Resources for Local & Municipal Employers
Retirement Online will change the way employers do business with NYSLRS. We are committed to providing you with the information you need so your transition to Retirement Online is easy and convenient.
These guides and documents have been created to help you through the certification process.
Using Retirement Online
Enrollment Quick Guide
Legacy Reporting Quick Guides
- Upload a Regular Monthly Report
- Validate a Regular Monthly Report
- Correct Errors and Warnings for a Regular Monthly Report
- Submit a Regular Monthly Report
- Create a Manual Monthly Report
- Enter and Validate Data for a Manual Monthly Report
- Submit a Manual Monthly Report
For Contact and Security Administrators
- Gold Certification: Benefits of Using Enhanced Reporting
- Gold Certification: Enhanced Reporting File Format Guide
- Guide to Silver Certification
- How to Prepare a Legacy Reporting Test File for File Upload Sessions
- How to Prepare Legacy Reporting Information for Manual Reporting Practice Sessions
- Legacy Employer Reporting Training Manual
- Employer Reporting — Manual Practice Session Guide
For Payroll Providers
Benefits of Retirement Online
Retirement Online Ask Me Anything Webinar: Working in Retirement Online
Retirement Online Ask Me Anything Webinar: Job Codes
Retirement Online Ask Me Anything Webinar: Member Enrollment
Retirement Online Ask Me Anything Webinar: Employer Reporting
Retirement Online for Employers: Silver Certification
Benefits of Retirement Online for Employers
Questions & Answers
Q: Will Retirement Online replace the current reporting systems we use?
A: Yes, Retirement Online will replace the current RIR/RAR reporting systems in May 2019, beginning with your April 2019 report. Your current reporting process is referred to as “Legacy Reporting.”
Q: Is NYSLRS’ new Retirement Online system secure?
A: Retirement Online has been built with security safeguards used for banking and financial institutions. These protections ensure that the data is protected and only available to authorized users.
Q: Will existing information be moved to the new system or will we have to re-enroll all of our members?
A: All the data that has been previously reported will be moved over to Retirement Online.
Q: Does Retirement Online feature a time out setting for inactivity once signed in?
A: Users are timed out after 20 minutes of inactivity in Retirement Online. As long as you are actively using the system, you will not be timed out. You have the ability to save your work if you sign out before completing and submitting a report.
Q: Will Retirement Online accept our current file format?
A: Yes, Retirement Online will accept the current legacy file format you submit (both monthly and adjustment files). Over time, NYSLRS will work with employers to transition to the new enhanced file format.
Q: How will we prepare for using Retirement Online?
A: NYSLRS’ three-level certification process will prepare you to use Retirement Online. Completing Bronze Certification will give your employer contacts access to Retirement Online. To become Silver certified, employer contacts with specific security roles must complete training on how to report and enroll members using Retirement Online. The final step — Gold Certification — will require transitioning from your current reporting file format to the enhanced reporting file format.
Q: Are we going to be able to test out the new system before the upgrades in May 2019?
A: As a part of Silver Certification, you will practice submitting test files into a dedicated Retirement Online training environment. You will also have the opportunity to practice enrolling new members.
Q: How will NYSLRS help us prepare for the transition to enhanced reporting?
A: NYSLRS will offer resources on how the enhanced report should be formatted so you can begin conversations with your report creators (e.g. payroll service providers and in-house IT staff). These resources will help you work with your report creators to see what changes will be necessary to begin enhanced reporting and determine how long it will take you to transition.
Q: Are you talking to payroll companies to ensure that enhanced reporting files will be properly created?
A: NYSLRS is working with payroll companies regarding the enhanced reporting format changes. If you work with a software or payroll provider, please provide their contact information to NYSLRS. You can list your payroll service provider as a Reporting Technology contact in Retirement Online so we can contact them about enhanced reporting.
Q: If we are still reporting on our current file format (legacy), will we continue to combine all days and earnings into one reporting line?
A: As long as you continue to use the current file format, you will continue to combine all days and earnings for a member into a single reporting line for NYSLRS.
Q: Once we move to the enhanced file format, will we continue to combine all days and earnings into one reporting line?
A: As part of moving to the enhanced file format, NYSLRS will work with you to determine how to report separate jobs. NYSLRS will issue a unique employment instance for you to use to separately report that job. Going forward, employment instances will be supplied to you by NYSLRS when new hires are reported through the enhanced file or when you enroll a new member in Retirement Online. You will report the days worked and earnings for each of the employment instances.
Q: We currently keep track of a registration number for our employees that become members of NYSLRS. Will we continue to report using this number?
