Enhanced Reporting — Gold Certification
Retirement Online enhanced reporting improves the way you work with NYSLRS — and Gold Certification will get you started. If your organization has 15 or fewer employees, you can begin your gold certification process right away by getting started with manual reporting in Retirement Online.
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Do you have 15 or fewer employees? You are eligible to use Retirement Online enhanced manual reporting. Watch the Manual Enhanced Reporting video to learn more, and then fill out the Get Started Form.
More than 15 employees? Watch the Gold Certification Process video and fill out the Employer Reporting Use Survey. A NYSLRS team member will contact you and help plan your transition to enhanced reporting.
Gold Certification Process
Employers will transition to enhanced reporting in 10 transition groups. A new group is scheduled to kick-off every quarter. The Gold Certification process takes place over a six-month timeframe (three months of transition support followed by three months of specialized support) and begins with the development of a customized transition plan for every employer. By the end of this process, your organization will:
Be Assigned to a Transition Group
- Watch the Gold Certification Process video and fill out our Get Started Form
- Fill out the detailed, multi-page survey we send to you — it will help determine the best timeframe for your organization to begin to make the switch to enhanced reporting
- Receive your customized transition plan and dedicated transition support group from NYSLRS
Complete Online Training
- Reporting staff at your organization take online training courses to learn about how to submit the enhanced report in Retirement Online based on their reporting method (file upload or manual)
Build the Enhanced File
- For employers who upload a file: work with payroll provider/in-house IT staff to build your new file (those who will use the manual reporting option can skip this step)
Map Your Data to NYSLRS Standards
- Working with NYSLRS transition coaches, you will associate the specific payroll/personnel codes used at your location (job codes, HR transactions, and earnings codes) with the new enhanced report standards
Prepare Your Data for Enhanced Reporting Training
- Load NYSLRS identifying data into your payroll system training environment (or store it with your personnel records)
- Create NYSLRS records for all new and optional employees in the Retirement Online training environment
Practice Submitting the Enhanced Report in the Retirement Online Training Environment
- Use NYSLRS’ training environment to practice creating and submitting the enhanced report using the new standards
- File uploaders: Verify that your payroll system is correctly generating your report
- Practice resolving common errors and warnings that may occur when you submit your report
Prepare Your Data to “Go-Live” with Enhanced Reporting in Retirement Online
- Load NYSLRS identifying data into your payroll system production environment (or store it with your personnel records)
- Create NYSLRS records for all new and optional employees in the Retirement Online production environment
Switch to Enhanced Reporting in Retirement Online
- Submit your first enhanced report in Retirement Online
- Receive direct support from your team of transition coaches as needed until the end of your transition period
Already Working on Gold Certification?
If you’re already working with NYSLRS on Gold Certification and your transition to enhanced reporting, review the 8 Step Plan for training and support resources.
Questions & Answers
Want to know how the enhanced report will change the way you report employee information to NYSLRS? Read through our list of employer-submitted questions and answers.
What is the definition of an eligible employee?
An eligible employee is any employee who meets the criteria for mandatory or optional membership.
- Mandatory Enrollments: Full-time, permanent, regular, 12-month positions earning at least the current state minimum wage, and all police officers and paid firefighters (including part-time positions).
- Optional Enrollments: Temporary or provisional positions (under Civil Service Law), employment of less than 30 hours per week, or less than the standard number of hours for full-time employment as established by the employer for this position, duration of employment for less than one year, or employment on less than a 12-month per year basis, annual compensation less than the state’s minimum hourly wage — currently $11.20 — multiplied by 2,000 hours ($22,200).
How do you determine an employee’s correct benefit plan?
Benefit plans are specific to the job code that you specify for an employee. Use the Job Codes Tool to pick the job code that corresponds to your employee’s role.
Do we need to report seasonal employees who will not be joining NYSLRS?
If they are eligible for NYSLRS membership, they will need to be reported, regardless of whether they choose to participate.
Should I report employees who are NOT eligible for NYSLRS?
No. Employees who do not qualify for NYSLRS membership should not be reported.
If an employee works for a school district during the school year but works summers for a city, will they have two retirement numbers since they have two retirement systems (ERS and NYSTRS)?
If the employee’s job for the school district qualifies them for a NYSTRS plan (e.g. teacher), the employer should not report that job to NYSLRS. NYSLRS does not administer NYSTRS and the employer should seek reporting guidance from NYSTRS. However, if the employee’s job for the school district was not a teaching position (e.g. janitor) and made them eligible for a NYSLRS plan, this job would need to be reported to NYSLRS.
Similary, if the employee’s job for the city during the summer made them eligible to participate in NYSLRS, this employee would be reported to NYSLRS.
Will non-members have NYSLRS IDs and employment instances?
Yes. All employees who meet mandatory membership criteria, employees who are eligible for optional NYSLRS membership regardless of enrollment status, and retirees should be reported on the enhanced file. They will receive NYSLRS IDs and employment instances. If an employee is in another retirement system, such as NYSTRS, you do not need to report them to NYSLRS. Employees who are not eligible for NYSLRS membership should NOT be reported.
