Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Seal

NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Retirement Online

Resources for Local and Municipal Employers

Retirement Online will change the way employers do business with NYSLRS. We are committed to providing you with the information you need to help make the transition over to Retirement Online as easy and convenient as possible.

Answer Center

About the Project

In 2013, NYSLRS started a project to replace its retirement benefit administration technology systems. Once the project is complete, NYSLRS will possess a new system for both internal transaction processing, employer reporting and external self-service functionality, ready to meet the needs of its stakeholders in a secure and flexible environment. The project will:

  • Provide an information system that addresses the benefit administration business requirements of NYSLRS and its participating employers.
  • Create a secure web self-service environment that allows employers to complete all necessary transactions with NYSLRS including:
    • Submit regular and adjustment reports
    • Review previously reported data
    • Enroll members
    • Review employer invoice and other billing information
    • Request estimates for plan upgrades
    • Submit disability applications
    • View documents and notifications from NYSLRS
  • Eliminate the dependency on paper documents by providing the ability to accept information and process transactions electronically.
  • Increase the quality and integrity of pension-related information by collecting additional data through the employer report and validating this information in real-time.
  • Streamline the work through leveraging technology and automation in order to reduce processing times and effectively provide information to employers and members.

Security

Employers will be contacted by NYSLRS’ Member and Employer Services Bureau with a username, temporary password, and instructions on how to log in to Retirement Online. As long as you have a computer with internet access, you will be able to use the new system. It’s compatible with most common operating systems, but we recommend you use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome when logging in to Retirement Online.

Employer contacts will have different Retirement Online system access based on their role and responsibility at your organization. Your designated contact administrators and security administrators will use Retirement Online. Contact administrators will be able to view and update the business contact information (e.g., phone numbers, email, and mailing address) for employer contacts responsible for areas such as billing, personnel, payroll, etc. They will also add and remove contacts as needed. Security administrators will assign or update an employer contact’s access to Retirement Online according to their role at their employer.

Reporting

Starting in Release 2, employers will submit their monthly report in either the current legacy format or the new enhanced format.

The legacy report includes key information such as:

  • Days
  • Salary
  • Contributions
  • Other deductions (e.g., loans or arrears payments)

The enhanced report will allow employers to report all employees, including optional members and retirees who have returned to work.

The enhanced report includes additional information such as:

  • Days and hours worked
  • Earnings breakdown
  • Pre- and post-tax contributions
  • Job status changes (hire, leave of absence, military leave, return from leave, termination)

The new reporting features in Retirement Online provide employers with real-time error correction and warning messages. Employers can then make necessary adjustments prior to submitting their monthly report.

Enrollment

New members can be enrolled using the enhanced report, eliminating the need to submit a membership application. When enrolling new members with the enhanced report, employers will be asked to include biographical and job information.

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.

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 logged in?

A: Users will be timed out after 20 minutes of inactivity in Retirement Online. As long as you are actively interacting with the portal, you will not be logged out. You will have the ability to save your work if you choose to log out before submitting a report.

Q: Will Retirement Online accept our current file format?

A: Retirement Online will accept the current legacy file format you submit (both Monthly and Adjustment files), as well as a new enhanced file format. Over time, NYSLRS will work with employers to transition to the enhanced file format.

Q: What do we need to do to gain access to Retirement Online?

A: The first step is designating security and contact administrators so that NYSLRS can provision access for your organization’s administrators. The contact administrators will be provided training on how to maintain your list of retirement contacts. Your designated security administrator will then request the security access for those individual contacts who will use Retirement Online to interact with NYSLRS. Completion of these steps will earn your organization Bronze certification status. Employers should achieve Bronze certification. (See also: Employer Contacts & Security Roles).

Q: How will we prepare for using Retirement Online?

A: Once Bronze certified, the provisioned contacts will be trained on how to perform their particular role through Retirement Online. These roles include two key functions, enrolling a member and submitting a report. Once training is complete and a legacy reporting file (your current format) is successfully submitted, your organization will be Silver certified.

Q: Are we going to be able to test out the new system before Release 2 goes live?

A: As a part of your training, you will have the opportunity to practice submitting test files into a special Retirement Online training environment. You will also have the opportunity to practice enrolling new members as well.

Q: How do we learn what transition group my organization is in, and what if we need to make changes?

A: NYSLRS will be contacting all employers about which transition group you will be placed in. Transition groups will move to enhanced reporting based on a schedule, which can be adjusted based on employer readiness. We are committed to working with every employer individually to ensure a successful transition that works for you.

