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Payroll FAQs

Question: What is meant by "lag" payroll?

Answer: All University State employees are paid on a biweekly lag basis. This means that you are paid for a two week pay period (beginning on a Thursday through the second Wednesday) two weeks after the conclusion of that pay period (exception: hourly employees are paid four weeks after conclusion of a pay period). Therefore, it may take up to four weeks from your date of hire to receive your first check. You will also continue to receive checks after you separate from service until the lag is paid out.

Question: What deductions can I expect to come out of my paycheck?

Answer: Deductions include the following:

Mandatory
Federal and State taxes (as applicable)

FICA Tax
  Social Security
  Medicare
  (note: students while enrolled in classes and certain non-resident aliens are exempt)

Retirement contributions (new, full time employees)

Union dues or agency shop fee- if position is represented by CSEA, UUP, PEF, ALES, NYSCOPBA, GSEU

Optional
Health Insurance
Tax Deferred Savings Plan
Flex Spending Account
NYS College Savings Plan
Personal Insurance Through Union 

Question: How come when I multiply my biweekly gross pay by 26, it totals to less than my annual salary?

Answer: For full time employees paid on an annual basis, The College at Brockport has many payroll payment modes. A 26 pay period mode is not one of them. When an employee's "annual" salary is paid over a full year (CAL or CYF payroll mode for Faculty and Professional Employees with Academic Year or College Year obligations, respectively; ANN for Calendar Year obligations), the salary is based on 365 days (normal year) and 366 days (leap year). Since each pay period covers 14 days, and 26 x 14 equals only 364, it would always take a 27th check for you to have received your full annual salary (1 day more than 26 pay periods in a normal year and 2 days more than 26 pay periods in a leap year).

CALCULATION OF GROSS ANNUAL EARNINGS

How do you determine the biweekly factor for leap year and non-leap year?

The multiplication factor that is used to determine a biweekly salary is calculated by dividing the number of days in a pay period by the number of days in the year (14/365 = .038356).

Whenever there is a leap year, this factor changes to accommodate the extra day (14/366 = .038251).

The fiscal year of (4/1/11 - 3/31/12) contained an extra day and, therefore, used the leap year multiplication factor to determine the biweekly earnings.

Time Period Annual Salary Multiply Factor Biweekly Salary
3/31/11 - 4/13/11 $60,687 .038251 $2321.34

 

This fiscal year of (4/1/12 -3/31/13) did not contain an extra day and, therefore, used the non-leap year multiplication factor to determine the biweekly earnings.

Time Period Annual Salary Multiply Factor Biweekly Salary
3/29/12 - 4/11/12 $60,687 .038356 $2327.71

Normally, there are 26 pay periods during a calendar year. Due to the idiosyncrasies in the calendar and the State's payroll cycle, State employees occasionally receive 27 paychecks in a calendar year, instead of 26. When this occurs, the employee's gross annual earnings will be higher than the annual salary.

Leap Year Impact on Paychecks

The biweekly gross pay for employees paid on an "annual salary basis" (full-time employees), in payroll, is calculated on either a 365 day or a 366 day calendar year if the year is a leap year. During the State's fiscal year (April 1 - March 31) in which a leap year falls (an extra day in February), employees will notice a reduction in their gross biweekly pay even though their salary does not change. For example, the biweekly gross pay of an academic employee paid in this mode will be calculated as 14/366th of his/her annual salary during a leap year and as 14/365 of the base annual salary during a regular year.

Other Factors

Other factors may also affect your ability to reconcile your annual earnings, your biweekly rate, and your annual salary rate. They include start date, whether or not you are in your first year of employment, the regular lag (two weeks), the special lag (one week for all employees appointed to the Regular State Payroll except hourly and those represented by UUP, ALES and NYSCOPBA), and whether or not you have received any raises (retroactive or current) during the period you are attempting to reconcile.

A start date may be in the middle of a pay period so that a first paycheck will not represent the full 14 days in the pay period.

If you are represented by any union except UUP, ALES, or NYSCOPBA, you get paid one day less than worked for each of your first five pay periods of employment to cycle you into the extra week of "lag" that you are then paid for when you separate from service.

The normal two-week lag will push two weeks of your earnings from one tax year into the next tax year. Of course, as the calendar rolls along, there are tax years in which you actually receive 27 checks for tax purposes -- check out 2002 when the first payroll of the tax year was paid on January 2nd and the last (the 27th) was paid on December 31st. The full amount of all 27 checks was taxable in 2002 pushing some employees into higher than normal tax brackets.

The effective date of salary increases may fall in the middle of pay periods or cross year-end or employee employment anniversary boundaries (i.e., the first check in September -- 2nd check paid because of the lag -- for faculty paid on the CAL basis -- 9/1-8/31 -- It might include X number of days at the faculty members previous academic year salary and Y number of days at the faculty members new academic year salary if raises to faculty were effective September 1st since September 1st rarely is the first day of a 14 day pay period).

Question: How much can I contribute to my supplemental retirement account?

Answer: Contributions to a Tax-Deferred Savings Plan - 2013

The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 increases the amount employees may contribute to tax-deferred savings plans. It also allows employees to contribute to a tax deferred annuity (ex: TIAA-CREF) and to the NYS Deferred Compensation Program without coordinating amounts. This means that employees who choose to do so may contribute the maximum amount allowed by law to each plan.

The normal contribution limit, which applies both to tax-deferred annuity and deferred compensation programs, is 100% of salary to a maximum of $17,500 for 2013.

Employees are eligible to contribute an additional amount if they are age 50 or over during the 2013 calendar year. The additional amount for 2013 is $5,500.

Employees in a tax deferred annuity plan who have at least 15 years of full-time service with their current employer may be eligible to contribute an additional amount not to exceed $3000 per year and $15,000 total lifetime.

If an employee exceeds the normal contribution limit and has 15 years of full-time service and is over age 50, the excess contributions will be applied to the 15 year rule first per IRS regulation.

Employees in the NYS Deferred Compensation Program are eligible to contribute twice the normal amount ($35,000 for 2013) in each of the last three years before their normal retirement date. In those years they cannot contribute the "additional amount" described above. Please contact the NYS Deferred Compensation Program for further details at 1-800-422-8463.

When you receive income from either a tax-deferred annuity or a deferred compensation plan you may be able to exclude up to $20,000 of income per year from New York State income taxes if you are over the age of 59 and 1/2.

 

 

 

 

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