Skip to main content


Employment at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The fringe benefits offered to permanent State of Wisconsin employees are a valuable part of an individual's compensation package. The fringe benefits may vary somewhat between employee groups based on occupational status (i.e., protective, executive, general), pay status (salary or hourly), and percentage of full-time employment.


Health Insurance

A variety of Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Plans and fee-for-service health providers offer coverage. Wisconsin Retirement System eligible permanent employees may obtain coverage within one month of starting work, but the state contribution toward the premium is not effective until the first day of the third month for new employees without prior state Wisconsin Retirement System service. In 2016, most permanent Wisconsin Retirement System eligible employees working half-time or greater will pay $86 per month for a single plan or $217 per month for a family plan once they are eligible for the state contribution.

Life insurance

After six months of coverage under the Wisconsin Retirement System, an employee may have group term life insurance coverage in an amount up to five times their annual salary. Employees may also secure coverage for their spouse (up to $20,000) and dependents (up to $10,000 each).

Income continuation insurance

After six months of coverage in the Wisconsin Retirement System, employees are eligible for income continuation insurance. This benefit ensures that individuals will receive up to 75% of their gross salary for physical or mental disabilities after a 30-day waiting period or after their sick leave is exhausted, whichever is longer. The state premium contribution, which can range from 0% to 100%, is contingent upon an employee's accrual and use of sick leave.

Supplemental insurance

Hospital indemnity plan, accidental death and dismemberment, dental and vision coverage are features of this insurance. Employees are responsible for the entire premium. Coverage is effective the same date as health insurance.

Dental insurance plan

State employees are offered multiple dental insurance plans, including an HMO, PPO and supplemental dental plan. Enroll within 30 days of employment or after two months of Wisconsin Retirement System participation. Employees pay the full premium. Some dental coverage is included in many of the group health insurance plans and the Supplemental Insurance Plan.

Vision insurance

This plan provides coverage for vision hardware — lens, frames, and contact lenses — and vision exams. This plan is a voluntary employee-pay-all plan that is offered by the state to supplement vision benefits offered through the various health insurance options. Individuals may enroll within 30 days of employment or wait for the annual fall enrollment.

Long-term care insurance

This insurance covers short-term and long-term home health care, assisted living, community-based care and nursing home care. The plan is available only to state employees and annuitants, including their spouse, parents and spouse's parents. Employees pay the full premium.


State employees have various leave options available based on length of service and hourly or salaried pay status.


Vacation is earned from the first day of employment but cannot be used until the employee has worked for six months. Vacation rates for the first five years vary from 104 to 120 hours per year for full-time employees.

Annual Vacation Hours Schedules
Years of Service Non-Exempt Exempt
During first 5 104 120
5+ to 10 144 160
10+ to 15 160 176
15+ to 20 184 200
20+ to 25 200 216
25 & Over 216 216

Personal Holidays

Full-time employees are granted 36 hours of personal holiday each year that can be used immediately.

Legal holidays

The state provides nine legal holidays with pay

  • New Year's Day (Jan. 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Eve Day (Dec. 24)
  • Christmas Day (Dec. 25)
  • New Year's Eve Day (Dec. 31)

Sick leave

Sick leave is earned at the rate of five hours per bi-weekly pay period for full-time employees. Unused sick leave accumulates from year to year without limit. Upon retirement, the state matches a certain amount of the unused sick leave, and the entire balance is converted at the employee's highest hourly rate and used to pay state health insurance premiums.


Most permanent employees are covered immediately under the Wisconsin Retirement System and will be 100% vested after five years of service. Vested employee-required contributions in 2020 are 6.75% of an employee's earnings. The state pays an additional 6.65-17%, depending upon the employee's occupational status, toward the non-vested employer-required contribution. More information can be found on the benefits page at the State of Wisconsin Employee Trust Funds (ETF) site (exit DNR).

Additional Benefits

Employee reimbursement accounts program

The Employee Reimbursement Accounts Program allows employees to pay eligible medical and dependent care expenses from pre-tax rather than post-tax income. In addition, premiums for state group health, supplemental and life insurance (excluding spouse and dependent life insurance coverage) may be treated as pre-tax deductions. Enroll within 30 days of employment or during the annual fall enrollment.

Employee Reimbursement Accounts [PDF]

Deferred compensation

The Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program, or WDC, is a supplemental retirement savings program available to all active state employees. The WDC is an Internal Revenue Code Section 457 deferred compensation plan. With a WDC account, you can invest pre-tax or post-tax dollars in a variety of investment options.

Deferred Compensation [exit DNR]

Transit Account

A Transit Account is a qualified transportation benefit that is approved by the Internal Revenue Service. A Transit Account allows you use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible mass transit expenses related to your commute to and from work. As a program participant, your estimated eligible monthly commuting costs (up to IRS limits) will be payroll deducted from your pre-tax salary to pay for eligible transit and parking expenses.