Congratulations on your new position within the state of Washington! The state offers a comprehensive benefits package. Your paycheck is just part of your total compensation. Eligible employees also have access to a competitive benefits package that includes health insurance, retirement, and vacation benefits.
As an employee returning to state service, you will have several forms to complete within specified timelines to process your insurance benefits, payroll, retirement, etc. If you have any questions, please reach out to the medical benefits specialist or the retirement benefits specialist.
Due on your first day:
- W-4 - send a copy to DES Payroll
- I-9 Form (I-9 Instructions) - keep at agency
- PERS Retirement Status - send a copy to DES Payroll
- Direct Deposit Form - send a copy to DES Payroll
- Employee Questionnaire (Answers to questions are optional) - send a copy to DES HR
- Work with your HR Liaison to complete your PEBB insurance form - send a copy to DES Payroll
- Outside Employment Notification - follow internal approval process and send final to DES HR
- Emergency Contact Form - Send a copy to DES HR and keep original at agency
- Learn about Public Service Loan Forgiveness Eligibility – submit certification requests to DES HR
Due within 31 days of start date (if benefits eligible):
- Medical and Dental Enrollment/Change - send a copy to DES Payroll
- Long Term Disability Enrollment - send a copy to DES Payroll
Make sure employees check one of the three options for the Employee-Paid LTD plans: 60%, 50% or decline.
- MetLife Life Insurance Enrollment (Mail directly to MetLife or enroll online)
- FSA & DCAP Enrollment Form (optional program) - send a copy to DES Payroll
Due within 90 days (if retirement eligible):
If you have already chosen a retirement plan for the state, you will automatically go back into that same plan you chose unless DRS specifies otherwise. If you are a retiree rehire, please consult with DES Payroll on retirement eligibility as a retiree.
- Plan 1 members: No action is needed
- Plan 2 members: No action is needed
- Plan 3 members: As a PERS 3 member a new DRS Member Information form must be turned in. Until the form is received you will be set up as PERS 0 with only employer contributions coming out. Only when a new selection is made or the 90 days is up and the selection will default to Option A with a 5% contribution rate. Please contact DESPayroll@des.wa.gov with further questions.
- If you were never signed up for a retirement plan, please refer to the New State Employee Insurance page for the required forms and information.
- Deferred Compensation Program - Send a copy to DRS
Employee Benefits Information
Medical & Dental Plan Information
As a state employee, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the state of Washington. Your supervisor, appointment letter, or HR liaison will confirm your eligibility for benefits. If you are newly eligible for benefits, you will be provided with enrollment paperwork during your first few days. If you are transferring in from another agency with benefits, your benefits will follow you.
As an eligible state employee, you and your family can choose from several medical and dental plans coordinated by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program. All plans offer compressive coverage, but vary in other ways such as provider networks, premiums, your out-of-pocket costs, and eligibility based on the county you reside in. In addition to various medical plan options to choose from, PEBB pays the full premium for Dental for employees and enrolled dependents. For more information on plan costs, benefit comparisons, plan contact information, and other information that may assist you in making a plan choice, visit the PEBB site or the download the Employee Enrollment Guide.
To enroll in PEBB benefits, your forms must be received by your payroll/benefits office no later than 31 days after you become benefits eligible. If you enroll family members on your PEBB insurance coverage, the PEBB Program must also receive proof of their eligibility. You may waive enrollment in medical, but your employer must receive your completed Employee Enrollment/Change form indicating that you want to waive enrollment in medical no later than 31 days after the date you become eligible for PEBB benefits. You may not waive dental benefits unless you are enrolled in SEBB dental and SEBB vision.. If your form is not received within 31 days, you will default to the Uniform Medical Plan and Uniform Dental Plan with coverage for yourself only and changes cannot be made until open enrollment in November. A $25 per account monthly tobacco use premium surcharge will be incurred if no forms are received by 31 days but changes to tobacco surcharge can be made anytime during the year.
