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Office of the New York State Comptroller

State Payroll Services

Overview of Bureau of State Payroll Services

The Bureau of State Payroll Services (the Bureau) is responsible for ensuring that New York State government employees are paid timely and accurately in accordance with appropriate laws, rules, regulations and contractual provisions. The Bureau performs its responsibilities for employees of the New York State Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York senior colleges.

Four Sections specializing in various payroll disciplines conduct the work of the Bureau.

The Earnings Section has a wide variety of responsibilities which focus on ensuring that approximately 250,000 State employees in more than 500 payroll agencies are paid correctly and in accordance with appropriate laws, rules, regulations, and contractual provisions. The Section performs its responsibilities for employees of the Executive, Judiciary, Legislature, State University, and senior colleges of the City University of New York.

The weekly transaction review covers both the Administrative and Institution pay cycles for the Executive and Non-Executive Branch agencies. Earnings Section staff analyze weekly payroll information submitted by agencies in the payroll system (PayServ). Specific categories of review include:

  • Additional Pay – Pay categories which must be included in the calculation of overtime.  Two (2) categories: recurring (a.k.a. - Additional Salary Factors) and one-time (a.k.a. - PS&T Longevity). The additional payments that are recurring every pay period are added to an employee's base annual salary for calculations of their biweekly payment. One-time payments that impact the overtime calculation are added to an employee's base annual salary and processed for a specific period of time. Used for negative earnings codes (such as overpayment and salary withholding), lump sums, tax purposes, miscellaneous payments, etc.
  • Time Entry – Pay categories not included in the calculation of overtime.  These are one-time, non-recurring payments.  Used for adjustments, holidays, overtime, shifts, lost time, special allowances, tax purposes, and a broad range of other one time payments.
  • Job Requests – Modifications to data that is stored for an employee (re: promotions, leaves and reinstatements).
  • Certification and Position Management – Reconciling discrepancies between the Department of Civil Service’s human resources system (NYSTEP) and PayServ to ensure that positions requiring Civil Service certification are processed in accordance with the law.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Processing Social Security and Medicare wage adjustments and refunds based on Workers’ Compensation awards.

Upon completion of the transaction review, staff “calculate” (re: process which compiles the input data and calculates the paychecks; during, the earnings, deductions, taxes, and net pay are determined for all employees) and “confirm” (re: process which does the final calculation of paychecks; once completed, no additional changes are possible) paychecks for final payment and distribution.

The Deductions and Tax Administration Section audits and processes the deductions for taxes, child support, union dues, charitable and pension contributions, and all other deductions. The section processes the deductions for 7 different retirement systems, 46 unions, 110 negotiating units, dozens of financial institutions including credit unions and insurance companies, and over 30 agents affiliated with the State Employees Federated Appeal.

The Retirement and Savings Plans Team is responsible for identification and resolution of retirement and savings deduction – related transaction errors. The team works with retirement system liaisons and 403B and 457 deduction vendors.

The Transaction Origination and Customer Service Team is the initiation point for various employee deduction transactions, employee refunds and adjustments, direct deposit returned items, and benefit related transactions. This team ensures that PayServ and other records are correctly updated, creates employee payment vouchers for entry into the Statewide Financial System, and ensures that transactions initiated within this group are in compliance with law and labor agreements.  The Customer Service Team within the Transaction Origination Team handles garnishment inquiries from agencies and employees and handles inquires to the deductions mailbox.

The General Deductions & Pay Calc Team is responsible for identification and resolution of data errors using queries, reports and reconciliations after the completion of the transaction initiation process. The team resolves errors through manual and automated system updates and/or customer/vendor notifications. They are responsible for determining necessary system table updates to implement new general deduction codes and changes to existing general deduction codes, i.e. union dues increases. In addition, this team also handles salary refund and prior year AC-230 processing.

The Tax Administration and Reporting Team is responsible for making all tax payments and complying with all employee and employer tax regulations and reporting requirements. They are responsible to ensure employee tax data is reported to the appropriate taxing authorities and tax payments are reported and submitted in an accurate and timely manner. The team is also responsible for making year-end adjustments, annual reporting and the creation of employee tax documents.

The System Support Group (SSG) is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the State payroll system and ensuring that the payroll system properly calculates employee payments. SSG is responsible for understanding the needs of the business units and translating them into functional requirements to be used by CIO to ensure that the PayServ application is modified and updated appropriately to meet the continually changing demands placed on the Bureau. SSG follows a standard methodology of eliciting and documenting business requirements, develops functional solutions and performs rigorous testing application changes. The section implements requests for system changes; generates paychecks, direct deposit advices, and W-2s; and provides expenditure information for the Central Accounting System.

The Management Information and Analysis Section provides useful data for managerial and policy decisions. The section identifies trends in payroll processing, monitors the internal control environment, performs statewide quality assurance reviews, provides audit risk assessments, develops productivity statistics and analysis, and provides opportunities to rethink OSC and agency business practices. Management Information and Analysis also provides many other services to OSC and agencies including:

  • The extraction and preparation of payroll data for FOILs, information subpoenas, press inquiries, and other requests for information
  • Oversight of data security procedures and implementation for all payroll applications (PayServ, PS Query & Control D).
  • Training and support to Bureau and State Agency staff in the use of PS Query and related report generation tools and serves as the Bureau representative on the PS Query Users Group
  • The development and analysis of State agency performance measures and statewide performance standards
  • Research, preparation, and maintenance of the online Payroll Manual
  • Preparation and organization of materials and correspondence for the Bureau
  • Facilitation of the setting up of new agencies, agency mergers, and agency closures