Fiscal Leadership for Georgia

Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions Topics:

  • Benefits
  • Human Capital Management - ESS
  • Human Resources
  • Payroll

Benefits

Q.  How do I process rehires? 

A. When an employee transfers in, is rehired, or has an add employment record entered, the gaining agency must review the following areas to insure that the employee record is correct. Review all benefit enrollments including Pensionable Earnings. Verify that the employee is in the proper Pension Plan, Savings Plans, Leave Plans and General Deductions. If the employee transferred, verify that the Leave Balance was transferred to the new company.

Please refer to the following Benefit Business Processes for additional details:

BEN 0111 - Pension Plan Changes
BEN 0140 and BEN 0141 - Savings Plan enrollment and changes
BEN 0150 - Agency Sponsored Plan Enrollment
BEN 0152 - Agency Sponsored Plan Changes-Discontinuations
BEN 0168 - Leave Balance Transfer
BEN 0670 - Receive XFR Employee from a Different Company (FLX to FLX)
BEN 0680 - Rehire Within Same Benefit Plan Year

Q.  How are Pensionable Earnings processed?

A.  Every Friday night State Accounting Office runs a report ("COMPARE ANNUAL PENSIONABLE EARNINGS SALARY AND JOB COMP RATE" - BN___0571) which will show the employees (if any) who have had a salary change on Job Data but have not had a corresponding entry on the Pensionable Earnings Panel.

Please check for this report in Document Direct every Monday. If there is a "version" dated on the previous Friday, the report found employees with this circumstance for your agency. If there is not a "version" dated on the previous Friday, the report found no employees with this circumstance.

If you do have employees on report BN___0571, you need to make the appropriate Pensionable Earnings Panel entry. If pension deductions and employer contributions have not been calculated on the employees' checks for the correct amounts, those must be corrected.

All employees in State Accounting Office should have an entry in the Pensionable Earnings Panel. (See business process BEN0110 "Enroll Employees in Pension Plan".) Most employees should be enrolled in either a regular pension plan (ERS, TRS, etc.) or enrolled in Georgia Defined Contribution Plan. For those few employees who are not required to be enrolled in any pension plan, they should have an entry in the Pensionable Earnings Panel showing that they are not assigned to a pension plan.

To see the employees in your Agency who do not have an entry in the Pensionable Earnings Panel, you should access the Query Database (HRQUERY) and run the existing query named "0BN020_Missing_PEP". If no one in your office currently has access to the Query Database, complete an agency security request personnel to be given authority to run queries.

Q.  What is the Savings Plan Panel?

A.  The law governing Deferred Compensation changed effective January 1, 2002. Prior to date there were three valid "Benefit Plans" (401(k), 457 and 457 Catch Up), all of which were grouped on the Savings Plans panel under the "Plan Type" of "Savings". An employee could only defer under one "Benefit Plan" at any given time. As of January 1, 2002 an employee can defer under more than one "Benefit Plan" at a time (one from each "Plan Type") and the "Benefit Plans" are sorted under four (4) "Plan Types" - "401(k)", "457", "401(k)MU" and "457MU". For specific information about the Law and the regulations for Deferred Compensation for State of Georgia employees, contact the Deferred Compensation unit of the State Personnel Administration.

To avoid making mistakes, it is very important to make sure that the correct Plan Type is selected before making entries into the Savings Plans page. It is now necessary to move the outer scroll bar to the position which presents the desired "Plan Type". If that Plan Type does not already exist in the employee's record, a new row must be inserted from the outer scroll area. When a new row is inserted, TeamWorks requires a Plan Type selection; the rest of the required information can be entered.


 Human Capital Management – ESS (Employee Self Service)

Q:   Can agencies still enter the Direct Deposit and W-4 (federal) and G-4 (state) payroll tax transactions for employees? 

A:   Yes, agencies are still able to enter these transactions for employees. 

Q:   Can new hires and rehires use the new ESS enhancements? 

A:    No, new hires and rehires must submit the appropriate forms for these transactions as a part of the hire process.  Once direct deposit, W-4 and G-4 information has been established for a new hire or rehire, the employee can then use the ESS enhancements to enable future changes to their data.

Q:    Is there an audit trail of transactions entered via ESS?

A:    Yes, all transactions entered via ESS will have an audit trail to identify who, when, and what was entered. 

