State Agencies Bulletin No. 1977

Two-Year Look Back for Tier 6 Voluntary Defined Contribution Program (VDC)
Date Issued
December 24, 2021


The purpose of this bulletin is to provide agencies with instructions to update Tier 6 employees’ Savings Plans page due to the two-year look back.

Affected Employees

Tier 6 VDC employees are affected.


On March 16, 2012, the Governor signed legislation creating Tier 6. This tier applies to employees joining a retirement system after March 31, 2012. This legislation authorized the creation of a new Tier 6 pension plan including a VDC plan. (See Payroll Bulletin No. 1256)

Effective April 2013, employee contribution rate is to be based on employees’ annual wage as required by legislation.

Once a Tier 6 member has reached three (3) years of membership, employees’ contribution rate is based on annual pensionable salary from two years prior.

Note: Total salary should include pensionable salary from all PayServ job records, as well as agencies not in PayServ.

Employee Contribution Rates:

Wages Contribution Rate
$45,000.00 or less 3%
$45,000.01 to $55,000.00 3.5%
$55,000.01 to $75,000.00 4.5%
$75,000.01 to $100,000.00 5.75%
$100,000.01 and Greater 6%

Benefit Plans and Narrative Descriptions:

Benefit Plan Description

Note: Variable contribution rates must be entered in the Percent of Earnings field on the PayServ Savings Plans panel.

Effective Dates

Effective Administration paychecks dated February 2, 2022, and Institution paychecks dated February 10, 2022.

Agencies must adhere to the 2021-2022 Agency Submission Schedule when updating the Retirements Plan panel in PayServ.

Eligibility Criteria

Tier 6 members enrolled in the VDC between July 1, 2013, and January 1, 2019, are eligible.

Agency Actions

Agencies must update the Retirement Plans page, changing the Benefit Plan based on review of the “two-year look back” salary.

Public query, 92_2_YR_LOOKBACK_VDC_P2, provides employees’ earnings by Dept ID for the calendar year entered. If the query returns multiple rows for an employee, earnings from each row must be combined, determining the “two-year look back” salary.

Note: When the query prompts for ‘Calendar Year,’ enter 2020.

Charts within the ‘Background’ section above should be used to determine whether the contribution rate has changed and if an update to the Benefit Plan is needed.

Retirement Plans page for employees with an Active, Leave of Absence, Leave with Pay, or Terminated status must be updated.

Update Benefit Plan:

Agencies must adhere to the 2021-2022 Agency Submission Schedule when updating the Savings Plan panel in PayServ to affect the February 2, 2022, (Administration) and February 10, 2022, (Institution) check dates.

Update Percent of Earnings:

  1. Open the Savings Plans page. (Home>Benefits>Enroll In Benefits>Savings Plans)
  2. Enter Empl ID into search box.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Select correct Empl Rcd number for corresponding Job Record (if multiple records exist).
  5. Insert row in Coverage section and enter payroll period begin date into Deduction Begin Date and Coverage Begin Date fields.
  6. Enter employees’ Date of Membership into Election Date field.
    • The same election date should be carried forward from previous page.
  7. Enter the employees’ Benefit Plan into Benefit Plan field.
    • The same Benefit Plan should be carried forward from previous page.
  8. Enter appropriate Percent of Earnings, dependent upon the employees’ total annual earnings. (See charts in ‘Background’ section to determine new Percent of Earnings.)
  9. Save transaction.
  10. Enter General Comments: “VDC Savings Plans page updated for 2022 Two Year Look-Back.”


Questions regarding the VDC two-year look back may be directed to SUNY U-Wide Benefits at [email protected].

Questions regarding PayServ entries may be directed to the Payroll Retirement mailbox.