In last week’s blog, we shared with employees about PayActiv, a new option to get your pay when you need it prior to payday at the end of the month.
The vendor has since sent us information sharing that employees are eligible to get an extra $20 when they sign up with Payactiv and make their first transfer of Earned Wages to a card or bank account by April 14, 2021. PayActiv is also working with KOFE that can assist with Financial Planning.
OSD employees are invited to attend live Department of Retirement Systems webinars April 6–8, 2021. The DRS Education & Outreach team will present several topics, including:
Plan 2 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS)
Plan 3 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS)
Getting Ready for Retirement
Applying for Retirement
Logging into a webinar
Employees can visit the DRS Webinar Page for the schedule. Pre-registration is not required for these sessions; however, we recommend attendees join 15 minutes early to ensure a successful connection. How to join a DRS webinar provides tips for logging in, and help is also available at 360-664-7930.
PayActiv Earned Wage Access is one of the many benefits you can now enjoy at Olympia School District. It is a great option to get your pay when you need it prior to payday at the end of the month. Enrollment is from the 1st through the 14th of each month. There is a blackout period after that until payroll is processed.
To start, you can download the PayActiv App from Apple or Google app stores and create your account using your employee ID. You can find your employee ID when you create an electronic timesheet in ETRS. It is that simple. You can then see your earnings and get your money between the 1st and the 14th of each month.
Want to learn more about the Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA)? Read the VEBA Plan Benefits Guide 2021. Then, pick a date and time that works for you to attend a VEBA Retirement Readiness webinar presentation. Note: To view the presentation, please register with your name and email (required). When you register, WebEx will likely default to Central Time Zone time, however the calendar invite you will receive will be in Pacific Time Zone.
This article reshares important information emailed last night and today to many OSD employees, and mailed today as a notification to those same employees at their home address, regarding an error discovered on their 2020 W-2. Only employees impacted by this error were sent an email and a notification to their home address. Note: The email sent via SchoolMessenger to employees impacted by this error requires them to open an attachment. It is safe to open this attachment.
For those impacted by this W-2 error, please note the following:
The district mailed you an original W-2 on January 31, 2021. The original W-2 data with respect to income is correct.
However, on the original W-2, data in box 12 (employer paid health benefit) and box 14 (employee portion of health benefit) were incorrectly displayed. The mistake overstates the amount that the employee paid for health benefits and understates the amount that the employer paid. Therefore, this error affects only those who have already, or intend to itemize and deduct medical expenses on their 2020 tax return. Due to the high threshold for medical expense deductions in tax law, few people (about 2% nationally) itemize medical expenses. However, if you fall into this category of taxpayers the mistake may result in an overstated tax credit.
We work very hard to ensure that the data we publish is accurate. In past years our staff calculated the data in boxes 12 and 14. This year, our staff relied on School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) and our payroll co-op’s calculation of this data. We should not have relied on these entities for that data but at the time felt that SEBB was actually the best source of information.
On February 19, 2021 we mailed you two copies of a W-2C. A W-2C is a correction to the original W-2. Do not destroy the original W-2. You will use both versions of the W-2 to file your taxes. You are receiving two copies of the W-2C as you will include one copy when you file your taxes and keep one for your records. (If you have already filed your 2020 tax return, do not re-file just to include the W-2C. See the table below.)
Please note, the incorrect W-2 was calculated for a subset of employees (generally full-time employees). Therefore, another member of your household that also works for our district may not be impacted by this correction.
For a more complete understanding of how the incorrect data could impact you, please see the table below:
As stated above, we have mailed copies of the W-2C to your home address. If you are working on your taxes now, and would like immediate access to the original W-2 and the new W-2C in Skyward, open this pdf for instructions. Both are available to you now in Skyward.
We sincerely apologize for the complication and inconvenience associated with this error, and will work to make the adjustments as easy on you as possible. Please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may connect you with the district’s tax attorney to help with this process or answer your questions. Or call Tonya Palmer, Payroll Supervisor, at 360-596-6189 for assistance.
This week the Olympia School District was notified by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems about a public records request they received from the Seattle Times concerning information about all members of the state’s retirement systems, including all retirees and inactive members, for the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
DRS has asked that we notify our employees of this request and that March 19, 2021 is the date DRS plans to produce responsive records to the Seattle Times.
Please note that this records request was not made to the Olympia School District but to the Department of Retirement Systems. Questions about petitioning the court for injunction relief should be directed to the Department of Retirement Systems at (360) 664-7000 or 1 (800) 547-6657.
Is retirement around the corner? The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team offers “Nearing Retirement” Seminars. The next seminar is Saturday, January 30, 2021.
Although the Nearing Retirement Seminars are open to all employees, they are designed for those who are within five years of retirement. Basic retirement plan information will not be provided at these seminars, but it’s important to understand the basics of your plan prior to attending. To brush up, select your retirement system and watch the video:
For more information about the Nearing Retirement seminar-webinars and how to join, select this link. Be advised while you can pre-register, you don’t have to. From the seminar page, just select ‘Join’ 10-15 minutes prior to start. Unable to attend? Watch the seminar videos at a time that is more convenient.
Recently you may have received an email from an outside vendor stating that as an Olympia School District employee you are eligible to schedule a phone call or teleconference meeting with a representative regarding retirement benefit questions.
This email did not come from the Olympia School District, even though the subject heading on at least one email listed it as “Assistance for Olympia School District Personnel.”
The Olympia School District does not endorse one retirement planner/firm over another. In addition, the district has not, and will not share information with a firm. Your email address is likely listed on our website, and we believe that the firm has searched our website for the purpose of solicitations. The district has not submitted a list of employees and email addresses as part of a public disclosure request.
The following is information shared by the Payroll and Business Services departments:
December represented our first month using the new electronic timesheet system. The system had many successes, but a few glitches. Thank you for your participation, we know you have the option to submit time via a paper timeslip, and we appreciate your patience as we work to solve these glitches and create a 100% success rate.
One issue that we are finding is that the approval process can take longer than we expected, usually when approvers do not know the correct budget code. This has always been the case, but we were not able to track a paper timeslip as it transferred from person to person, and we never knew when it had started its journey. Now we see the time-item move in the electronic system, and sometimes movement is not a linear or a quick path.
Therefore, it would be helpful if employees submitted their time-items as the month progresses. We are used to “batching” our items, as we fill up the five or so rows of the paper timeslip. Now batching is not a factor; in the new system you can submit one item at a time. If time items are input by the employee soon after the time is worked, there is more opportunity for the correct budget code to be inserted in the approval chain within the payroll month. To be clear, we are not changing cut-offs, just encouraging you to refrain from batching entry of your time-items, if possible.
Below are a series of links to new trainings on the timesheet system. The trainings are designed by employee group so that the type of time-worked and the instructions for submitting time, are specific to employees. These are live trainings, and you are able to ask questions during the zoom training.
All of these trainings are appropriate to participate in within your contract day (or to attribute to staff development hours, depending on your employee group).
OTPAA – Olympia Technical Professional Administrative Association