have other continuing benefits.

  • Continuing basic life insurance while on active duty at no cost to member.
  • Continuing optional life insurance for 16 months. The member continues to pay the premiums. After 16 months, he or she has an option to convert or port an individual policy.
  • Optional coverage is reinstated if member returns to work within five years, even if he or she did not choose to convert or port to an individual policy.
  • There is no disability coverage during military service.
  • If in the middle of a service credit purchase when called to active duty, the member's purchase resumes when he or she gets back and nothing changes.

Disability

Membership is protected while receiving KPERS disability benefits. Members continue to earn service credit and covered for basic group life insurance. They may also continue any optional group life insurance at their current group rate.

Breaking School Contracts

Click here for what you do if a licensed employee resigns before the end of the school year.

When employees come back to work

Enter an end date in his or her leave of absence or military leave record using "Return to payroll" as the reason. This will populate the system and you do not re-enroll.

Returning active military personnel are eligible to reinstate their previous optional life insurance if they had it through your employer when they left. Also, they may be eligible for granted or purchased service.

Type of Leave Basic Coverage Optional Coverage

Military

Continued during active military duty, paid from KPERS fund Make sure the contact information is up to-date in the employer web portal.
return to work Reinstated If employee returns w/in 5 years, coverage is reinstated, even if they did not elect continuation

Employee Illness

under age 65
Including KPERS
Long-term Disability
Employer pays coverage if employee on payroll (using sick leave, short-term disability, etic.)
Employee off payroll, employer stops paying, employee still covered for first 180 days

Move out of insured plan into self-funded plan after 180-day waiting period for eligibility under the KPERS Long-term Disability Plan (LTD)
Can choose direct-pay and continue coverage until the earliest of the following: recovery, retirement, reach age 65, withdraw
return to work Reinstated If employee returns w/in 3 months, coverage is reinstated, even if did not elect continuation.

If returns after 3 months, employee can apply for coverage, but must answer health questions

Employee Illness

under age 65
Including KPERS
Long-term Disability
Continue employer-paid coverage if employee on payroll

Employee off payroll, employer stops paying, employee still covered for 180 days

Move out of insured plan into self-funded plan after 180-day waiting period for eligibility under the KPERS Long-term Disability Plan (LTD)
Terminated. Must convert or port to continue coverage
return to work Reinstated Must convert or port (port up to age 70) to continue coverage
Type of Leave Basic Coverage Optional Coverage

School Employee

during summer
Continued Continued. Employer deducts premium in advance of summer
return to work Can apply for new coverage, but must answer health question

State Employee

on furlough
Continued up to 12 months Can choose coverage direct-pay and continue coverage for 12 months

After 12 months, must covert or port to keep coverage
return to work Reinstated If employee returns w/in 3 months, coverage is reinstated, even if they did not elect continuation

If returns after 3 months, employee can apply for coverage but must answer health questions

KBOR Employee

Non-medical leave
Can choose direct-pay and continue coverage Can choose direct-pay and continue coverage up to 3 years
return to work Reinstated If employee returns w/in 3 months, coverage is reinstated, even if they did not elect continuation

If returns after 3 months, employee can apply for coverage but must answer health questions

Other Leave

Terminated Can choose direct-pay and continue coverage for 12 months

After 12 months, must convert or port to keep coverage
return to work Reinstated If employee returns w/in 3 months, coverage is reinstated, even if they did not elect continuation

If returns after 3 months, employee can apply for coverage but must answer health questions.

*Employee is billed and pays The Standard directly instead of through payroll deduction

  1. While working or during the waiting period after retirement, prearrangements to return to work are not allowed.
  2. Retirees do not make contributions, unless they are returning to a different retirement plan as an active member (e.g. KP&F retiree returning to KPERS).
  3. Employers pay the statutory contribution rate on all retiree pay for the first $25,000. It’s 30% after pay passes $25,000. See Working After Retirement.