Q:    Can the agency view transactions that have been entered via ESS? 

A:    Yes, all ESS transactions can be viewed on the same HCM PeopleSoft pages HR/Payroll personnel currently use to view these transactions (see ESS navigation and screen shots below).  The “Last Updated By” field on the direct deposit and federal/state tax pages will now reflect the employee id (“EMPLID”) of the person that entered the transaction along with a date/time stamp for all transactions entered via ESS. 

Q:    Will ESS direct deposit transactions go through the “Prenote” process? 

A:    Yes, all newly added direct deposit accounts entered via ESS will default to “Prenotification” required. State of Georgia’s current ten day “Prenote” process applies to all direct deposit transactions including those entered via ESS.  Subsequently, it may take two or more pay periods before direct deposit actually begins.  The actual start date of direct deposit activity will depend on the timing of the transaction, the employee’s pay frequency, etc.

Q:    Currently, our agency does not allow employees to have multiple direct deposits.  Will these new  enhancements allow employees to set up multiple direct deposit accounts?

A:    Yes. The ESS direct deposit functionality will offer employees the ability to enter multiple direct deposit accounts.  Public queries will be made available to allow agencies to monitor their employees’ ESS direct deposit activity.

Q:    Our agency has a policy that an employee has to have a minimum of 40 hours of available leave before becoming eligible for direct deposit.  Does the ESS direct deposit functionality validate if an employee has at least 40 hours of leave?

A:    No, the ESS direct deposit functionality doesn’t validate that an employee has at least 40 hours of available leave.  Public queries will be made available to allow agencies to monitor employees’ direct deposit activity.  The agency will need to review this information to enforce their agency specific restriction(s) for direct deposit eligibility.

Q:    What happens if an employee enters incorrect data when setting up a direct deposit account via ESS?

A:    The current “Prenote” process used by agencies to resolve incorrect direct deposit information applies to ESS transactions also.  Additionally, if an ESS direct deposit transaction is rejected by the bank, it will appear on any existing reports that HR/Payroll personnel is currently receiving for these types of transactions.  The same “Prenote” resolution procedures should be followed for ESS transactions.

Q:    If I make a change to an existing account (one that has already been “Prenoted”) is it “Prenoted” again?

A:    If you make a change to the deposit amount or percent, no, an additional “Prenote” will not be required.  However, if you make a change to the account number or routing number, yes, another “Prenote” will be required. Making a change to the account number or routing number is the same as adding a new direct deposit account. 

Q:    If you choose to delete (cancel) an account, when is the change effective? 

A:    Since there is no “Prenote” process for deleting an account, the change takes effect immediately once it is entered into ESS. 

Q:    I currently have one direct deposit account and need to change my bank account information.  Will I receive a paper check when I switch accounts?

A:    Yes, any time there is a change in bank information (i.e., routing number & account number) the new account must go through the “Prenote” process.  Subsequently, a paper check will be issued until the “Prenote” process is completed.

W-4 (Federal) Tax Information

Q:    Does the agency need to collect hard copies of W-4 forms for ESS W-4 transactions? 

A:    No, the agency doesn’t need to collect a W-4 form for an ESS W-4 change.  The IRS allows employees to submit W-4 changes electronically.

Q:    Will PeopleSoft HCM validate if an employee has an IRS “Lock-In” letter in the system?  If so, does the system prevent the employee from entering data that doesn’t adhere to the IRS “Lock-In” letter?

A:    Yes, PeopleSoft HCM validates if a “Lock-In” letter has been entered in the system for an employee.  The employee will not be allowed to make any changes through ESS that would violate the “Lock-In” letter.  If such transactions are attempted, the employee will receive an error message.

G-4 (State) Tax Information

Q:    Does the agency need to collect hard copies of G-4 forms for ESS G-4 transactions? 

A:    No, the agency doesn’t need to collect a G-4 form for a state tax change entered via ESS.  The Georgia Department of Revenue allows employees to submit their G-4 changes electronically.  However, employees who wish to claim exempt status or have over 14 allowances will be required to submit a new G-4 form with their agency.  These transactions will not be allowed through ESS.  If such transactions are attempted, the employee will receive an error message.

Queries

Q:     Are public queries and reports available to retrieve ESS deposit, W-4 and G-4 transaction data?

