NYS Comptroller Seal  

Bureau of State Payroll Services

Date:  April 19, 2002

Bulletin No. 315


Subject Changes in Processing the Suspense Period and 7 Year Period for TIAA/CREF Members
Purpose To explain processing changes affecting the suspense period and 7 year period for TIAA/CREF members.
Affected Employees Employees with a TIAA/CREF record in PaySR, including employees whose TIAA record has been canceled.
Effective Date April 26, 2002
Overview Section 392(4) of the Education Law provides that the employer shall not make contributions to the optional retirement program on behalf of the employee until "completion of one year of service, and continuance in service thereafter". This had always been interpreted to require a 13-month "suspense period" before employer contributions could be made.

Based on a legal review by OSC Counsel, any employee who continues to be employed 366 days after their first day of employment, satisfies the "one year of service" and "continuance in service" provisions of section 392(4) of the Education law. The legal review also clarified that employees who are on a leave of absence (with or without pay) are considered to be employed and therefore should be given credit for this time when calculating completion dates for the suspense period and the seven (7) year period (where applicable). Therefore, it is necessary to revise the current processing for both the suspense period and the seven (7) year period for TIAA/CREF members.

This revision will eliminate the TIAA/CREF Counters panel and create the TIAA/CREF - Suspense/NRI panel. No format changes will be made to the Retirement Plans panel; however, new functionality for some fields and new edit messages have been added as described in the sections below.

The revisions will not change the rules governing the time period for calculating employee and employer contributions; neither are calculated when an employee is on a leave without pay.
Processing Information The first time plan type 7Z (TIAA/CREF) has been selected and saved on the Retirement Plans panel per company the following processing will occur.

1. The new TIAA/CREF - Suspense/NRI panel (see Attachment A) is automatically created. Agencies will have 'View Only' access to this panel.

2. The Company field represents the employee's contract group. For those employees in companies NYS (SUNY, Education, Veterans' Affairs) or SCF (SUNY Construction Fund), this field will be populated with NYS. For those employees in company CNY (CUNY), this field will be populated with CNY. Use the outer scroll bar to navigate between companies if an employee has a TIAA record in more than one company.

3. The NY New Rate Indicator Flag check box is checked only if the employee is enrolled in a New Rate Indicator Benefit Plan (T3CNYB, T5CNYB, T3SNYB, T5SNYB) on the Retirement Plans panel. If this field is not checked, the Projected 7 Year Completion Date and the Check Date ER % Increased fields will be grayed out.

NOTE: If an employee has more than one record number in the same company, the Benefit Plan fields on the Retirement Plans panel MUST BE identical in order to ensure correct processing. Agencies will be notified by OSC of any discrepancies and instructed to make the necessary corrections.

4. The Projected 366 Day Completion Date field and the Projected 7 Year Completion Date field (if applicable) are populated based on the date entered in the Elect Date field on the Retirement Plans panel. The program adds 366 days to the Elect Date to determine the Projected 366 Day Completion Date and adds 7 years (accounting for leap years) to the Elect Date to determine the Projected 7 Year Completion Date.

If an employee has more than one record number in the same company, the Elect Date on each record should be identical. Since the program only calculates the projected date(s) based on the first Elect Date entered per company, a subsequent hire in which a differing Elect Date is entered will not affect the existing projected date(s). You will, however, receive the message "Elect Date differs from existing information; verify data and contact OSC if needed."

If at any time a change is made to the Elect Date field, the program will not automatically update the projected date(s). You will receive the message "Elect Date has been changed; verify projected dates and contact OSC if needed."

NOTE: The Elect Date field on the Retirement Plans panel MUST BE populated with the employee's original TIAA/CREF eligibility date (retroactive dates are valid) within your agency group. If an incorrect date is used, the projected dates will not be accurate. If an employee has a prior contract outside of your agency group, use the eligibility date for your agency group to ensure the accuracy of the Projected 7 Year Completion Date (if applicable). You must contact OSC, however, to correct the Projected 366 Day Completion Date and the Check Date Escrow Money Sent fields.

5. The Check Date Escrow Money Sent field and the Check Date ER % Increased field (if applicable) will be populated with the check date that the employee became participating and the check date the employee's ER (employer) rate was increased respectively. These check dates will be determined by the pay period in which the respective projected date falls.

6. The Empl Rcd# will correspond to the employee record number on Job Data. Use the inner scroll bar to navigate between record numbers if an employee has a TIAA record in multiple record numbers in one company.