Tobacco and Spousal Surcharges
In addition to the medical plan premiums, benefits eligible employees may be subject to a tobacco use and/or a spouse or domestic partner coverage premium surcharge. You will need to indicate whether these surcharges apply to you and your family on your Employee Enrollment/Change form.
- Tobacco use premium surcharge: A monthly $25 surcharge per account if you or a family member (age 13 and older) enrolled on your PEBB medical uses a tobacco product.
- Spouse or state-registered domestic partner coverage premium surcharge: A monthly $50 surcharge if you have a spouse or state-registered domestic partner enrolled on your PEBB medical, and they have elected not to enroll in their employer-based group medical insurance that is comparable to Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) Classic. Use the Premium Surcharge Help Sheet or the online spousal plan questionnaire in the enrollment guide to determine if you must pay the surcharge.
The PEBB Program provides basic life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance at no cost to employees enrolled in the full benefits package through MetLife. It provides $35,000 for death from any cause and $5,000 in case of accidental death or dismemberment (AD&D). Additional optional life and AD&D insurance is available for purchase.
Employees may apply for up to the guaranteed issue amounts of optional life insurance without submitting evidence of insurability to MetLife no later than 31 days after the date the employee becomes eligible for PEBB benefits. To enroll complete a MetLife Enrollment/Change Form or create an account on MetLife's MyBenefits portal. The paper form should be mailed directly to MetLife.
Long Term Disability
Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is designed to help protect you from the financial risk of lost earnings due to serious injury or illness. The PEBB Program's full employee benefits package includes basic LTD insurance at no cost to you. It provides:
Benefit: Employer paid free automatically provided benefit - 60 percent of the first $400 of your pre-disability earnings (your monthly base pay), reduced by an deductible income.
Benefits start after 90 days or the period of sick leave (excluding shared leave) for which you are eligible under the employer's sick leave plan (whichever is longer), and continue during disability up to the maximum benefit period. You may purchase additional optional coverage.
The Long-Term Disability (LTD) Enrollment/Change Form must be received by your payroll/benefits office no later than 31 days after becoming eligible for PEBB benefits. Beginning January 1, 2022, all employees will be auto enrolled into the employee-paid LTD coverage. Note: Your PEBB long-term disability benefit is different than the state's new long-term care benefit, which is called the WA Cares Fund.
Dependent Care Assistance Program (optional)
The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to set aside a "before tax" portion of your gross earnings to use for eligible dependent care expenses. A qualifying dependent must be age 12 or younger and live with you or age 13 or older, physically or mentally incapable of self-care, and regularly spend at least eight hours each day in your household. DCAP allows you to save on child or elder care expenses such as daycare, babysitting, general purpose day camps, pre-kindergarten expenses, in-home care for an older dependent living with you and other eligible expenses.
It is important to think about how much to contribute to DCAP. To determine how much you want to contribute per pay period, estimate your expenses for the plan year and enroll in the DCAP for that amount. Money that is not used by a certain date each year will be forfeited to the Health Care Authority and you will not be able to claim it. This is referred to as the "use-it or lose-it" rule.
To enroll visit Navia Benefits Solutions no later than 31 days after the date you become eligible for PEBB Benefits.
Flexible Spending Account (optional)
The Medical FSA is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to set aside money from your paycheck on a pretax basis to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs like deductibles, copays, coinsurance, dental, vision, and more (See eligible expenses). You can use your Medical FSA to pay for health care expenses for you, your spouse, or your qualified tax dependents, even if they are not enrolled in your PEBB medical or dental plan.
Similar to DCAP, FSA follows the "use-it or lose-it" rule. It is important to think about how much to contribute to FSA. To determine how much you want to contribute per pay period, estimate your expenses for the plan year and enroll in the FSA for that amount. Money that is not used by a certain date each year will be forfeited to the Health Care Authority and you will not be able to claim it.
To enroll visit Navia Benefits Solutions no later than 31 days after the date you become eligible for PEBB Benefits.
Deferred Compensation Program (optional)
The Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) is a supplemental retirement savings program (an IRC Section 457 plan administered by DRS) that offers you the opportunity to invest money toward securing the retirement you envision. DCP is different from a regular savings plan because your contributions comes from your pre-tax income. Contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck, so saving is easy. The plan is also flexible. You can change your contributions at any time. This includes starting, stopping, increasing or decreasing the amounts you contribute from your paycheck.
As a new Washington public employee, you will be automatically enrolled in the program if you work for a participating employer. DCP automatic enrollment applies to newly hired, full-time employees of qualifying state employers. You will receive notice from DRS regarding automatic enrollment into the program. Once you receive a DCP notification letter, you can choose to opt out of the program. If you take no action, you will be enrolled in DCP and your employer will automatically defer 3% of your paycheck to DCP. If you opt out of automatic enrollment, you can still join DCP at any time in the future.
For resources on the program including videos, savings calculator, and enrollment guide, visit the DRS DCP website.
State Employee Discounts
Discounts may be available to state employees through some gyms, restaurants, cell phone companies, lodging and rental cars while on leisure travel and entertainment. Contact individual vendors about potential discounts.
Commute Trip Reduction Program
The Statewide Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Program was developed to reduce commute trips by state employees. There are many different ways to participate, such as vanpooling, carpooling, riding the bus, biking and walking. Some counties (Mason, and Grays Harbor) offer free or reduced bus passes. Start by visiting the RideshareOnline site to learn about some of the many ways to participate in the program, find a rideshare partner, calculate the cost savings with different commuting options, and to learn how you can win prizes through tracking trips!
Compensation and Leave
State paydays are the 10th and 25th of each month, but are adjusted if they fall on a weekend or a holiday. Any hours worked for the 1st through the 15th of the month are paid on the paycheck on the 25th of that month. Any hours worked on the 16th through the end of the month are paid on the paycheck on the 10th of the following month. To learn more you can view the state's payday and holiday calendar.
State employees earn a base salary which is the salary range associated with their job classification. Employees may be eligible to receive higher pay through one or more of the following actions:
- Legislative approved general wage adjustment
- Progression step increase up to the range maximum
- Job re-evaluation leading to a higher pay range
- Reallocation to a higher level of work within the same job category
The Compensation Plan is a collection of salary schedules, definitions and application of overtime eligibility designations, assignment pay premiums, shift premiums and standby pay rates as determined by the Assistant Director of State Human Resources. The salary schedules include the minimum and maximum amounts for each salary range assigned to the class.
For rules surrounding compensation, refer to WAC 357-28 for non-represented classified employees, WAC 357-58 for Washington Management Service (WMS) employees, or the applicable collective bargaining agreement for union-represented employees.
Direct Deposit and Earnings Statements
State employees are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit, which transfers your salary straight into your checking or savings account. To view your earnings statements, some state agencies use a secure, password-protected, online portal called MyPortal. Ask your supervisor or agency HR liaison if your agency uses MyPortal.
Leave and Holidays
Washington State employees may be eligible for accrued annual leave, a personal holiday, sick leave, and other forms of leave. Refer to Leave and Holidays for more information.
Rules and Conditions of Employment
Civil Service Rules
The civil service rules apply to all non-represented employees, except those positions or employees exempted under the provisions of Chapter 357-04 WAC. Non-represented employees can answer many questions regarding appointment changes, promotions, transfers, layoffs, recruitment, retention, and classification by referring to Civil Service Rules.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Employees represented by a union should refer to their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for terms and conditions of their employment. The collective bargaining agreements between the State of Washington and the different unions can be found on the following website the Office of Financial Management website.
Ethics in Public Service
Washington State employees are expected to conduct themselves and their work according to their agency's values and ethical standards, as well as to comply with the Ethics in Public Service Act. Refer to Ethics for more information.
The Department of Enterprise Services Small Agency Services is here to support you during your transition. We are excited you are joining us and want to ensure that you are successful in your new role.
Please don't hesitate to contact your assigned agency payroll analyst or HR Business Partner with any questions you may have. You can also visit the Small Agency Toolkit at any time to access helpful information and materials for employees, supervisors and managers.