A: While reporting with your current file format, you will continue to report only those employees that are members of NYSLRS using their registration number. You will start using the NYSLRS ID, a unique identifier that will be assigned to each employee you report, once you transition to enhanced reporting.
Q: A key change with the enhanced format involves reporting on a much broader pool of employees, not just enrolled members with registration numbers. Is the Office of the State Comptroller authorized to collect such information?
A: Section 34 of the NYS Retirement and Social Security Law permits the Office of the State Comptroller to collect information for all employees.
Q: Do we have to report past employees?
A: You will report all employees on your payroll that are potentially eligible for NYSLRS membership for the reporting period. Anyone who is no longer on your payroll does not need to be reported.
Q: Do we need to report retirees?
A: Yes. If you are paying employees who have retired from any NYS public retirement system, you will need to report them. This will allow NYSLRS to proactively monitor their post-retirement earnings cap. Remember, just because they haven’t hit an earnings cap with you, doesn’t mean they haven’t hit it with another employer.
Q: How will I start reporting employees that I’ve never reported to NYSLRS before, such as optional members?
A: Optional members will need to be reported on the enhanced reporting file. This allows NYSLRS to keep track of their earnings and more quickly supply a service credit purchase quote should they ever elect to join or take a job title where they become a mandatory member. During the Gold Certification process, NYSLRS will work with you to exchange information about these members so they can be created in Retirement Online. Once created, NYSLRS will share their NYSLRS ID and employment instance with you so that they can be reported along with your registered members. Any earnings or days worked from before the switch to the enhanced file format do not need to be reported.
Q: NYSLRS is moving away from using report codes to distinguish separate reporting entities within a given location (e.g. community colleges, libraries). Is it possible to receive a new location code so I can submit my report separately to NYSLRS?
A: Yes. Employers who currently have multiple report codes that represent distinct entities have been identified by NYSLRS as potential recipients of new location codes for reporting purposes. NYSLRS has begun reaching out to these employers regarding the next steps in the process. If you have a business reason to seek a separate location code for reporting purposes, please contact NYSLRS at 1-866-805-0990 so we can determine the best course of action for your organization.
Q: We are being asked to report ALL earnings to NYSLRS. How will I know where to report different earnings components? Will my bill be impacted?
A: NYSLRS will provide a detailed explanation of the new earnings codes and which pay components should map to which codes. The earnings will be broken out so that NYSLRS can determine which earnings are billable and which are not, so there should be no impact on your annual bill. Reporting all earnings will help NYSLRS calculate benefits more accurately at time of retirement.
Q: Will employers be given a cheat sheet that lists out all the job and earnings codes?
A: Yes. A finalized list of job codes, earnings codes, and HR transactions will be posted on the NYSLRS employer webpages.
Q: If an employee undergoes a job change (i.e. a promotion), what HR transaction do we report to NYSLRS?
A: Report the HR Transaction as a “Data Change.” This can also be done in the View/Edit page of the enhanced file format.
Q: Regarding Tier 5 & 6 overtime, we currently go in and manually back out the overtime that is over the limit and do not deduct contributions — do we continue doing this with enhanced reporting?
A: Employers should continue to monitor and apply the applicable caps to overtime earnings. The system will automatically determine when overtime caps have been reached based on the information that has been reported to NYSLRS. When an overtime cap is reached, a notification will automatically be sent to the employer to notify you to stop taking contribution deductions for overtime earnings for the balance of the year. You should continue to report the days and all earnings, including overtime for that employee, regardless of whether they have met the limit.
Q: How do we report loan deductions if people are making loan payments and have jobs at other public employers?
A: NYSLRS determines the member’s primary employer and takes loan payments from that employer. The employer will receive notifications through Retirement Online regarding loan deductions, whether it be to start, stop or change them.
Q: Would we want all employees, including members that are in other systems, to be reported to NYSLRS?
A: All employees who meet mandatory membership criteria and employees who could potentially become members of NYSLRS should be reported on the enhanced file. Potential members include optional members and retirees. Optional members have the option to enroll based on their job. If an employee is in another retirement system, such as the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS), you do not need to report that information to NYSLRS. However, if an employee has multiple jobs, and one of them is eligible for NYSLRS membership, the employee and their NYSLRS job data should be reported to NYSLRS.
Q: When we transition to the enhanced format, will we need to go back and enroll all of our employees with NYSLRS?
A: You will not need to re-enroll any of your currently registered members. All information that was previously reported to us will move forward into Retirement Online. However, when you transition to the enhanced report as part of the Gold Certification process, NYSLRS will work with you to make sure you have the necessary information (NYSLRS ID and employment instance) to report your currently registered members as well as your potential members on your monthly file.
Q: When will the online Member Enrollment Functionality be available on Retirement Online?
A: Employers can enroll members using Retirement Online starting in May 2019.