7. The Employee Status field indicates the employee's current status on Job Data.

8. The money fields associated with arrears deductions and escrow contributions are updated each pay period during the suspense period with the cumulative totals. These fields do not contain monies for the period the employee becomes participating. The two interest fields will be populated at the time the employee becomes participating with the interest calculated on the monies in the escrow and arrears fields.
Conversion Information for all employees who have a TIAA/CREF row on the Retirement Plans panel, regardless of their Class, will be converted to the new TIAA/CREF - Suspense/NRI panel. Fields will be populated as follows:

Suspense Period and 7 Year Period Completed
The Projected 366 Day Completion Date and Check Date Escrow Money Sent fields, and the Projected 7 Year Completion Date and Check Date ER% Increased fields (if applicable) will be populated with a conversion date of 01/01/1901. All money fields associated with arrears deductions, escrow contributions and interest amounts will be populated with 0.00.

Suspense Period Only Completed
The Projected 366 Day Completion Date and Check Date Escrow Money Sent fields will be populated with a conversion date of 01/01/1901. All money fields will be populated with 0.00. An algorithm will be used to calculate the Projected 7 Year Completion Date (if applicable) based on the current value in the TIAA Seven Year Counter field on the TIAA/CREF Counters panel.

Suspense Period and 7 Year Period Not Completed
An algorithm will be used to calculate both the Projected 366 Day Completion Date and the Projected 7 Year Completion Date (if applicable) based on the current TIAA Suspense Counter and TIAA Seven Year Counter values on the TIAA/CREF Counters panel. The money fields associated with arrears deductions and contributions will be populated with the current escrow monies. The interest fields will be blank.

In all cases, the projected date(s) will not be calculated if all job records with TIAA in one company are inactive (terminated, retired, deceased) or if all TIAA records in one company are canceled.
Additional Processing Information As stated earlier, an employee will now receive credit for leaves of absence when determining suspense and 7 year completion dates. If an employee has a break in service (termination, retirement), however, this time cannot be included toward the completion of the suspense or 7 year period. Therefore, a program will be run each night to zero out the Projected 366 Day Completion Date field and the Projected 7 Year Completion Date field (if applicable) based on the following criteria:

If all Job records with a corresponding TIAA record in one company have a status of inactive or all TIAA records in one company have been canceled and the Check Date Escrow Money Sent field is blank, the Projected 366 Day Completion Date will be zeroed out.

If all Job records with a corresponding TIAA record with an NRI benefit plan in one company have a status of inactive or all TIAA records with an NRI benefit plan in one company have been canceled and the Check Date ER % Increased field is blank, the Projected 7 Year Completion Date will be zeroed out.

This will prevent monies from erroneously being sent to TIAA. However, if an employee returns to the payroll and has an active TIAA record, it is necessary to calculate the correct projected date(s) and contact the TIAA Unit in the Deduction Section of State Payroll Services in order to populate these fields correctly.

If an employee requests a suspense refund, the TIAA Unit will zero out all money fields on the TIAA/CREF - Suspense/NRI panel and populate the refund data fields on the Retirement Plans panel.
New Report - NBEN742 The NBEN742 - Active TIAA/CREF Employees With Missing Projected Dates has been created to assist agencies with identifying active (active, leave with pay, leave without pay) employees with blank projected dates. This occurs when an employee returns to the payroll from an inactive status and the agency fails to notify OSC to update these fields. The report is run weekly for all agencies regardless of cycle and will be available in REVEAL. Employees meeting the following criteria will appear on the report:

The employee's status on Job is active, the employee has a corresponding active TIAA record, the Check Date Escrow Money Sent field is blank, and the Projected 366 Day Completion Date field is blank.

The employee's status on Job is active, the employee has a corresponding active TIAA record in which an NRI benefit plan is selected, the Check Date ER % Increased field is blank, and the Projected 7 Year Completion Date field is blank.

Without the projected date information, employees will not become participating and will not have their ER percent increased (if applicable). Therefore, it is important that agencies review this report each period and contact OSC to make the necessary corrections.
New Report - NBEN720 The NBEN720 - Employees Going Participating In TIAA/CREF has been created to identify employees who will reach their Projected 366 Day Completion Date within the next three pay periods. The report is run weekly for all agencies regardless of cycle and will be available in REVEAL. It is sorted by Employee Status (Leave, Leave W/Pay, Active), Effective Check Date and SSN. An employee will appear under each agency for which there is an active Job record and corresponding active TIAA record.

Since credit is now given for leaves of absence, it is imperative that agencies review the report immediately and update the employee status on Job Data, if necessary, to prevent the employee from erroneously becoming participating resulting in their escrow monies being forwarded to TIAA/CREF.
Questions Questions regarding this bulletin may be directed to the Payroll Deductions mailbox.