Departure (Resignations, Retirements, Emeritus)

This page provides an overview and helpful resources for employees and supervisors regarding the employee departure process (retirement, resignation, etc.) If you have specific questions, please contact your Waisman HR Representative.

Employees are responsible for providing their supervisor with a written notice of resignation or retirement. The letter must include the employees last day of work or last day on payroll if they intend to use leave to extend their end date. Once the supervisor has acknowledged resignation, a copy of the letter should be forwarded to Waisman HR.

Resignation Information and Resources:

Leaving UW Employment:

Information and resources for individuals resigning from UW/WRS employment.

Paid Leave: Any remaining vacation, personal holiday, floating legal holiday or banked leave/ALRA hours will be paid out on your last check or you may use the remaining leave to extend your time on payroll (with supervisor approval).

Sick Leave is not paid out when you terminate employment. Your sick leave will be lost unless:

  • You return to a leave-earning position at UW within your reinstatement period
    • University Staff employees must return within 5 years to a leave-earning appointment
    • Faculty, Academic Staff or Limited Appointees:
      • Must return within 3 years to a Faculty, Academic Staff or Limited appointment; OR
      • Must return within 5 years to a University Staff position
    • You have 20 years of state service under the WRS. (this makes you eligible to convert your sick leave to pay for health insurance premiums in retirement)

Important information regarding benefits when leaving UW employment can be found here.

Transferring within the UW System:

If you transfer within UW-Madison or to another UW System Institution, your benefits will automatically transfer with you as the University of Wisconsin is considered one employer. Your leave balances will transfer to your new appointment. However, vacation carryover, banked leave/ALRA have special rules and may not be accepted by your new department/Institution. If the hours are not transferred to your new appointment, they will be paid out to you before you transfer.

If you change employment category, refer to:

Transferring to a State Agency:

If you transfer from the UW System to a State of Wisconsin Agency, you may maintain your enrollment for certain benefits through your new position. It is important to consult with your new employer or Human Resources representative and take required action in order to avoid a loss of coverage. A Personnel Transfer Record (PTR) will be sent to the new employer by Waisman HR – the PTR includes a complete overview of the employee’s benefits through UW/Waisman.

Sick leave balances will transfer to the State agency. Vacation and banked leave/ALRA hours may transfer. In the event that hours are not accepted by the State agency, they will be paid out as a lump sum. Personal Holiday balances will be paid out as a lump sum.

Retirement Information and Resources:

Retirement Process:

  1. Attend a UW–Madison Pre-Retirement Session. The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) also conducts group presentations.
  2. Run an estimate of your sick leave value in retirement. You are also encouraged to use ETF’s annuity estimate calculator.
  3. Watch ETF’s When Should I Retire? video and select your retirement date.
  4. Request your retirement packet (annuity estimates and application) from ETF, or call ETF at 1-877-533-5020.
  5. Ask questions about your benefits and sick leave to UW–Madison Benefits Services.
    Ask questions about your annuity estimates and retiree health to ETF.
  6. Submit your retirement application to ETF, ideally 2-3 months prior to your last day of employment.

See the Roadmap to Retirement ( for long-term planning information.

Emeritus Status:

Emeritus status is an honorary designation conferred upon retirees to recognize their contributions and accomplishments over their university careers. Requirements include completion of ten or more years of distinguished service at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and permanent employee status at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with eligibility to receive an annuity from the Wisconsin Retirement System. Emeritus status is available to Academic Staff, University Staff, and Faculty. Talk with your supervisor to discuss your eligibility and department support for submitting a request.

Rehired Annuitants:

Who is a rehired annuitant?

  • An individual receiving a monthly WRS annuity AND
  • Served the minimum required break in employment between retirement and returning to work

Valid Termination and Minimum Required Break

In order to have a valid break in employment before returning to work an individual must:

  • Stop working for all WRS employers (receive no pay for services rendered date of final paycheck is irrelevant); and
  • Have no rights to future employment for pay at a WRS employer; and
  • Have no authority to act as an employee (volunteers are not considered to be acting as an employee); and
  • Have been paid out all applicable leave benefits; and
  • Have served the required minimum break in employment:

If retirement date is on or after July 2, 2013, an individual is required to serve a 75-day break in employment. The break in employment begins on his/her retirement date and ends on the latest of the following:

  • The day after the annuity effective date; or
  • The 76th day after the termination date; or
  • The 76th day after ETF receives the retirement application.

Before retirement, there CANNOT be an enforceable contract (verbal or written) in place to return to work before the employee s retirement date. During the break a retiree may discuss future employment opportunities with the university, and may accept a position with a start date after the appropriate break.

If the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) determines that a termination is not valid, an individual s annuity could be stopped and any annuity payments considered to be paid in error must be returned.


Layoff and Nonrenewal

University Staff Layoff:

Academic Staff Layoff:

Additional Forms and Resources: