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Q: What is ERM?
A: ERM stands for Employer Reporting and Maintenance. Currently, employers pay and report wages and contributions on a quarterly basis. Once the ERM application launches, employers will submit wages and contributions electronically and submit online payment, via ACH – all of this will be done on a payroll basis. Additionally, employers will manage their member enrollments and status changes online.
Q: With the launch of ERM, will contributions get to employees’ accounts faster?
A: Yes. Because contributions will be received on a pay period basis rather than a quarterly basis, contributions will reach members’ Annuity Savings Accounts (ASAs) much more frequently, giving members the opportunity to earn more money.
Q: What is a Submission Unit and Submission Unit ID number?
A: A Submission Unit is a participating unit associated with an employer. The Submission Unit Number is what is currently referred to as the Employer Number. This is strictly a change in terminology. The Submission Unit Number is a 7-digit number (includes leading zeroes).
Each Submission Unit is a specific employer division participating in a single Fund (PERF, TRF, ’77, JU, CE, PA).
Q: How will ERM affect employers who participate in multiple Funds?
A: If an employer participates in multiple Funds, multiple Submission Units will be associated with the same employer. In terms of payment, each Fund’s report will have its own total. Employers can then choose to pay each Fund’s total from the same bank account or from multiple bank accounts.
Q: INPRS has been encouraging employers to submit wages and contributions early, especially for the quarter ending September 30, 2012. What is the benefit of early submission?
A: Submitting early drastically reduces the amount of manual entry necessary for conversion to ERM by:
Employers not submitting an error-free, balanced report and full payment by October 15th for quarter ending 9/30/12 will be required to complete the conversion process manually. This means all wage and contribution information for the 7/1/2012-9/30/2012 quarter will need to be manually entered chronologically by payroll period into the system. This will be extremely cumbersome for mid- to large-size employers.
By submitting as soon as possible within the early submission window, you are putting yourself first in line to go through the validation process to resolve any errors necessary for your information to be considered “received and in balance.” Early submission begins 9/15/2012.
Q: Will state agencies whose current reporting is taken care of by the Auditor of State (AOS) and the State Personnel Department (SPD) be required to report with ERM?
A: No. State agencies not currently reporting will not need to report with ERM; this will be done by the AOS and/or SPD. However, they will be responsible for resolving any wage and contribution errors that are generated in ERM. The will work closely with AOS to resolve these issues. Specific communication to these agencies regarding their role in the ERM application will be sent in June 2012.
Q: Will employers be required to enter all past member and payroll information into ERM?
A: No. All historical information will be converted to ERM for employers. The only exception to this is for employers not submitting timely for the quarter ending September 30, 2012. For these employers, it will be necessary to manually convert, by payroll period, the third quarter of 2012.
Q: Do both PERF and TRF members have Pension IDs? Where can employers get a list of members’ Pension IDs?
A: Yes. All members have a Pension ID (PID). Employers will be able to access a list of members’ Pension IDs from a report in ERM.
Q: Are ACH payments required? What information will be needed from employers? Who will initiate these payments?
A: Yes, ERM will require payments via ACH. On October 1, 2012, employers will be required to enter banking information into the ERM application; INPRS will then coordinate to ensure ACH payments can occur. Employers will initiate the payments once they have submitted wages and contributions and choose to process for payment.
Q: How do I set up/confirm my ACH bank account?
A: On October 1, employers (the Authorized Agent or Authorized Designee, if one is elected) will access the ERM application. At this time, employers can set up bank accounts (as many as desired) for ACH processing. Within 10 days of the bank account set up in ERM, INPRS will verify that bank information is acceptable for use in ERM. INPRS will only contact you if the bank account information entered is not acceptable in ERM.
Q: What if I have questions regarding ERM?
A: Employers can send us questions related to ERM by visiting this link. The drop-down menu on this page allows employers to initiate an email regarding a specific area of ERM. Questions will be gathered and answers will appear in FAQs and future editions of Employer Update. If you have not signed up for Employer Update, you may do so here. For questions not relating to ERM, you may contact us here.
Q: Will we receive more information from PERF/TRF about other changes related to ERM?
A: Yes. We want employers to receive all information necessary to ensure ERM is launched smoothly. Our main method of communicating with employers is through Employer Update, our targeted email-based newsletter. Everyone impacted by ERM should receive this newsletter. If you, or someone involved with pension plan administration, are not currently receiving Employer Update, sign up here for this free enewsletter. Please ensure our e-mail address is not sent to your spam folder.
Q: I still don’t understand how ERM will work or what I need to do. Will help be available?
A: INPRS will provide comprehensive ERM training from June to October 2012. Ongoing employer support will follow the launch of the ERM application. A variety of training resources will be provided to address different learning styles. To view these training resources please visit er.inprs.in.gov.
Q: Where can I find training resources for ERM?
A: Visit er.inprs.in.gov. There, you will find a variety of training materials – from handbooks, to quick reference guides, to computer-based training. In addition, we are offering webinars and hands-on workshops to make sure employers are prepared for ERM go-live.
Q: I cannot log in to the Computer Based Training (CBT) Web site. Why?
A: Before you can access the CBTs, you must register for an account. The username and password you use currently for PERF Online or TRF Interactive will not work for this site. You can register for an account by going to inprsclassroom.org and clicking the “Create New Account” button. If you have issues registering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What are the Soft Open and ERM go-live dates?
A: The Soft Open period will begin July 16, 2012 and last through September 23, 2012. Employers will get the opportunity to practice submitting wages and contributions, enrolling members, modifying members, etc. Nothing done during the Soft Open period will be committed to the database.
Go-live is scheduled for October 2012. On October 1, the Authorized Agent/Authorized Designee (if one is elected) will be able to go into ERM and complete the initial setup. This person will confirm data certification, set up payroll schedule and calendar, bank account info, and set up additional users. In late October, ERM will be available for employers to begin submitting wages and contributions, and modifying member and employer information.
Q: When will I receive my temporary password for ERM?
A: Before Soft Open, the Authorized Agent or Authorized Designee, if elected, will be sent a temporary password via email. The username and password currently used for PERF Online or TRF Interactive will not work with ERM.
Q: What is the Web address for the ERM login page?
A: ERM can be accessed at https://inprs.in.gov/erm/faces/login.jspx
Q: How do I register for Employer Update, the e-newsletter from INPRS?
A: Visit http://www.in.gov/inprs/employercomm.htm to join the mailing list. You can also view past newsletters at the same location, below the newsletter sign-up area. Please add the e-mail addresses email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe sender list.
Q: Are employers required to develop files for Member Enrollment, Member Maintenance, and Wage and Contribution reporting?
A: No. Employers have the option of entering member enrollment, member maintenance, and wage and contribution information directly into the ERM application; this method is most likely ideal for smaller employers. For employers with a large number of employees, bulk upload may be the most efficient option; this will require employers to develop a file. The data required for entry is the same, regardless of whether it is submitted directly online or via file upload.
Employers may choose to only develop a bulk upload file for reporting wages and contributions, and enter member enrollment and member maintenance information directly into ERM, or employers may choose to develop all three bulk upload files. Files must meet the specifications dictated by INPRS which can be found on the er.inprs.in.gov website in the File Templates section.
Q: When will employers begin using ERM and/or the new file layout to submit wages and contributions?
A: Most employers will submit wages and contributions for the first three quarters of 2012 through the current method; should an employer not submit timely, this process will require additional work on the employer’s part. ERM will become available for employers to use on October 29, 2012. At this time, employers will submit wage and contribution information for their first payroll date on or after October 1, 2012. This may require employers to submit at least one retroactive report and payment.
Q: Is my current wage and contribution report compatible with the ERM application?
A: No. The ERM application requires a new file layout for wage and contribution (W&C) upload, though most of the information required is the same or similar. The W&C file layout specifications for ERM can be found at https://er.inprs.in.gov/webforum/userFiles/info/89.page
Employers may also use the online entry method to submit wages and contributions in ERM; this eliminates the need for use of a bulk file upload.
Q: What is structural validation testing and which files can be tested?
A: Structural validation, which ensures all files are structurally sound and acceptable for upload to ERM, can be done on the wage and contribution, member enrollment, or member maintenance files. This testing verifies all files have the correct number of columns, all fields are formatted correctly, all required fields are present, etc. Structural validation testing does not test the actual data in the file. Employers will have the chance to validate the data in their files during the Soft Open period.
Q: How do I complete structural validation testing?
A: Email email@example.com and tell us you would like to test your files. Make sure to include your Employer Number in this email. Do not send an attached file in this email. We will respond with a link and instructions on how to securely upload your file(s).
Q: What if I have an external payroll vendor?
A: Provide the new file layout specifications, found here, to your external payroll vendor. They should be able to develop a file based on the required layout.
Q: What if we process payroll internally?
A: If you process payroll internally, we are happy to work with you to ensure your file meets the requirements.
