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NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Variable Contribution Rates (VCR)

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Chapter 18 of the Laws of 2012 created Tier 6, which requires variable contribution rates (VCR) for members as of April 1, 2013. The rates range from 3 to 6 percent. Before the start of each State fiscal year (April 1 – March 31), we will provide you with rates for each of your Tier 6 employees.

Annualized Wage or Actual Earnings Contribution Rate
$45,000 or less 3.00%
$45,000.01 to $55,000 3.50%
$55,000.01 to $75,000 4.50%
$75,000.01 to $100,000 5.75%
More than $100,000 6.00%

How Variable Contribution Rates Work

For the first three years of New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) membership, a Tier 6 employee contributes based on the annual wage you provided on the membership application. After three years, the law requires a contribution rate based on a “two-year look back” at actual earnings for the previous two fiscal years.

Here’s an example:

  • State fiscal year 2014–2015: John Smith joins NYSLRS
  • March 2015: We provided you a rate for Mr. Smith based on the annual wage from his membership application. You used this rate for all of state fiscal year 2015–2016.
  • March 2016: We provided you a rate for Mr. Smith based on the annual wage from his membership application. You used this rate for all of state fiscal year 2016–2017.
  • March 2017: We provide you a rate for Mr. Smith based on a “two-year look back” at his earnings from April 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016. You used this rate for all of state fiscal year 2017–2018.

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The Online Application – the List

The VCR application provides you with a list of your current Tier 6 employees and their contribution rates for the 2017–18 State fiscal year (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018). Begin using these rates with your April report, which is due to NYSLRS by May 7.

Please review these rates carefully, and make sure your payroll system withholds the proper amounts for your Tier 6 employees’ contributions. You can access rates for the 2017–18 State fiscal year until the end of December 2017. We will post the rates for the 2018–19 State fiscal year in March 2018.

To view your Tier 6 employees’ contribution rates, please Log On to your Online Programs. Note: This is a secure site; you must have a username and password to enter. If you do not have a username and password, email Employer Services.

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Who is on the List

The list applies only to your registered Tier 6 employees.

If you’ve recently hired new employees, they may not be on your list yet. We update the list weekly for the first five weeks after the list is released in March. Your new and recently revised member records will be at the top of the list. (The rate you see for your new members is the same rate we provided when you registered them.)

If a Tier 6 employee is reinstated to Tier 5, he or she will still appear on your list. We will be in touch with additional instructions about the appropriate contribution rate.

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Accessing the List

To access the list through our VCR application, you will need:

  • A computer running either Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS.
  • Internet access.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). We test our applications in IE version 9 or 10. If you use an earlier version, you may not be able to access this application, or it may not function properly.

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Using the List

When you download the list, you will see these fields:

  • Registration Number
  • Social Security Number (last 4 digits)
  • Employee Name
  • Wages
  • Actual/Estimated
  • April 1, 2017 Rate (%)
  • Date Updated
  • Previous Year Rate (%)

In the wages column, we label those based on the annual salary from the membership application as “estimate.” We label wages based on a two-year look back as “actual.”

If you promote a Tier 6 employee, the new salary may fall into a higher contribution rate category. Always use the contribution rate from the list we provide for the entire fiscal year, even if a member’s salary changes during that fiscal year.

Some of your Tier 6 police officers and firefighters may have joined NYSLRS while a January 9, 2010, union-negotiated, collective-bargaining agreement was in effect. They may have chosen the special, non-contributory plan that was available at the time. If so, they don’t have to contribute; they will appear on your list with a 0 percent contribution rate.

Other employees may appear twice on your list, with two different rates. This application lists contribution rates by position. If a member works both as a truck driver (010) and as a building inspector (013), we will list both positions in the list. Depending on the salaries for each position, the contribution rates may or may not be the same.

Your list will only contain location codes that have Tier 6 employees. If you feel that you are missing a Tier 6 employee, call our Employer Participation and Education Unit at 518-408-4140.

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For Help

For more information, please email Employer Services or call 518-408-4140. You can also check out our video, Determining Wages and Variable Contribution Rates.

(Rev. 3/17)

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