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NIH To Convert to Defense-Run Pay Service
NIH will convert to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which will provide payroll to the agency, starting Mar. 20. DFAS was originally created in 1991 by the Secretary of Defense to reduce the cost of the Defense Department's accounting operations. Currently, it is the world's largest finance and accounting operation.
In November 2002, the Office of Personnel Management assigned DFAS as the provider of payroll services to all agencies under the Department of Health and Human Services. By identifying DFAS, along with three other agencies, OPM consolidated the number of payroll service providers throughout government from 22 to 4.
This was the first step taken in the government's ePayroll initiative, a directive of the President's Management Agenda. The goal of ePayroll is to eventually consolidate down to one payroll system for all 1.8 million civilian employees, which is estimated to save taxpayers $1 billion over the next decade.
Under DFAS, the Defense Civilian Pay System Consolidated Payroll Office in Charleston, S.C., will service HHS employees. Changes, due to the Mar. 20 conversion, have already become apparent with the announcement that employees will now be officially paid on every other Friday, as opposed to every other Tuesday.
Other changes to come include: an increase in the number of pay allotments allowed, a different appearance for Leave and Earnings statements, and a new system to replace Employee Express called myPay. Employees may also see differences in how state and federal taxes, as well as Medicare and OASDI (Federal Old-Age and Survivor's Insurance) are deducted from their pay. Also because of the conversion, two W2 forms will be sent to NIH employees for the year 2005 — one for the period when they were paid under DFAS and another for the pay they earned under the old system.
The Office of Human Resources is preparing for the Mar. 20 conversion date by establishing a DFAS conversion workgroup, made up of HR specialists and NIH management officials. The DFAS workgroup chair, Nancy Bagley, an OHR Client Services Division branch chief, says that the group is working on several ways to get the message out to employees regarding DFAS.
"There are several issues regarding this new system that will specifically affect how employees get paid," says Bagley. "We are striving to give each NIH employee an opportunity to learn about the various aspects of DFAS."
OHR's Bagley assured, "Information will be available for those at NIH who want it." She said NIH'ers will be notified through employee meetings, email, fliers and posters and articles for NIH publications about updates and learning opportunities regarding DFAS up to, and continuing after, Mar. 20. For more information visit http://intranet.hhs.gov/epay.
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