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Vol. LVII, No. 7
April 8, 2005
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DFAS Day Approaching Fast
Pay Close Attention to Your Pay Slip

On the front page...

"Pay change." Few other phrases can get an employee's attention faster. For at least the next few months, the Office of Human Resources is banking on that, as NIH and the rest of the Department of Health and Human Services move on Apr. 17 to a different payroll system — Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

Continued...

To explain major aspects of DFAS, demonstrate "myPay" and answer questions from employees, the NIH DFAS conversion work group assembled a 10-person panel in Natcher auditorium on Mar. 8 at the first of five information sessions.

"This session is for you," stressed Nancy Bagley, a branch chief in the Client Services Division of the Office of Human Resources at NIH and chair of the work group. "We're here to answer your questions. This is about your money and we understand that that is a priority for you."

Eventually, All for One

Planning for conversion to DFAS has been under way for more than a year, as HHS complies with the President's Management Agenda, which calls for consolidation of federal payroll operations. Currently, 22 different systems serve the various federal agencies and departments; for better efficiency and economy, the President wants that number to shrink to four in the near term and be reduced to one payroll system for all over the long run.

DFAS, a military and civilian system, maintains three payroll offices — Charleston, S.C.; Pensacola, Fla. and Denver — and will also serve the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. DFAS's Charleston office will handle payroll for HHS.

Already, NIH'ers may have noticed preparations for the DFAS switch. When the annual payroll calendar for 2005 was distributed late last December, it highlighted Fridays as official NIH paydays, instead of the traditional Tuesdays. Since employees had been able to access their paychecks on Fridays anyway, however, the new payday barely seemed to register on NIH'ers' radars.

The DFAS work group wants NIH'ers to look for other changes due to the conversion. The message is pay attention to your pay slip. Your leave and earnings statements will be available to view on the Wednesday before payday via https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx, once NIH converts to DFAS. MyPay replaces Employee Express as the online self-service workers use to manage their personal payroll information. Both systems were built on the same platform, so myPay should be as easy to use as Employee Express. You will use myPay to begin or change your allotments, tax status, bonds and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Most importantly, myPay will allow you access to your pay slip. Employee Express access for HHS workers ends Apr. 13; you will be able to access myPay on Apr. 26.

Help Smooth the Way

Before the switch to DFAS is made, there are a couple of things you can do to help yourself. First, make sure that your address is correct on the official records maintained by human resources. Employees are encouraged to visit https://www.employeeexpress.gov before Apr. 13, and check their home address of record. During the week of Apr. 17, a new personal identification number (PIN) for myPay will be mailed to that address in an envelope marked "Defense Finance and Accounting Service." A sample PIN letter can be viewed at http://hr.od.nih.gov/hrsystems/DFAS-myPay/default.htm. With DFAS, only you (and people you designate) will be able to update or correct data in your personal account.

Other information — your tax withholding status, for example — will transfer with your account to DFAS, if it is spelled out on your official payroll file. Update important information so that the transition can occur as smoothly as possible.

Pennies from Heaven?

After the conversion, print out your pay slip, get familiar with the new layout and compare it with the previous pay period's slip. Take note of any differences between the two. Look at the gross amounts on each and see whether they are more or less than you received before the conversion. DFAS uses different formulas to calculate certain deductions from your pay such as taxes, bonds and Social Security. For example, you may notice that you have received a penny more or a penny less in pay. Differences of as much as $5 either way are considered normal for workers converting to DFAS. However, if your DFAS pay is significantly different than your pay before the changeover, you should immediately notify your timekeeper or administrative officer so that he or she can report the problem to DFAS for correction.

Other differences you will see in DFAS:

  • Many deductions — bi-weekly amounts for retirement and Social Security, for example — that pay slips show in two categories "current" and "year-to-date" will be shown as starting from zero, just as if this were a new year. That's because DFAS will not carry over totals from the previous pay system. Employees should print out and keep the last pay slip from the current system for reference.
  • More leave categories will show on your pay slip, such as "court leave" and "donated leave"; some of these new categories, such as "home leave" or "military leave for encampment," will have no impact on civilian NIH'ers.

The More Things Change...

What will not change are your first points of contact. Discrepancies should still be reported to your timekeeper or administrative officer, who will in turn notify payroll officials.

In addition, you will continue to apply for leave and verify your timecard using ITAS (Integrated Time and Attendance System). However, ITAS will not store DFAS leave and earnings statements. After Apr. 26, employees must visit myPay to view and print their pay slips. DFAS will store up to 26 pay slips on myPay, beginning with the first statement after conversion. ITAS will continue to store pay slips from the former system.

For more information, to check the DFAS launch schedule or to view the Mar. 8 Q&A session online, visit OHR's DFAS web site, http://hr.od.nih.gov/hrsystems/DFAS-myPay/default.htm.

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