Q: Once we are on the enhanced format and enroll a new employee, do I have to manually update information in our own system?
A: When you report new employees, they will be created in Retirement Online and you will be provided with their NYSLRS ID, employment instance and contribution rate, if applicable. These new identifiers will be available to you in a New Hire Summary page. Your system and records should be updated with these identifiers.
Q: Can the New Hire Summary page be printed?
A: Yes, you will be able to export the data from the New Hire Summary page to an Excel document and print it as needed.
Q: If a part-time worker is working full-time hours, will they be automatically enrolled with NYSLRS?
A: Part-time workers are considered to be optional members regardless of the number of hours worked. In the enhanced format, all optional members would be reported; however, they will not be automatically enrolled. Optional members will need to elect enrollment and be enrolled by the employer through Retirement Online. In the event that the appointment type changes to a full-time, 12-month, permanent appointment, then membership in NYSLRS would be considered mandatory.
Q: We have times when we hire large numbers of new employees at a time. Will we be able to mass enroll them?
A: Once you have moved to the enhanced format, employers can submit an ‘Enrollment Only’ file that contains biographical data and job data information as your new employees are hired. This option allows you to obtain the NYSLRS ID, employment instance, and contribution rate, if appropriate, ahead of time so you can include these on your regular monthly report.
Q: I currently report to NYSLRS on behalf of multiple municipalities. Can I access Retirement Online with one user ID or will I need to use multiple user IDs?
A: Retirement Online has been designed so that employer contacts can have a single user ID and password that allows you to be granted access for one or more organizations or location codes. The access each employer contact has is controlled by the Security Administrator for each location code.
Q: We are already using the Retirement Internet Reporting (RIR) system. Will my current user ID work in Retirement Online?
A: The credentials you are using to access NYSLRS’ existing employer applications will not transfer to Retirement Online. All employers must complete Bronze Certification to get credentials to access Retirement Online.
Q: What is the role of a Contact Administrator?
A: The Contact Administrator is responsible for adding, updating, and maintaining employer contact information with NYSLRS. This individual is expected to conduct periodic reviews to ensure that all contact information is accurate and complete.
Q: What is the role of a Security Administrator?
A: The Security Administrator is the person responsible for assigning or removing security roles for the designated employer contacts in their organization. This individual is also expected to monitor for any suspicious activity and report such to NYSLRS for follow up. For example, if a Security Administrator receives a notification that a designated contact reset their password, but that contact is out of the office or on vacation, this suspicious activity should be reported to NYSLRS immediately.
Q: What kind of notifications will the Security Administrator receive?
A: The Security Administrator is notified whenever an employer contact makes changes to their account information, such as resetting an email address or password. These notifications are provided to ensure that no account with security access can be altered without the Security Administrator’s knowledge.
Q: How many Contact and Security Administrators can employers have?
A: There are primary and alternate designees for the Contact and Security Administrator roles. Each employer can have three (3) Contact Administrators and two (2) Security Administrators.
Q: Can one person be both the Security and Contact Administrator?
A: It is recommended to have two different individuals be Security and Contact Administrators as this allows for a separation of duties. However, if your particular office structure cannot support this, and the head of your organization authorizes it, one individual can fulfill both roles. If possible, it is also recommended to designate an alternate individual for these important roles.
Q: What if we have not received our Security or Contact Administrator designation forms?
A: For questions regarding Security and Contact Administrator request status, please contact the Employer Access team at NYSLRS_Employer_Access@osc.state.ny.us.
For general Employer Retirement Online issues, support, or questions, please contact the Retirement Online Employer Help Desk by email at RetirementHelpDesk@osc.state.ny.us or by phone at 844-619-9614.
Q: Can one person be both the Employer Reporting Uploader and Employer Reporting Submitter?
A: It is a recommended practice to have two different individuals perform the Uploader and Submitter roles, but it is permissible for one person to have both roles.
Q: Will all employer contacts have access to Retirement Online?
A: Not necessarily. The Security Administrator will determine which contacts need access to the new Retirement Online roles and pages and will assign access accordingly. For example, the CEO or head of your organization is likely to be listed as a contact so NYSLRS can notify them about important Retirement business, however the CEO is not likely to need to sign in to Retirement Online to perform business such as enrolling members or reporting data. That access will be granted to other contacts who need to perform the work.
Retirement Online for Members — Marketing Toolkit
Retirement Online provides a convenient way for members to do business with the Retirement System. We think your employees will be interested in using this service, and you can help us spread the word by using the materials in our marketing toolkit. You’ll find newsletter articles and email messages about Retirement Online, a poster and much more. This toolkit will be updated as new member features are introduced to Retirement Online.