Q: If I am a ’77 Fund employer and want to use the file feature, can I do so?
A: Yes, ’77 Fund employers also have the option of uploading bulk files. The file must meet the required layout format in order to be submitted. Details on the file layout are available here.
Q: Do I have to enter this information every time I do a payroll report?
A: No! If you enter your W&C information directly into ERM rather than using a file upload, once you have submitted a report, ERM will allow you to use that report as a template for a new report. Because a previous report is being used, employees’ personal information such as Social Security number, Pension ID, name, etc. will pre-populate. You may remove or add new members to the report as necessary; however, you must enter wage and contribution information for each submission.
Q: Will employers that report employees to multiple Funds, i.e. PERF and TRF, or PERF and ’77 Fund, need to create two separate Wage and Contribution files or can all members be reported on one file?
A: Employers reporting employees to multiple Funds will have the option of combining members in one file or submitting two separate files. If employees from multiple Funds are being paid on the same payroll date they may be submitted on one file. However, if they are being paid on different payroll dates then they must be submitted on two separate files.
Q: How will employers who have employees on different payroll cycles report in ERM?
A: Employers will need to have separate files for each payroll cycle. However, if the paydate for the two cycles happens to occasionally fall on the same day they may be submitted on one file.
Q: Will employers be able to submit adjustments at any time, or must they be included with a regular wage and contribution report?
A: Employers may enter adjustments directly into the ERM application at any time; however, if an employer is using the bulk upload feature to submit adjustments, they must accompany a regular wage and contribution report and must be paid on the same payroll date the regular wage and contribution report is being submitted.
Q: If an employer’s current report is generated from multiple sources, can multiple reports be submitted or must they be combined?
A: If the multiple reports cover employees from the same Submission Unit, the reports must be combined. If the multiple reports are for members of differing Submission Units, a report should be submitted for each Submission Unit.
Q. Will employers have a grace period before interest starts to accrue?
A. Reports and payments should be submitted the date the employer pays its employees. There will be a seven-day grace period from the payroll date before interest starts to accrue. Interest will be charged on both the member’s contributions as well as the employer’s contributions for late payments. A $100 per day penalty could be applied after an additional 30 days on top of the interest.
Q. When will the interest and penalty on late reporting become effective?
A. For those employers who are delinquent with their reporting, INPRS will assess interest charges and penalties in the near future. Employers will be notified prior to the initiation of interest and penalties.
Q. What happens if an employer incurs a non-sufficient funds (NSF) transaction?
A. INPRS will be notified by an employer’s bank within 24-48 hours after a NSF transaction. The employer could be responsible for paying the NSF fee, which will be based on INPRS’ bank policy. In addition to the NSF fee, interest on the contributions will accumulate until payment is received if the payment is not received within seven days from the payroll date.
Q. What are two of the major differences between current reporting for wages and contributions and reporting through ERM?
A. 1) Reporting by payroll rather than quarterly is a major difference. 2) Previously, the majority of INPRS’ employers submitted paper checks for payment of contributions. The ERM process allows for electronic payments to be pulled from employer’s bank accounts when reports are submitted. Banking information will be maintained by the employer’s staff. When a report is submitted, the person responsible for payment will be given the option of bank accounts to choose from, if multiple banks are on file. The amount applied to each bank account is selected by the employer’s staff when setting up the payment.
Q. As an employer, our bank has a debit blocker on our account. What do we need to do to allow INPRS to access our account?
A. If your bank has a debit blocker on your account, you will need to contact your bank to request an exception to the debit blocker, then contact INPRS to obtain what your bank requires to authorize your account with an ACH debit.
Q. Will there be a delay in processing payments if an employer changes banks?
A. Yes, there may be a delay in processing payments if an employer changes banks. Banking information is maintained by an employer’s staff. An employer will not be able to use an account until it has been made active, which is 10 days after it has been entered in the ERM system.
Q. What is required of employers who have an adjustment for a previous pay period?
A. If you are paying for that adjustment on your current payroll, you will use the current payroll date. If you paid a member in a prior payroll and did not submit the contributions at that time, you will be required to pay interest to the member and the fund in addition to the member and employer contributions that you did not submit.
Q. Can settlement adjustments be reported in ERM?
A. Yes, settlement adjustments may be reported in ERM. There will be an extra step in processing payment for settlement adjustments because the adjustment will need to be reviewed and approved by INPRS staff prior to being paid. Settlement adjustments must be in a separate file and not reported with regular wage and contributions or normal adjustments.