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Frequently Asked Human Resource Questions


A listing of the most frequently asked Human Resource questions.

Employee Benefits

What benefits am I eligible for as a state employee?

That depends on what union represents you and your employment status. Benefit summaries may be viewed under Benefits Overview. Consult plan documents for complete details about benefit programs or contact Human Resource Services at 518-564-5062 for additional information.

How do I enroll for benefits if I am eligible?

When you are hired or newly eligible for benefits, you will receive a packet containing the forms and information you will need to enroll for benefits. If you do not receive this information within two weeks of your appointment to a benefits eligible position, contact Human Resource Services at 518-564-5062. Please keep in mind that your enrollment paperwork must be received in this office within 30 days of your initial or qualifying appointment or effective dates may be delayed.

Where can I get more information on benefits as a UUP employee?

Go to the UUP website and click on “Benefits”.

Where can I get more information on benefits as a CSEA employee?

Go to the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund website to view information on dental and vision benefits (and participating providers for each) along with other benefits available to CSEA employees.

When can I change my health insurance plan?

Generally, the option transfer period is November to December with the change of insurance or coverage effective in January. Notices regarding the option transfer period will be sent out via e-mail.

When can I change my health coverage level (e.g. individual to family)?

Changes in health insurance coverage can be made within 30 days of a valid qualifying event. Such events include marriage, birth of a child, or a dependent child reaching the maximum age of coverage. Changes can, under certain circumstances, be made without a qualifying event but would be subject to tax penalties and an additional waiting period. Please contact your Benefits Administrator if you have any questions or need additional information.

Can health insurance be continued if I am recently divorced, or my dependent loses eligibility, or my employment ends?

Yes, through COBRA (a federal continuation of benefits program). The procedures to apply for coverage will be provided to you by the Employee Benefits Division of Civil Service if your employment ends or if a dependent (child or spouse) loses eligibility. You must notify the Employee Benefits Division in Albany of your decision to enroll in COBRA within 60 days of the date you (or your dependents) lose coverage.

How do I replace lost or stolen benefit cards?

If you are enrolled in the Empire Plan, contact Human Resource Services to request a replacement. If you are enrolled in an HMO, you must contact the member services department of the HMO.

How do I change my name or address?

If you need to change your name, address, emergency contact information or other biographic information with the College, you will need to complete an Address Change Form or Name Change Form (PDF) and any applicable forms listed therein. Legal name changes must be accompanied by acceptable proof (court order, marriage license, etc.). Employees may now also change their address using our new Self Service feature on the Employee Services Portal

I was just married, or divorced, or had a baby. What forms do I need to complete?

If you want to make changes to your health insurance coverage, you will need to submit a Health Insurance Transaction Form PS-404 (PDF). You will also need all required supporting documentation to add a dependent to your existing health insurance coverage (see required proofs here). CSEA members can update their enrollment records online at https://www.cseaebf.com/OLE/enroll.php to change their dental and vision coverage. UUP members will need to complete a UUP Benefit Trust Fund Change of Marital or Dependent Status card (available here: http://uupinfo.org/benefits/forms/btfchangestatusform.pdf). You may also want to review your beneficiaries and tax forms at this time.

How do I change the beneficiary designation on my retirement account?

It is a good idea to periodically review the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies to reflect any life changes you may have experienced (birth of a child, death of a parent, marriage, divorce, etc.). This way you can be secure in the knowledge that your wishes will be carried out in the event that anything should happen to you. If you need to change your beneficiary designation, you can contact each plan directly. You are encouraged to send a copy to Human Resource Services so that your benefit file accurately reflects the changes. You can also visit Human Resource Services to make any necessary changes.

Can I put money aside on a pre-tax basis to pay for dependent, elder, or health care expenses?

The Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA) is a flexible spending account program governed by the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service. The program provides State employees with the opportunity to pay for childcare, elder care, or other dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis. Participation in this program allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax salary to pay for their dependent care expenses.