If we are using the NYSLRS ID moving forward, will we still need to have the registration number for reporting purposes?
The registration number will not be reported by the employer after they have transitioned to enhanced reporting. However, registration numbers will continue to be issued for all new employees until the transition to enhanced reporting is complete, at which time registration numbers will become obsolete.
What if you don’t have my employee’s specific job code?
Job codes are not the same as job titles. Please utilize the NYSLRS job code that most closely correlates to that employee’s role at your organization. Pay attention to employees that may be eligible for special plans.
What if an employee doesn’t want to register with us? What regulation or law makes it permissible for the employer to provide information on employees who are not enrolling in NYSLRS?
Section 34 of the NYS Retirement and Social Security Law permits the Office of the State Comptroller to collect information for all employees. If an employee meets optional enrollment criteria, they must be hired at your location and reported to NYSLRS. Please note that hiring and employee is not the same as enrolling them. NYSLRS begins collecting employee data on hired employees, but optional members will only be enrolled when they elect to do so.
How do I enter an optional employee without enrolling them?
Please note that hiring an optional employee is not the same as enrolling them. When you hire an optional employee, NYSLRS begins collecting days and earnings information that can then be referenced should they choose to enroll in NYSLRS at a later date. However, optional members will only be enrolled in NYSLRS when they elect to do so, or if the system determines that they meet criteria as a mandatory member.
For employees currently working in our system in reportable positions that are not enrolled — will we have to hire them at some point in the future?
Yes. You will need to “hire” your new and non-member optional personnel that work in NYSLRS eligible positions as one of the final steps in the Gold Certification transition process in the Retirement Online training environment. At the end of the transition process employers will complete this step again in the live Retirement Online system before submitting their first enhanced report.
If a new hire is already a member from a prior employer will we still need them to complete an enrollment application?
No, NYSLRS membership is for life. If you hire an employee who participates in NYSLRS, they are already enrolled. However, you will be required to hire them at your location and report them using their new employment instance.
How often can an enrollment-only report be submitted?
An enrollment-only report can be submitted at any time on an as-needed basis. Please note, biographical data for a member can only be entered once, as it generates their unique (permanent) NYSLRS ID.
Using Retirement Online
What regulation or law makes it permissible for the employer to provide information on employees who are not enrolling in NYSLRS?
Section 34 of the NYS Retirement and Social Security Law permits the Office of the State Comptroller to collect information for all employees.
Are these changes going to be mandatory?
Yes. All NYSLRS participating employers will be required to transition to enhanced reporting.
When should the transition to enhanced be complete?
Between now and 2022, all NYSLRS participating employers will transition to enhanced reporting in transition groups. Each group will transition over a six-month period of training, direct support, and as-needed support.
How is the pipe-delimited file created? I do not see the Save As option in Excel or Word.
A payroll system can be coded to create pipe-delimited .txt files. It is possible to create this type of file manually in software like ‘Notepad’ saved as a .txt file, however, this can be problematic as it requires a higher level of time and effort to learn and generate. We are encouraging employers who currently submit a .prn file to consider switching to manual reporting or opting for a later transition group so that they can seek knowledge and resources regarding this file update.
Will ERS and PFRS be reported on the same report or will they still be separate?
In enhanced reporting, ERS and PFRS can be reported together.
How many earnings transactions can one employee have on an enhanced report?
NYSLRS has established 16 unique earnings codes, and the breakdown of employee earnings is reported per employment instance. There are a few situations where an employee may have multiple earnings transactions, and an employer may report as many earnings transactions as necessary per employee to NYSLRS.
- If an employee has two employment instances at a single location, their employer would report days, contributions, and earnings for each employment instance. These would not be combined, resulting in one days and contributions transaction and two separate earnings transactions.
- If an employee with a single employment instance had three different types of earnings for the month (i.e. regular, overtime, and holiday), each of these earnings would be reported as separate earnings transactions. The result would be one days and contributions transaction and three separate earnings transactions.
Should employers report all leaves of absence even if they are for a week or less
This decision is at the employer’s discretion. It will ultimately depend on the material difference for your employees. If it is for less than a week, it may not make sense to report. If it is a week or more, it could make sense to report the absence.
Will we be reporting days worked or hours worked?
You will be reporting both days worked and hours worked. In the days and contributions field, you will be reporting the number of days the employee worked for the reporting period. This is what NYSLRS uses to determine the service credit owed to an employee. In the earnings transaction, you will be reporting the number of hours worked at each relevant earnings type (i.e. regular, overtime, etc.).
How do I report hours worked for salaried employees?
Employers should report the hours for which their salaried employees were paid. This depends on the standard work day, as well as their earnings type.
In enhanced reporting, errors and warnings must be corrected before submitting. How should we handle an employee that has not changed their name with NYSLRS yet so that our file will be accepted by the system?
Report the name that they currently have on file with NYSLRS so that you may submit your file. You can find this on the member contribution rates page. Please encourage the employee to update their information with NYSLRS as soon as possible.