STRS Ohio Update for Reporting Employers

STRS Ohio Employer News

New Employer Website Offers Quick Access to Resources

In April, we introduced the new STRS Ohio Employer Website. If you haven’t explored it yet, we encourage you to visit the remodeled, topic-driven site. Here are a few navigation tips:

  • Web address — The correct web address is Be sure to enter “/employer” at the end of the address to avoid going to the member site.
  • Logging in to ESS — To log in to ESS, click “ESS Login” in the upper right corner of the home page. An ESS Login box will appear for you to enter your user name and password.
  • Quick links — The banner menu at the top of the home page allows you to quickly access secure file upload, cash remittance and resources including calculators, forms and publications. Quick links are also featured at the bottom of the page.
  • All-inclusive topics — The home page features a list of main topics. Click on a topic to find all relevant information on that subject, including descriptions previously found in the Employers Manual and links to related forms, publications, fact sheets, FAQs, webinars and tutorials.
  • News and education opportunities — Recent news and links to education and training opportunities are featured on the home page.

Please take a few minutes to become familiar with the new website and the resources it offers. If you have any questions, contact the Employer Reporting Department toll-free at 888‑535‑4050.

See the table of contents →

Give Instant Feedback With New Toll-Free Line Survey

Beginning June 3, you will have the option of providing immediate feedback when you call the Employer Reporting Department toll-free at 888‑535‑4050. When your call is complete, you automatically will be directed to a brief survey regarding your experience. Please stay on the line to answer four short survey questions. Your responses are confidential.

We value your opinion. Taking a moment to provide feedback will help the employer advising team to continue providing service at a level you have come to expect from STRS Ohio.

See the table of contents →

Service Credit Calculation Change Effective July 1

The new calculation for part-time employees will be in effect for service performed July 1, 2019, and after. A new version of the Service Credit Decision Tree (Effective July 1, 2019) is available reflecting the changes in specific calculations. The online service credit calculator has also been updated to reflect the change in calculation for the 2019–2020 fiscal year.

STRS Ohio has notified the state software provider, Uniform Staff Payroll System (USPS), of the service credit calculation change, and the provider is working to update their software. If you use state software or any other type of software to calculate service credit, it is your responsibility to ensure the calculation is correct for service performed on and after July 1, 2019.

Important: Do not use the new service credit calculation for the 2018–2019 annual report. Use the current calculation effective through June 30, 2019. If you use the online service credit calculator, be sure to select the 2018–2019 fiscal year to ensure the calculation is correct.

See the table of contents →

Employer Satisfaction Results Are In

Last fall, we invited all employers to complete an online survey to provide feedback on customer service, communication methods, employer training opportunities and overall satisfaction with the services provided by the Employer Reporting team. Thank you to the 462 employer representatives who responded. The results were positive and showed an increase in satisfaction from the previous survey conducted in 2015. Key results include:

  • 98% are extremely or somewhat satisfied with the overall customer service provided.
  • 92% indicated it is extremely or somewhat easy to find information on the employer website.
  • 98% find the recorded webinars and tutorials to be extremely or somewhat helpful.
  • 85% would prefer information from STRS Ohio via email, 1% via the employer website and 14% using a combination of both.
  • 99% said their phone calls or emails are always or most of time returned within 24 hours.

See the table of contents →

Annual Financial Report Available

View the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for a detailed look at STRS Ohio’s investment activities, plus financial, actuarial and statistical information for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018). You can also call STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877 to request a copy.

See the table of contents →

Administrative Code Rules Updated

The following Administrative Code Rules have been amended during the past 12 months. You can view all Administrative Code Rules in the Publications section of the employer website.

  • 3307:1-2-01 Service credit (effective July 1, 2019)
  • 3307:1-11-05 Health care services — Medicare Part B reimbursement
  • 3307:2-7-02 Allocation of funds
  • 3307:2-7-03 Rollovers received

See the table of contents →

Reporting Requirements

Annual Reports Due Aug. 2; Requirements Stay the Same

Your annual report is due to STRS Ohio by Friday, Aug. 2. All employers must submit this electronic report that lists all member contributions on compensation earned by STRS Ohio active members and reemployed retirees during the fiscal year (July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019), as well as service credit earned by active members. No extensions will be granted to the deadline, so please plan to have staff available to complete the report or coordinate its submission to STRS Ohio.

You can find instructions and other information to assist you in the Annual Reporting Resource Center. Live webinars on annual reporting troubleshooting will also be offered on June 11 and 19. A recorded version will be posted on our website if you are unable to attend a live session.

For part-time service credit, please use the current calculation effective through June 30, 2019. (Do not use the new calculation that takes effect July 1.) If you use the online service credit calculator, be sure to select the 2018–2019 fiscal year to ensure the calculation is correct.

Like last year, you can submit your annual report using ESS or secure file upload. Use only one method to submit your report. If you would like to change the method, please contact your annual reporting representative before submitting your report. If you use ESS, your report will be available on July 1.

Keep in mind, you may be asked to verify service credit and/or accrued contributions for members after your annual report has been processed. If verification is required, you will be notified when service credit verification and accrued verification reports are available for completion in ESS. Please watch the online tutorials showing you how to complete these reports.

Thank you for your efforts to complete the required annual reporting processes on time. This information is necessary to update member accounts and prepare actuarial information. If you have questions about annual reporting, please contact your employer advisor.