The Health Care Spending (HCS) Account is another type of flexible spending account program that allows eligible State employees to set aside from $150 to $3,000 annually in pre-tax salary to pay for health related expenses that are not reimbursed by health insurance. Medically necessary medical, dental, prescription, vision and hearing expenses for enrollees and their dependents are eligible for reimbursement.

The open enrollment period for these plans is in the fall. Participants must re-enroll each year if they wish to continue the benefit. You are advised to plan carefully each calendar year, as any money left in the account at the end of the year is forfeited. For more information or to enroll, call (800) 358-7202 or visit the Flex Spending Account website at www.flexspend.ny.gov.

I am a new employee (hired within the last year). I am having TIAA/CREF contributions withheld from my paycheck, but when I contact TIAA/CREF I am told that they have no record of me. Where is my money?

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. If you do not complete 366 days of employment, your 3% contribution will be refunded to you upon filing the AC 1781 (available in Human Resource Services).

I am in TIAA/CREF. How much do I contribute to my retirement and how much does the College contribute?

Contributions depend on your appointment date to State service.

Tier 1 and 2 (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.

Tier 3 and 4 (Hired between 7/27/76 and 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 for the first 10 years of service; none thereafter.

Tier 5 (Hired between 7/17/92 and 3/31/12): Employer contributes 8% of salary for the first seven years of service; 10% from seven to 10 years; 13% thereafter. The employee contributes 3% of salary for the first 10 years of service; none thereafter.

Tier 6 (Hired after 3/31/12): Employer contributes 8% of salary for the first seven years of service and 10% thereafter. The employee contribution rate is based on annual salary rate as follows:

$0 - $45,000: 3%

$45,000.01 - $55,000: 3.5%

$55,000.01 - $75,000: 4.5%

$75,000.01 - $100,000: 5.75%

$100,000+: 6%

Can I continue my health insurance into retirement?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirements. To learn about health insurance continuation in retirement, please consult Retiree Health Insurance on NYSHIP Online or contact the Health Benefits Administrator in Human Resource Services at 564-5062 for additional assistance.

How often can I change my SRA or TDA contribution level?

You can change the amount being deducted from your paycheck as often as you would like by accessing [email protected] for either a Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) or a Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA).

If I take an early withdrawal from my supplemental retirement annuity (SRA) before I retire will I have to pay New York State Taxes on it?

Not if you have reached age 59-½ when you make the withdrawal. Since January 1, 1982, Section 612 (c)(3a) of the New York State Tax Law has provided a state tax exemption on the first $20,000 of pension and annuity income received by an individual who has attained age 59-½ and resides in the State of New York. This is in addition to the fact that Section 612 (c)(3)(i) of the NYS Tax Law provides that regular pensions provided by the State, its subdivisions and agencies [ie., NYS Teachers' Retirement System, NYS Employees' Retirement System, Optional Retirement System (ORP)] are not subject to New York State Income Taxes.

Can I take my money out of my SRA, TDA, or my Optional Retirement Program Retirement Annuity (RA)?

Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) funds are available to you while continuing in employment and upon separation from service, subject to early withdrawal penalties if you take them out before age 59- ½. Also, you pay income tax on the distributions in the year that you take them. Optional Retirement Program (ORP) Retirement Annuity (RA) funds are available through new loan provisions. Contact Human Resource Services for more information. Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) funds are governed by the same rules as SRA funds.

How do I get more information about the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan?

You can call the Helpline at (800) 422-8463 (Monday-Friday: 8am – 11pm; Saturday: 9am – 6pm, except holidays) or visit their website at www.nysdcp.com.

Leaves & Attendance Record

Can I charge my sick leave for a death in the immediate family?

Employees may charge up to 15 days of family sick leave per calendar year (30 days for UUP-represented employees).

I’m a full-time faculty member who teaches on MWF and I was sick for two consecutive weeks.  How should I charge my time?

Charge ten (10) days to your sick leave accruals on your monthly time record and forward medical documentation to Human Resource Services.

I have to report for jury duty, what do I need to do?

Advise your supervisor and obtain a signed certificate of attendance from the court clerk.  Provide a copy to your supervisor upon your return.  Do not charge leave accruals.  Since the State grants excused time, you cannot accept payment for Jury Duty unless it is for mileage only.

