Payroll Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a topic below for more information.
- Deductions/Salary Reductions
- Extra Service
- "Lag" Payroll Schedule
- Paycheck Calculation (gross pay)
- Retirement Contributions
- Salary Withholding Program (CSEA & MC only)
The Payroll Office is located at 303 Maytum Hall. Visit the campus map for directions.
What deductions can I expect to come out of my paycheck?
A. There are a variety of deductions which may be withheld from your paycheck. Some deductions are mandatory - State and Federal income taxes, social security taxes, Medicare, agency shop fees (a fee equal to union dues assessed to employees appointed to titles in a negotiating unit who do not choose to join the union for services provided), and *retirement contributions. Other deductions are voluntary depending upon your enrollment and benefits programs and other choices. As examples, they may include *health insurance premiums, savings bond or credit union deductions, United Way (SEFA) contribution, among others.
*Actually handled as "salary reductions" - before tax deductions. (See salary reductions below)
Sometimes the Office of the State Comptroller receives legal garnishees requiring it to withhold wages from an employee's paycheck for payment of unpaid taxes, child support, alimony, or other debts or financial liabilities. It is important to note that these garnishees are often executed and reflected in an employee's paycheck before the Payroll Office is even aware of them. Also, it should be noted that the staff assigned to Human Resources and Payroll Offices can either start or stop such garnishees. Likewise, the Office of the State Comptroller cannot start or stop a legally imposed garnishee without an order or a modification of an order from the garnisheering authority. Therefore, employees should understand that, although Fredonia staff may be sympathetic to the hardships created by the garinsheeing of an employee's wages, they are neither responsible for garnishees nor can they do anything to stop them. Employees upset over a garnishee itself, or the amount of one, must contact the external person or agency responsible for the garinshee to modify or remove the garnishee.
Salary reductiosn are amounts taken out of an employee's paycheck before taxes. Examples are amounts contributed to a tax deferred annuity, a supplemental retirement annuity, or a deferred compensation program. Another example may be the health insurance premium. Like salary deductions, salary reductions are reported on an employee's pay stub. Health insurance deductions generally start 2-3 pay periods after the employee is enrolled in a plan and may take several pay checks to "catch up" to the standard deduction. Questions regarding enrollment in health insurance should be directed to Human Resources at ext. 3434.
Deductions include the following:
- Mandatory Federal and State taxes (as applicable)
- FICA Tax (up to max. salary $132,900 for 2019)
- Social Security - 6.2% of salary
- Medicare - 1.45% of salary (Note: students while enrolled in classes and certain non-resident aliens are exempt)
- Retirement contributions (new, fulltime employees)
- Union dues or agency shop fee
- Optional Health Insurance
- Tax Deferred Savings Plan
- Flex Spending Account
- NYS College Savings Plan
- Personal Insurance Through Union
Why am I still having a certain deduction coming out of my check?
Your pay check stub has two columns for deductions - one for current deductions and one for year-to-date deductions. Be sure to look under the current deduction column if you are concerned about a deduction for a specific check.
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What is meant by "lag" payroll schedule?
A. 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 three weeks after conclusion of a pay period). Therefore, it may take up to four weeks from your date of hire to receive you first check. You will also continue to received checks after you separate from service until the lag is paid out.
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How come when I multiply gross pay by 26, it totals to less than my annual salary?
A. For full time employees paid on an annual basis, Fredonia 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 "academic employees" 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).
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 those represented by UUP), 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.
I am a new employee (hired within the last year). I am having TIAA-CREF contributions withheld from my pay check, but when I call TIAA-CREF I am told that no money has been credited to my account. Where is my money going?
A. Your TIAA-CREF contracts are not vested until you have completed 366 days of service. During the first year, your contributions are held in escrow by New York State. When you complete the vesting period, your funds are sent to TIAA-CREF along with the College's contribution from the start of your employment. If you do not complete 366 days of employment, your 3% contribution will be refunded to you.
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I am in the Optional Retirement Program(ORP). How much do I contribute to my retirement and how much does the College contribute?
A. Contributions depend on your appointment date to State service.
Hired prior to 7/27/76: Employer contributes 12% of the first $16,500 of salary per calendar year, and 15% of all salary above $16,500. Employee makes no contribution.
Hired between 7/27/76 & 7/16/92: Employer contributes 9% of the first $16,500 of salary per calendar year, and 12% of all salary above $16,500. Employee contributes 3% of salary.
Hired after 7/16/92: Employer contributes 8% of salary for the first seven years and 10% thereafter. The employee contributes 3% of salary.
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What is meant by a salary withholding program?
A: In 1990, legislation was signed that included a feature calling for a "salary withholding and lump sum payment program". This program is to be implemented by reducing full-time and part-time salaried employees' paychecks by 10% in the first five consecutive pay periods. At the end of the fifth payroll period, the payroll will revert to the regular 100% pay rate and employees will receive their full paychecks.
Will I permanently lose this money?
A: No, you will receive the five days pay when you leave state service provided that you do not have any loss time.
How will my pay be calculated upon separation from state service?
A: You will be paid the five days at the rate you are earning at the time you leave service, or the rate at which the days were deducted, whichever is higher.
Will the reduction be based upon my annual salary only?
A: Yes. The salary withheld is regular salary only; basic annual salary plus all additional salary factors. All other salary such as overtime, holiday pay will not be withheld and is to be paid in full as earned.
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