See the table of contents →

Pay Date Calendars Due June 7

Each spring, STRS Ohio asks employers to send their pay dates for the upcoming fiscal year. Pay date calendars, which are due by June 7, must be submitted in ESS and can no longer be accepted via secure file upload or fax. You can access your calendar by logging in to ESS and clicking on "Pay Date Calendar" in the Additional Tools or Outstanding Reports section. See instructions for completing your pay date calendar.

See the table of contents →

Retirement Reporting Season Is Underway

Retirement reporting is in full swing as another school year comes to an end. When completing deposit and service reports for retiring members, be sure to check each line for accuracy. Since the report is designed to cover a variety of retiring members (full-time, part-time and 260-day employees), each line may not be used for every type of employee. In addition, most employers have pickup plans in place that allow employee contributions to be withheld on a pretax basis. If employee contributions are picked up or tax-deferred, you should leave the line for after-tax contributions blank. See line-by-line instructions for completing a deposit and service report.

Additional resources to assist you include:

If you have any questions, please contact your retirement reporting representative toll-free at 888‑535‑4050.

See the table of contents →

New Hire and Reemployed Retiree Notifications Updated; New Record Layouts Available

You may have noticed some changes when completing a new hire or reemployed retiree notification in ESS. Once you enter basic member information, ESS will now supply the address and any other information we have on file for the member. Information provided by ESS cannot be changed. If changes are needed, please advise the member to call STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877.

We are also requesting some new information:

  • Primary email address (required) — If the field is blank, you must enter a primary email address. Personal email address is preferred. If the field is filled by ESS, please enter a secondary email address if available.
  • Home, work and cell phone numbers (optional) — If the fields are blank, please enter the information if available.

Record layouts for secure file upload have also been updated to include email addresses and phone numbers. At this time, STRS Ohio would like employers to start transitioning to the new layouts. The previous layouts will be accepted through Dec. 30, 2019.

Before completing a new hire or reemployed retiree notification, you can use the Member Information form to gather required information from new employees. This form is intended to assist you and should not be submitted to STRS Ohio.

Remember, employment notifications must be submitted via ESS or secure file upload within 10 business days of the member’s first date on payroll. See instructions for completing a new hire notification or reemployed retiree notification in ESS.

See the table of contents →

Have You Sent Your Salary Schedules?

If you haven’t already done so, please submit your salary schedules for the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 (if available). This information is necessary for STRS Ohio to accurately determine benefits, specifically if a member’s final average salary is limited by Ohio law.

See the table of contents →

Compensation Limits Set for 2019–2020

Each year the Internal Revenue Service places limits on the amount of compensation on which contributions can be remitted for STRS Ohio members. Any payment to a member that exceeds the compensation limit is excluded from compensation for retirement purposes. The 2019–2020 compensation limits for Defined Benefit and Combined Plan members are:

  • $280,000 for new members on or after July 1, 1996, and
  • $415,000 for members before July 1, 1996.

The IRS has not yet released 2019–2020 limits for Defined Contribution Plan members. (The current amount is $237,994.) View a complete list of annual compensation limits.

Compensation limits are presented for your information only. STRS Ohio does not require you to track the retirement plans your employees participate in. We will monitor contributions and compensation for each STRS Ohio member and notify you if contributions reported are within $2,500 of the limit or exceed the maximum contributions allowed by the IRS. If limits are exceeded, we will refund excess contributions and ask you to stop submitting contributions for affected members through the end of the fiscal year.

See the table of contents →

Employer Education

Upcoming Education Opportunities

A complete calendar of upcoming education opportunities can be found here. You will receive an email from STRS Ohio Employer Education when registration for each event is available.

Also, be sure to check out our collection of ESS tutorials and recorded webinars, including the first Coffee Break webinar held in March 2019. Coffee Break webinars will be held quarterly to provide quick 15–20 minute updates about the things you need to know right now. Join us for the next one on June 25. (Registration begins June 17.)

What’s Ahead

June 2019

June 3

Annual Reporting Resource Center opens.

June 11

Annual Reporting Overview and Troubleshooting webinar

June 17

Registration begins for quarterly Coffee Break webinar.

June 19

Annual Reporting Overview and Troubleshooting webinar

June 25

Quarterly Coffee Break webinar

See the table of contents →

July 2019

July 1

  • 2019–2020 fiscal year begins.
  • Annual reports are available in ESS.
  • New service credit calculation for part-time employees takes effect for work performed July 1, 2019, and after.

July 8

Registration begins for Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshops in September.

July 26

Registration ends for Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshops.

See the table of contents →

August 2019

Aug. 2

Annual reports are due.

Aug. 5

Registration begins for Overview of Employer Responsibilities webinar.

Aug. 14

  • Overview of Employer Responsibilities webinar
  • Registration begins for Calculating Service Credit Using Days webinar.

Aug. 21

Service credit verification reports are due.

Aug. 21 & 23

Calculating Service Credit Using Days webinar

See the table of contents →

September 2019

Sept. 11

Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshop — West Chester

Sept. 12

Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshop — Findlay

Sept. 16

Registration begins for quarterly Coffee Break webinar.

Sept. 18

Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshop — North Canton

Sept. 19

Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshop — Athens

Sept. 25

Reporting Basics (Part 1) workshop — Columbus

Sept. 27

Quarterly Coffee Break webinar

See the table of contents →

October 2019

Oct. 4

Estimated annual payroll is due for employers participating in the state foundation program.

Oct. 7

Registration begins for ESS Training in November.

See the table of contents →