I’m going on maternity or sick leave, do I need to complete any forms?

Yes, you must provide Human Resource Services with medical documentation as soon as possible and notify your supervisor.  Contact Human Resource Services for more information.

I know someone who is going to be on medical leave and does not have enough accruals. Can I donate accruals?

If the person is employed at a state agency and is eligible to receive donated credits, you may donate vacation accruals as long as you retain at least ten (10) days.  You can download a Leave Donation Form, or go to the Human Resource Services office to obtain one.

If I am approved to take a day off and then get sick, may I charge my absence to sick leave?

No.  Sick leave can only be charged for absences on days that you are both scheduled and available to work.  If you get sick on a weekend, you don’t get two days off the following week.

Applying to and Working at SUNY Plattsburgh

Who is responsible for employment reference checking and education verification?

The hiring department is responsible for verifying degree completion and employment references. All information must be verified prior to the offer of employment. Employment References for some positions will be done electronically by Skill Survey. This electronic reference check is coordinated by email and is a crucial step in the hiring process, so timely completion is necessary. All employees hired for a position with a degree requirement will need to provide original transcripts prior to the start of employment.

What employment opportunities do you have available for clerical (Civil Service), maintenance, professional, or teaching positions?

Vacancies can be found on the Human Resource Services Jobs website. All applications are processed electronically through this website. Computer stations are provided outside of the Human Resource Services office for those individuals who do not have access to the web.

Can I apply for a Civil Service vacancy?

You can apply if you have taken a civil service exam and receive a canvass letter for that specific vacancy. Otherwise, you can apply if you are a permanent employee at the College and meet the posted qualifications for the position. Employees from other State agencies who are interested and eligible to transfer to a posted vacancy should check our Jobs website often and apply directly to whichever position interests you. You may be contacted by Humen Resource Services for additional information in order to verify your eligibility to transfer.

Will I get an interview for a Civil Service vacancy if I received a canvass letter?

A canvass letter is merely an announcement that a vacancy exists in the title for which an individual was tested. A person must be reachable (one of the top three scores of those individuals who responded interested) to be eligible for an interview.

How do I know which Civil Service Exams are being given and when?

Visit the Civil Service website for information on up-coming exams.

What is an I-9 form and why do I have to show originals as supporting documentation?

The I-9 is a federally required document that verifies that an individual is eligible for employment in this country. According to the rules governing the completion of the I-9, only original documents can be used. You can find the required documentation listed on the back of the I-9 form: one document from list “A” OR one each from lists “B” and “C”.

How often do I have to complete an I-9 form?

US citizens: I-9’s are valid continuously unless a break of employment occurs. If an employee is rehired within 3 years of the date that a previous Form I-9 was completed, the employer may either request a new Form I-9, or complete Section 3 of the previously completed Form I-9. If the employer previously completed Section 3, or if the version of the form used for a previous verification is no longer valid, Section 3 of a new Form I-9 must be completed using the most current version and attached to the previously completed Form I-9. Also, if any supporting documentation is expired, you may have to provide updated documents. If a rehire occurs after 3 years from the initial date of execution of the Form I-9, a new Form I-9 must be completed.

International employees on H-1B (specialty occupation) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visas must have their I-9 updated each time their visa is renewed.

In the event of a name change, new supporting documentation is also required.

How can I get an official College ID card?

During your orientation with Human Resource Services, you will receive a temporary ID card. Take this card to the ID Card Office in Clinton Dining Hall to have your picture taken and they will give you an official College ID card.

How do I initiate a position reclassification?

Contact your Human Resource Services liaison to discuss the process. You must be eligible for the requested title, complete a Reclassification Questionnaire and Supervisor Statement, and other appropriate documentation such as a current organization chart so that a position analysis may be conducted. Supervisory and Vice Presidential input and support is also required.

Can a part-time professional staff appointee (academic or professional employee) be granted tenure?

The Policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York exclude part-time service in determining eligibility for tenure. [Reference Article XI, Title B (for academic employees) and Article XI, Title C (for professional employees) of the Policies.]

