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"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).
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.
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
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
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