STRS Ohio Employer News
Keep Confidential Employer and Member Information Safe
STRS Ohio has many cybersecurity measures in place to ensure that member and employer information stays safe. Recently, additional layers of security were implemented behind the scenes of Employer Self Service (ESS) and the secure file upload tool to protect sensitive data.
Here are some things you can do to help ensure confidential information stays safe:
- Update your contact information with STRS Ohio — If someone is no longer employed at your school, contact STRS Ohio to have his or her login information deleted so the person can no longer access ESS.
- Don’t share user names — Everyone who logs in to ESS should have their own unique user name and password. Sharing user names makes it easier for the wrong person to access sensitive information.
- Send files using secure file upload — Whether you need to send a properly formatted payroll report file or a copy of an SSA-1945 form, using the secure file upload tool ensures an added layer of security. You should never include full Social Security numbers in emails or send SSA-1945 forms as attachments.
- Name files correctly — If you are sending files to STRS Ohio via secure file upload, do not include any periods in the file name aside from the period preceding the file extension (e.g., .pdf, .txt). Including more than one period in the file name will prevent the file from being uploaded successfully.
In general, it is important to stay alert when using email. Ransomware attacks on educational institutions are becoming increasingly common — more than 500 K–12 schools have reported ransomware attacks since January 2019. Email is one of the most common methods used to infect information systems. Criminals will use a tactic called social engineering, which is an attempt to trick someone into revealing confidential or personal information or to manipulate someone into clicking a fraudulent link.
If your school uses Microsoft Outlook, place suspicious emails in the Junk folder to safely view them without the possibility of accidentally clicking on a link that could be dangerous. You can delete emails permanently by closing the email, highlighting it within the Junk folder, then pressing the Shift and Delete keys simultaneously.
More information about social engineering can be found in this infographic, which is supplied by security awareness training vendor KnowBe4.
New Email Confirmations and Certificates of Completion Implemented
When signing up for employer training online, you will now receive an email confirmation upon successfully registering for a class. In addition, if you cancel your registration for any reason, you will receive an email confirming the cancellation.
If you have attended a live webinar in the past, you have received a certificate of completion from STRS Ohio via email. We will now start sending electronic certificates of completion for in-person workshops and training classes instead of distributing paper copies. After attending a class, you will receive an email with the certificate attached. We hope these enhancements make registering for and attending STRS Ohio employer training easy and convenient.
Employment Verifications Due by End of Year
To comply with Internal Revenue Service regulations, STRS Ohio is required annually to identify members who have reached the age of 70-1/2 and are not actively employed in an STRS Ohio-covered position. As required by law, members meeting these criteria must withdraw their accounts or begin receiving a required minimum distribution as part of a monthly annuity.
Employers may receive a request from STRS Ohio before the end of the year to complete employment verifications to confirm identified individuals are no longer working. STRS Ohio needs your assistance in providing final contributions and pay date information.
In an effort to reduce paper and complete the process in a timely and efficient manner, employers will be asked to complete this verification online in ESS. The “Employment Verification Report” tutorial in the Education & Training section of the STRS Ohio Employer Website is available to assist you. Step-by-step instructions including screenshots are also available in the ESS Instructions.
We’ve Noticed Your Hard Work!
Thank you for completing your estimated annual payroll for the 2019–2020 fiscal year. By providing the requested estimate, STRS Ohio is able to provide the Ohio Department of Education with accurate and timely monthly foundation payment totals. Thirty-seven schools achieved excellent performance by completing this report accurately within 24 hours of the request. Congratulations to those schools listed below for being one of them. Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you!
- Batavia Local Schools
- Beaver Local Schools
- Bethel-Tate Local Schools
- Blanchester Local Schools
- Brown Local Schools
- Clark-Shawnee Local Schools
- Clermont-Northeastern Local Schools
- Crestview Local Schools
- Eastern Local Schools
- Fayetteville-Perry Local Schools
- Felicity-Franklin Local Schools
- Goshen Local Schools
- Graham Local Schools
- Greenon Local Schools
- Lakota Local Schools
- Madison Local Schools
- Mapleton Local Schools
- Monroe Local Schools
- New Miami Local Schools
- Northeastern Local Schools
- Northwestern Local Schools
- Ridgewood Local Schools
- Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Local Schools
- Ross Local Schools
- Shadyside Local Schools
- Southeastern Local Schools
- Southern Local Schools
- Tecumseh Local Schools
- Triad Local Schools
- Union Local Schools
- United Local Schools
- Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools
- Wellsville Local Schools
- West Clermont Local Schools
- West Liberty-Salem Local Schools
- Western Brown Local Schools
- Williamsburg Local Schools
STRS Ohio Marks Its 100th Anniversary
The bill “to provide a statewide retirement system for teachers in schools supported wholly or in part by public funds” became law on Aug. 8, 1919 — creating the United States’ first statewide actuarial-based teacher retirement system. The system began operations on March 26, 1920.
