STRS Ohio Update for Reporting Employers

STRS Ohio Employer News

Keep Confidential Information Safe While Teleworking

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, STRS Ohio has seen an increase in the number of nonsecure networks used to access Employer Self Service (ESS), likely due to more employers working remotely. Remember, when you are logged in to ESS you are accessing sensitive data about our members and your employees. Please do not log in when using public Wi-Fi connections such as those at coffee shops, airports, etc.

If possible, use a virtual private network (VPN) when logging in to ESS. Your IT department can assist you with more information about a secure connection to your school's private network. At a minimum, please use a password-protected network.

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Submit a Cash Remittance With Payments to STRS Ohio

When sending payments by check, ACH credit or wire transfer, a cash remittance is required so we know how the payment should be applied. You can complete the form online and submit it electronically — visit the STRS Ohio Employer Website and click on “Cash Remittance” in the banner menu. Click on “online cash remittance” and complete the form. There is an option to print a copy before sending.

You may also access a fillable version of the Cash Remittance form to complete, print and mail to STRS Ohio. To ensure payments are properly applied, we discourage sending these forms via fax or email. Best practice is to complete the online form. If you are still sending checks, print the form and mail it with your check. (Please note that checks will no longer be accepted for payment of member and employer contributions effective July 1, 2021.)

Remember, if you use direct debit in ESS to send payments to STRS Ohio, you do not need to complete a cash remittance. If you would like to learn how to use direct debit, you can watch our Direct Debit Setup and Direct Debit Payment tutorial videos on the employer website or follow the written instructions in the ESS Instructions.

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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 72 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, please complete this verification online in ESS. The Employment Verification Report tutorial in the Education & Training section of the employer website is available to assist you. Step-by-step instructions including screenshots are also available in the ESS Instructions.

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Thank You for Your Hard Work!

As we wrapped up the 2019–2020 fiscal year, we were pleased to see that more than half of the annual reports were sent to STRS Ohio by July 15. Your prompt response helps us keep our members’ accounts up to date so we can send out accurate member statements. The annual reporting season requires a lot of organizational skills and communication — and that was even more so in evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual reporting team sends their gratitude for your hard work.

We would also like to send a special thank you for continuing to complete required reports even when working from home or under unusual circumstances. This is a testament to the resiliency and dedication of all employers.

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Neville Named STRS Ohio's 10th Executive Director

At a special June meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, the board voted unanimously to name William J. (Bill) Neville to become the 10th executive director of STRS Ohio. Neville joined STRS Ohio in 2004 and until recently, held the position of chief legal officer. Neville succeeded Michael J. Nehf who retired in July.

Prior to his work at STRS Ohio, Neville was associate counsel for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the state’s largest public pension fund, where he acted as business counsel with a primary focus on investment matters. Neville also served as an Assistant Attorney General with two Ohio Attorneys General, during which time his clients included the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program.

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Reporting Requirements

Withdrawal Certification Process Updated

Employers are asked to complete a withdrawal certification when an active member who is no longer working requests to withdraw their STRS Ohio account. The information required to complete this certification has changed as of August. The only required information from employers is the member’s last day of service, last pay date and earned service credit. College and university employers will also be asked questions about the member’s participation in alternative retirement plans (ARPs).

The withdrawal certification screen now includes links to the service credit calculator and the payroll summary, which shows the member’s recorded contributions. The certification screen for reemployed retiree account withdrawals will remain unchanged for now and will still request total contributions.

For step-by-step instructions on completing withdrawal certifications see the updated Withdrawal Certification tutorial video or the ESS Instructions.

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Employer Detail Listings Are Coming Soon

Employer Detail Listings for fiscal year 2019–2020 will be mailed to employers between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, 2020. This document contains the final amount of member contributions and service credit that 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.

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Adopting a New Pickup Plan?

An employer may choose to pay or “pick up” employee retirement contributions as a means of deferring federal or state income taxes on these amounts. For STRS Ohio purposes, pickup plans may be adopted for one or more recognized employee groups:

  • Superintendents or presidents
  • Administrators or administrative faculty
  • Teachers or teaching faculty

Every employee who is an STRS Ohio member, including substitute teachers and tutors, is considered a part of one of these groups.

Employers are required to send the following documentation to STRS Ohio anytime a pickup plan is adopted or modified:

  • A Notification for Employer Pickup of Employee Contributions form, and
  • A certified copy of the applicable school board resolution or action. This resolution must include the rate of pickup, plan type, member groups covered by the plan and effective date. STRS Ohio will not accept contracts as part of the notification process.

Learn more about employer pickup by watching the Employer Basics 101: Employer Pickup webinar, which was recorded live in September. You can also visit the Employer Pickup section of the employer website.

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Submit SSA-1945 Forms via Mail, Secure File Upload or New Dedicated Fax Number

Employers must submit a signed SSA-1945 form for every new hire in an STRS Ohio-covered position. This is a federally required form regarding employment in a job not covered by Social Security.

To send the SSA-1945 form to STRS Ohio, you can mail a hard copy, scan and transmit it using secure file upload on the employer website (preferred method) or fax the form to 614‑744‑3340, the new dedicated fax line for this form. Other documents and forms should not be sent to this fax number.

Here are some other helpful reminders:

  • A fax cover sheet is not needed. Only send the completed SSA-1945 form.
  • Ensure the employee’s name and Social Security number are clearly written on the form. The employee must also have signed and dated the bottom of the form.
  • List your school name and STRS Ohio employer number in the appropriate fields.
  • Keep the original form in your files. STRS Ohio is only required to keep a copy.

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Employer Education

Upcoming Education Opportunities

STRS Ohio offers numerous training opportunities to help you meet STRS Ohio reporting requirements. During this time, training opportunities are being held virtually. The Employer Education team will announce the 2021 calendar of events soon. You will receive an email from STRS Ohio with time and location information when registration for events is available. Event dates and registration information is also available in the Calendar of Events on the employer website.

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ESS Training

Would you like to feel more comfortable using our ESS online reporting system? Our in-person training is now available virtually! Join us for this free 90-minute webinar as we cover the most frequently asked questions about navigating and completing reports in ESS. We will offer live demonstrations of the applications within ESS and share helpful tips, information and resources. Click here to register.

  • Nov. 10 and 12, 10 a.m.

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Quarterly Coffee Break Webinar

We understand your time is valuable. Attend a short webinar break to catch up on current STRS Ohio employer news. Coffee Break webinars are designed to share information you need to know when you need to know it. These 15–20 minute webinars are presented quarterly and include an opportunity for you to ask questions. Registration begins Nov. 30.

  • Dec. 9, 10 a.m.

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Employer Basics 101 Webinars

In August and September, the Employer Education team presented a brand-new series of live webinars for K–12 employers. The Employer Basics 101 series is an ideal place to start for those new to employer reporting and a refresher for experienced individuals. Click the links below to watch the recordings of those live webinars on the employer website at your convenience.

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What’s Ahead

December 2020

Employment verifications are due (if applicable).

Dec. 15:

Employer Detail Listing mailing is complete.

January 2021

STRS Ohio’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is available.

February 2021

Request for salary schedules is emailed to employers.

April 2021

Foundation employers receive 2021–2022 estimated annual payroll request.

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