Can a person appointed to qualified academic rank be given a term appointment?

Yes. Appointees to qualified academic rank may be appointed to temporary or term appointments. They receive all other benefits and terms and conditions of employment except that their time in qualified academic rank does not count towards meeting the “academic rank” service requirements for tenure.

How is compensation determined for a professional employee at hire or promotion?

Many factors are involved. Learn more in the Professional Employees' Compensation and Promotion Plan.

Questions About Payroll

What is meant by “lag” payroll and when will I receive my first paycheck?

All 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 your first check. You will also continue to receive checks after you separate from service until the lag is paid out. In addition, there is a five-day salary deferral (for those individuals in positions represented by CSEA or PEF, or M/C employees). This means that one day’s pay is deducted from each of the first five paychecks, but will be returned to the employee upon separation from service. Contact the Payroll office at (518) 564-3113 for more information.

When I divide my annual salary by 26 paychecks, the number I get doesn’t equal my gross pay.  Why not?

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). Therefore, the correct way to figure your biweekly gross pay is to multiply your annual salary by 0.038356 (which is 14 days times 1/365) or by 0.038251 (which is 14 days times 1/366) in a Leap Year.

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

Mandatory: Federal and State taxes (as applicable); Social Security (6.2% of salary); Medicare (1.45% of salary); Retirement – for full-time employees (3% of salary); Union dues or agency shop fees if position is represented by CSEA, UUP, PEF, Council 82, NYSCOPBA or GSEU (membership not mandatory); Garnishments if applicable.  Optional: Health Insurance, Tax Deferred Savings Plan, Flex Spending Account, NYS College Savings Plan, Savings Bonds, United Way SEFA campaign, Retirement for part-time employees, Personal insurance through Union, M/C parking.

How do I change the amount of taxes being withheld from my paycheck?

You can make changes to your tax withholdings through NYS Payroll Online.  Go to www.suny.edu/hrportal and log-in with your SUNY Plattsburgh ID and password.  For additional instructions, click here: NYS Payroll Online Instructions.  If you prefer to complete a paper version, the W-4 is used to change the amount of your federal withholding and can be found here: W4 Fill-in (PDF) and form IT-2104 is used to change your New York State withholding and can be found here: IT-2104 Fill-in (PDF).  Forms should be submitted to Payroll, Kehoe 904.

How do I enroll for Direct Deposit?

Direct deposit is a safe and convenient way to manage your biweekly paycheck. Your money will be securely transferred into the checking or savings account of your choice each payday, saving you the trouble of keeping track of a paper check and a trip to the bank. You may select to direct your pay into up to eight (8) different accounts. If you are interested in taking advantage of the safety and convenience of direct deposit, please contact the Payroll Office at 564-3113 or print the State Direct Deposit form (PDF) and mail it to Payroll along with a voided check or blank deposit slip. Direct deposit may take several paychecks to take effect, so please plan accordingly.

Employee Evaluation Process

When are classified evaluations due?

Annual performance evaluations are connected to the employee’s date in title. Notification is sent to all supervisors at least a month in advance when one of their employees’ evaluations is due.

What criteria are professional employees evaluated on?

Among the factors considered will be effectiveness in performance, mastery of specialization, professional ability, effectiveness in university and community service, and continuing growth. (See Article XII, Title B & C of the Policies of the Board of Trustees for additional information) View complete versions of the Academic and Professional Performance Review Documents on the Human Resource Services Forms page (scroll down to Performance Review).

How can I determine my renewal/non-renewal notification date?

A part-time term employee will receive notice no later than 45 calendar days prior to the term expiration date. Full-time employees holding a term appointment will receive notice three months prior to the end of a term expiring at the end of an appointee’s first year of uninterrupted service within the University, but not later than March 31 for terms ending in June, July, or August; six months prior to the end of a term expiring after the completion of one, but not more than two, years of an appointee’s uninterrupted service within the University, but not later than December 15 for academic year employees whose terms end in June, July, or August; and twelve months prior to the expiration of a term after two or more years of uninterrupted service within the University. (See Article XI, Title D of the Policies of the Board of Trustees for additional information.)

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