During the 2019–2020 fiscal year, STRS Ohio is commemorating 100 years of service to Ohio educators. Active and retired teachers have been asked to share their stories about teaching, give advice to new teachers and talk about the most rewarding aspects of their careers. To see their stories and memories, along with a timeline of STRS Ohio’s history, visit www.strsoh.org/anniversary. Thanks to all employers for being our partners in service to Ohio’s teachers.
Teacher State Minimum Salary Has Increased
The state minimum salary for an Ohio teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience increased to $30,000 from $20,000. This change was part of Ohio’s new state budget and was effective starting Oct. 17, 2019.
When calculating service credit for part-time teachers, please begin using the new state minimum salary. The service credit calculator on the employer website has been updated to reflect this change. Refer to the Service Credit Decision Tree for more information on service credit calculations.
Employer Detail Listings Are Coming Soon
Employer Detail Listings for fiscal year 2018–2019 will be mailed to employers between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, 2019. This document contains the final amount of member contributions and service credit STRS Ohio has posted to each individual member’s account for the fiscal year. It is considered a final record so please keep a copy for your files. An electronic copy can be found in the Documents section of ESS.
Please review your Employer Detail Listing for accuracy. If corrections or adjustments should be made, please contact STRS Ohio Employer Reporting toll-free at 888‑535‑4050 as soon as possible.
Completed Social Security Form Is Required for New Hires
To inform STRS Ohio of a new employee, employers must complete a new hire notification or a reemployed retiree notification in ESS and submit a signed SSA-1945 form by mail, fax or secure file upload. This form explains how public employment can affect Social Security benefits.
Please ensure the SSA-1945 form is completed properly, including the new hire’s full Social Security number. The most secure way to submit the SSA-1945 form to STRS Ohio is via secure file upload. Step-by-step instructions to complete and submit this form are available on the employer website.
Estimated Annual Payroll Calendar Change
The Ohio Department of Education is moving from a calendar year reporting cycle to a fiscal year reporting cycle. This means there will be a change in when your estimated annual payroll is due to STRS Ohio. In April 2020 STRS Ohio will notify all city, local, exempted village and community schools to submit their annual estimates for the 2020‑2021 fiscal year. The estimates will be due in May 2020 and employers can expect foundation deduction letters in June.
Estimates must be completed in ESS. From the Additional Tools menu, choose “Estimated Payroll.” To assist you in preparing an accurate payroll estimate for the current fiscal year, your 2019‑2020 projected payroll amount will be listed.
Upcoming 2020 Education Opportunities
STRS Ohio offers group education workshops, hands-on training, tutorials, and live and recorded webinars to help you meet STRS Ohio reporting requirements. Upcoming education opportunities are shown below. You will receive an email from STRS Ohio with time and location information when registration for each event is available. More information is also available in the Calendar of Events on the employer website.
Higher Education Essentials
This is a comprehensive workshop for new college and university personnel. Topics include membership, compensation, alternative retirement plan reporting, payroll reporting, service credit calculation, annual reporting, retirement reporting, account withdrawal, purchasing leaves of absence and reemployed retiree information.
- April 22 — Columbus
Reporting Basics (Part 2)
This K–12 workshop covers summer reporting processes including service credit calculation, retirement reporting, account withdrawal and reemployed retiree information. New personnel or those needing a refresher are welcome.
- May 6 — West Chester
- May 7 — Findlay
- May 13 — Canton
- May 20 — Columbus
This training offers personalized assistance to help you navigate the Employer Self Service (ESS) online reporting system. Participants review in-depth ESS instructions for most functions and complete hands-on practice exercises online during class. These half-day sessions are held at STRS Ohio.
- March 4, 10 & 12
- Nov. 3, 5 & 11
- Navigating the Disability Process for Employers — Feb. 5
- Coffee Break — March 25, June 30, Sept. 30 & Dec. 9
- Preparing Deposit and Service Reports — April 1 & 3
- Calculating Service Credit Using Days — June 3
- Annual Reporting Overview and Troubleshooting — June 9 & 17
- Annual Reporting for ESS Users — June 25
- STRS Ohio Membership — Aug. 7
- Payroll Reporting and Compensation — Aug. 19
- Employer Pickup — Sept. 11
- Leaves of Absence and Purchasing Service Credit — Sept. 24
- Account Adjustments and Backpostings — Oct. 9
Retirement Deductions From State Foundation Payments is mailed to applicable employers.
Employer Detail Listing mailing is complete.
STRS Ohio’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is available.
Request for salary schedules is emailed to employers.
Foundation employers receive 2020–2021 estimated annual payroll request.
Higher Education Essentials employer workshop — Columbus