State Agencies Bulletin No. 235

Retroactive Salary Transactions for Executive Branch Agencies
Date Issued
February 15, 2001


To revise the guidelines governing OSC's review and approval of retroactive salary transactions.

Affected Employees

Agencies that submit retroactive salary transactions on behalf of their employees.

Effective Date



Agencies should process salary changes in the payroll system as soon as possible. However, the Office of the State Comptroller recognizes that it is not always possible for agencies to complete their required processing steps by the effective date for all transactions. Additionally, OSC recognizes that the current guidelines governing retroactive salary transactions do not adequately reflect the time frames necessary for many agencies to process such transactions. Accordingly, OSC has revised the guidelines to increase flexibility and improve processing efficiency.

The guidelines in this Bulletin supersede those in the Payroll Manual Item on this topic (See Other Salary Payments & Procedures Section of Salary Manual, Part III, Pages 23-25). A revised Salary Manual Item, reflecting the guidelines established by this Bulletin, will be forthcoming.

Summary of Revisions to Retroactive Salary Transaction Guidelines

The chart on the following page summarizes the revised guidelines governing the submission of retroactive salary transactions to OSC.

Transaction Types Submission Guidelines
  • Appointments (e.g., hires, rehires, concurrent hires)
  • Reinstatements from leaves
  • Corrections to appointment, reinstatement and separation dates
  • Promotions
  • Salary increases for unallocated positions*
  • Changes in percentage of time worked
Transactions in this category that are subject to Civil Service review and approval will be approved by OSC if NYSTEP approval has been granted, regardless of the effective date.

Transactions in this category that are notsubject to Civil Service review and approval may be reported no more than five (5) payroll periods retroactive without justification. This allows payment for a total of 60 business days (the current pay period plus five retroactive periods).

  • Changes to additional pay factors (e.g., inconvenience, shift differential, location pay**)
  • Miscellaneous payments (via Time Entry panels)
May be reported no more than nine (9) payroll periods retroactive. This allows payment for a total of 100 business days (the current pay period plus nine retroactive periods).
  • Reclassifications
  • Reallocations
  • Increased Hiring Rates
  • Geographic Differentials**
  • Shift Differentials
Pay changes, position changes and additional pay changes should be submitted timely and will be approved retroactive to the approved effective date in NYSTEP.
  • Civil Service Commission Reinstatement (Rule 5.4)
Payable from the effective date stated in the Commission approval letter.
  • Institution Teacher Promotions
Following issuance of certification by SED, payable to the date when the additional courses were completed.


* Salary increases based on DOB-approved performance evaluation and advance plans for unallocated positions that are equated to grades may be processed as retroactively as the dates of the plans permit.

** There is no limit on retroactive payment of location pay and geographic differentials when the entire agency is located in an eligible area.

Summary of Revisions to Retroactive Salary Transaction Guidelines

There is no time limit on the correction of payroll errors (e.g., failure to pay performance advances, longevity payments, contractual salary increases to eligible employees). If an employee has been paid a salary less than that authorized by law, an adjustment will be paid retroactive to the date of the error.

Agency Responsibility

Transactions that fall within the revised guidelines:

In general, OSC will not require agencies to obtain advance approval or provide documentation on retroactive salary transactions that fall within the revised guidelines. However, OSC reserves the right to require agencies to provide an explanation and/or documentation to substantiate specific transactions when warranted.

Transactions that EXCEED the revised guidelines:
  • For transactions that are subject to Civil Service review and approval (e.g., retroactive appointments), OSC will verify that Civil Service approval has been granted. In the event that Civil Service approval is not granted, OSC staff will contact the agency to address each situation on a case-by-case basis.
  • For transactions that do not require Civil Service approval (e.g., salary increases for unallocated positions, unclassified position transactions, miscellaneous payments, changes to additional pay factors), agencies must provide an explanation/justification for the retroactive transaction in the General Comments panel. In some cases, OSC may request supporting documentation to further substantiate the proposed transaction.

Additional Information

See Department of Civil Service's State Personnel Management Manual Section on Retroactive Appointments - 1850(E)


Questions regarding this bulletin may be directed to the Payroll Audit mailbox.