Waiting period (working after retirement)

KPERS Age 62+ = 60 days
KPERS Under age 62 = 180 days
KP&F 30 days

To calculate the waiting period, count the day after the retirement date as day one. This is their Retirement System retirement date, not their last day on payroll.

Membership date is the date an employee becomes a member. Purchasing service credit doesn’t change it. Rules and benefits are sometimes affected by membership date.

If an employee appears to be retroactively eligible for KPERS:

  1. Retrace the employee’s work history and determine the date the employee began to work in a KPERS-covered position
  2. Enroll the member. Quick Vid: Enrollment
  3. Complete an adjustment. Quick Vid: Adjustments

In addition to enrolling the employee, past contributions are also due. KPERS will collect them as part of the adjustment process.

Complete a Request for Member Information Change form (KPERS-12) to change or correct a member’s personal information record. You’ll need to include a copy of the appropriate documentation that reflects the new or corrected information. See the form for details.

You can mail this and other forms and proof documents to KPERS, or you can send it to use using the EWP message function.

Both active members and employers contribute to KPERS.

KPERS 1 KPERS 2 KPERS 3 Judges KP&F
6% 6% 6% 6% 7.15%

Contribution rates are set by Kansas law. Contributions are made on gross pay from each pay period on a pretax basis. See Quick Vid: Pay Report.

Member contributions are credited to the member’s account under his or her name and Social Security number. Kansas law does not allow members to borrow from their KPERS account.

Contributions are not included in the employee’s income for federal income tax, but are included for Kansas state income tax purposes. Employees need to make a specific entry on their Kansas income tax return. Some employers provide this amount in Box 14 on the W-2 form (labeled KPERS).

KPERS 1 and KPERS 2 interest is credited annually on June 30, based on the account balance for the previous December 31 (e.g., interest credited June 30, 2018, is based on account balance as of December 31, 2017). KPERS 3 interest is credited quarterly

  • Member before July 1, 1993 (KPERS 1), interest = 7%
  • Member on or after July 1, 1993 (KPERS 1 or KPERS 2), interest = 4%
  • Member on or after January 1, 2015 (KPERS 3), interest = 4% + possible additional according to statutory formula, based on KPERS investment returns.

Vested members who leave employment continue to earn interest. Non-vested members earn interest for five years but must withdraw their money after five years (two years for KPERS 3 members) unless working in a non-covered position.

For KPERS 1 and KPERS 2 members, account balance has no effect on retirement benefits, which are determined by final average salary and years of service. Account balance is only important if a member withdraws or dies before retirement.

For KPERS 3, retirement benefits are affected by a member’s account balance.

Employer contribution rates can change annually based on actuarial calculations. The legislature governs how much they can increase. Rates are the same for KPERS 1, KPERS 2 and KPERS 3. Employer contributions rates.

Contributions are based on gross compensation before any deductions. They are not deposited into members’ accounts.* They stay with KPERS to fund the System even if members end employment.

Contributions are paid to KPERS each pay period through the employer web portal. See Quick Vid: Pay Report.

Employees earn service credit working in a covered position. Kansas law governs other types of service that can be purchased or granted. See Service Credit.

All active KPERS members vest with five years of service. A total of 18 quarters (4.5 years) rounds to five years of service. If members have service credit in one of the other retirement plans (KP&F and Judges), they can combine service to vest in KPERS. This is called “portability” (not to be confused with portability of group life insurance). Please contact KPERS with questions.

Benefits of vesting

  • Receive a lifetime retirement benefit, even if employee leaves employment
  • Continue to earn interest on account balance after leaving employment

Vested members need to keep their contributions with KPERS after leaving employment to be eligible for account interest and retirement. Non-vested members who leave employment must withdraw their money after five years (two years for KPERS 3 members) unless working in a non-covered position or they return to work in a KPERS covered position within the five year period. Vesting does not mean a member has claim on employer contributions.