Date: January 6, 2017

Bulletin Number: 1539

Subject Two-Year Look Back for Tier 6 TIAA Voluntary Defined Contribution (VDC)

Purpose To provide agencies with instructions on how to update a Tier 6 employee’s Retirement Plan page due to the VDC two-year look back.

Affected Employees New York State employees who joined the workforce on or after July 1, 2013 and who were deemed non-unionized (non-represented or exempt), with an annual salary of $75,000.00 or greater.

Background 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 that included a Voluntary Defined Contribution Plan. (Please refer to Bulletin 1256)
Legislation required the employee contribution rate to be based on the employee’s annual wage.

Once a Tier 6 member has reached three years of membership, his or her contribution rate is based on total pensionable earnings from two years prior*.

*Total earnings should include pensionable earnings from all PayServ job records, as well as agencies that are not in PayServ.

The employee contribution rates are:

Wages Contribution Rate
$45,000 or less 3%
$45,000.01 to $55,000 3.5%
$55,000.01 to $75,000 4.5%
$75,000.01 to $100,000 5.75%
More than $100,000 6%

The Benefit Plans and the narrative descriptions are found below.

Note: The variable contribution rates are identified within the description.

Benefit Plan            Description



Effective Date(s) Effective December 29, 2016 for paychecks dated
January 25, 2017 (Administration).

Effective January 5, 2017 for paychecks dated
February 2, 2017 (Institution).

Eligibility Criteria Tier 6 TIAA members who enrolled in the VDC between
July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.

Agency Actions Each agency is required to update the Retirement Plans page to change the Benefit Plan based on the agency’s review of the “two-year look back” salary.  If updates are needed they should be entered in PayServ between:
  • January 6, 2017 and January 13, 2017 for checks of
    January 25, 2017 (Admin.).
  • January 13, 2017 and January 20, 2017 for checks of
    February 2, 2017 (Inst.)

The public query, VDC_TWOYR_LOOKBACK_T6_AGY will provide employee’s earnings based on a calendar year. The query will prompt for calendar year, enter 2015.  The second prompt will ask for your agency code.

The charts found in the “Background” section of this bulletin should be used to determine if the contribution rate has changed and an update to their Benefit Plan is needed.

The steps to update the Benefit Plan are as follows:

  1. Open the Retirement Plans page. (Home>Benefits>Enroll In Benefits>Retirement Plans).
  2. Enter employee's Empl ID in search box.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Select the correct Empl Rcd # for the corresponding Job Record (if multiple records exist).
  5. Insert a row in the “Coverage” section and enter the payroll period begin date in the Deduction Begin Date field.
  6. Enter the employee’s Date of Membership in the “Election Date” field. The same election date should be carried forward from the previous page.
  7. Select the appropriate Benefit Plan dependent upon the employees’ total annual earnings. (Use the charts provided in the “Background” section to determine the new Benefit Plan)      
  8. Save the transaction.

Questions Questions regarding the VDC two-year look back should be addressed to Dave Morrell at SUNY (518) 320-1430 or David.Morrell@suny.edu.

Questions regarding the PayServ entry can be directed to the Payroll Retirement Mailbox.