Q: How will NYSLRS help us prepare for the transition to enhanced reporting?

A: Transition coaches, along with other NYSLRS staff, will assist employers as they prepare for enhanced reporting. Employers are Gold certified upon successful submission of an enhanced reporting file.

Q: Are you talking to software companies to ensure data is being mapped properly?

A: We are working with software and payroll companies to prepare them to be ready to report in the enhanced format. If you work with a software or payroll provider, please make sure you have notified NYSLRS so we can reach out to your provider.

Q: If we are still reporting on our current file format (legacy), will we continue to combine all days and earnings into one reporting?

A: As long as you continue to use the current file format (legacy), 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 NEW file format (enhanced), will we continue to combine all days and earnings into one reporting?

A: As part of moving to the enhanced file format, NYSLRS transition coaches will be able to help identify each job and 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 wages 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 the legacy file format, you will continue to report only those employees that are members of NYSLRS using their registration number. We will start using another unique identifier, the NYSLRS ID, that will be assigned to each member that you report. These new NYSLRS IDs will be required once you transition to enhanced reporting.

Q: Do we have to report past employees?

A: We ask you to report all employees on your payroll for the reporting period that are potentially eligible for NYSLRS membership. 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 us 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: Once you begin using the enhanced file format, optional members will need to be reported on the file. This allows us 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, transition coaches 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: For seasonal employees, do we report their “ins and outs”?

A: NYSLRS recognizes that seasonal employment is not generally continuous and doesn’t require that you report them each month. How you report seasonal employment depends on how your organization treats them on your payroll. For example:

  • Some employers hire seasonal employees and then terminate them from their payroll at the end of the season. In this scenario, you would first report their “hire” to NYSLRS, report their earnings for that job during the season, and then report their “termination” at the end of the season to NYSLRS. If they returned to the same job for a later season, you would then report that return to employment as a “rehire.” If they returned to a different job, you would report that as a “new hire.”
  • Other employers hire seasonal employees and don’t terminate them at the end of the season since they frequently return to that same job next season. In this scenario, you would first report their “hire” to NYSLRS, report their earnings during the season, and report no earnings in the months where they were not paid. The following season when they resume that same job, you would simply report those earnings.

Q: NYSLRS will be moving away from using report codes to distinguish separate reporting entities within a given location (e.g. community colleges). Is it possible to receive a new location code so I can submit my report separately to NYSLRS?

A: 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.

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 our 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 Retirement Online for Employers Resources pages.

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 will have the option to enroll. If an employee is in another retirement system, such as New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS), you do not need to report them 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, a transition coach 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: The Member Enrollment functionality will be made available to all employers through Retirement Online’s “Enroll a Member” pages.

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 and employment instance. 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: Once on the enhanced file format, if a new employee is eligible for the Voluntary Defined Contribution (VDC) Program, will they be automatically enrolled with NYSLRS?

A: When you first report your new employee, you will provide their biographical and job data. The job data includes whether they are VDC eligible. If they meet the mandatory membership criteria and nothing is received notifying NYSLRS of your employee’s election into the VDC after 40 days, the employee will be enrolled by NYSLRS staff. Please keep in mind that the law only allows for a 30-day election period into the VDC from the employee’s date of appointment and that you will continue to be responsible for advising employees of their retirement plan options.

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 and employment instance 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 login or will I need to use multiple logins?

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 need to designate a new Contact and Security Administrator in order 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 up to 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 does not support this, and the head of your organization authorizes it, one individual can fulfill both roles. If possible, it is also recommended to designate both a primary and 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 Approver?

A: It is a recommended practice to have two different individuals perform the Uploader and Approver 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. Consider employer contacts as a rolodex for NYSLRS to use when we need to reach out to employers. 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.

↑ Return to Top

Learning Center

Get Ready Guide

Employer contacts who are responsible for reporting or member enrollment should read our Get Ready Guide Adobe pdf. This book describes the upcoming changes in the reporting and enrollment processes, and details the new steps that need to be taken to navigate through Retirement Online.

Transition Toolkit

These guides and documents have been created to help you through the certification process. Please refer to them as your organization prepares for the transition to Retirement Online.

Local Employer Certification Checklist Adobe pdf

Employer Security Roles in Retirement Online Adobe pdf

How to Prepare a Legacy Reporting Test File for File Upload Sessions Adobe pdf

↑ Return to Top

Retirement Online 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.

Contact Us

If you have questions about Retirement Online or have issues signing in, please call the Retirement Online Help Desk at 844-619-9614 between 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Eastern Time or send an inquiry using our Retirement Online Help Desk form.