A:     Yes.  Three public queries are available to retrieve ESS direct deposit, W-4 and G-4 transaction data.  They are: 

0PY060_ESS_DIR_DEPOSIT_TRANX – This query will provide detailed direct deposit information for transactions entered via ESS.  The query will prompt employees to enter their “Company” (agency code) and a “From/Through” date range.  The query will retrieve transactions that occurred during the date range entered. 

0PY061_ESS_ W-4_TRANSACTIONS - This query will provide detailed W-4 (Federal) tax information for transactions entered via ESS.  The query will prompt employees to enter their “Company” (agency code) and a “From/through” date range.  The query will retrieve transactions that occurred during the date range entered. 

0PY062_ESS_G_4_TRANSACTIONS - This query will provide detailed G-4 (State) tax information for transactions entered via ESS.  The query will prompt employees to enter their “Company” (agency code) and a “From/Through” date range.  The query will retrieve transactions that occurred during the date range entered. 

Reporting

All existing direct deposit reports will also include direct deposit transactions entered via ESS.  In each case, where “XXX” is indicated, please insert the applicable Business Unit number.  The reports are:

  • Direct Deposit Register (DDPxxx0002)
  • Payroll Advice Register (DDPxxx0004)
  • Direct Deposit Pre-notification Report (DDPxxx0005)

Employee Self-Service UPKs

Q:    What UPKs have been developed to provide detailed instructions regarding the three ESS enhancements mentioned above?

A:   The following UPKs have been created to provide detail instructions for all three ESS enhancements:

Link to Updated / New ESS Topics (http://route88upk.state.ga.us/data/toc.html)

  • 6.2.2     Viewing/Updating a Single Direct Deposit
  • 6.2.2B   Viewing/Updating Multiple Direct Deposits
  • 6.2.4     Viewing /Updating W-4
  • 6.2.4B    Viewing/Updating G4
  • 6.2.8     Editing a Direct Deposit
  • 6.2.9     Canceling Multiple Direct Deposits

 Human Resources

Q:  How to Requests or Delete or Correct Job or Position Data Rows?

A:  Deleting or changing of rows, rather than insertion of correcting rows, raises concerns or problems in a number of areas. The first is in SAO HCM'S ability to meet audit standards. SAO Job Data rows need to reflect the actual employment records for each individual in the system.

Deletions, as well as corrections to existing rows, can also significantly impact Payroll records by producing "orphan" payroll data (e.g., retro payments where there is no support on Job Data for why the payments were changed; annual leave pay outs when the employees appear to not have been terminated, etc.). There can also appear to be erroneous payroll actions, which were actually not processes by Payroll.

Deleting rows may also result in incorrect or incomplete data being sent to the FLEX and Service Award systems-presenting a number of problems.

Given the above considerations and concerns, the use of correction and deletion is restricted.

The correct procedure for correcting Job and Position data is as follows:

  1. Agencies will be expected to correct as many Job and Position Data actions as possible by inserting a row and using the established "correct" or "repeal" Action Reasons (see list below).
  2. For those actions that the agency cannot correct, a standard change request form must be emailed to the SAO HCM Agency Support staff.
  3. The request form must specify the changes the Agency Support Desk is to perform AND an explanation of why the agency cannot correct the problem as indicated in (1). Requests without this explanation will be returned.
  4. The change request form must be signed by the requestor AND an authorizing supervisor or manager. Requests without an authorizing signature will be returned.
  5. The authorizing signature will be validated against a list of approved supervisors/managers provided by each agency. SAO sponsors should submit additions or deletions this list to HCM@sao.ga.gov. Submissions should include (1) Name, (2) Job Title, (3) Phone Number, (4) Fax number, and (5) E-mail address. If the individual's authorizing authority is to be restricted to certain employee populations or actions, please include such information as a comment. Requests containing approval signatures of individuals not on the agency-approved list will be returned.

To assist agencies and the Agency Support Desk in documenting the addition or correction of rows, Job Comments page was created. This page automatically includes the operator ID and date/time stamp of the transaction and offers a "Comments" field for recording information explaining a transaction or purpose for inserting or changing a row of data.

Click here for the Job and Position Data Change Request Form.

Note:  The form may be printed, all fields completed by hand, and emailed to the Agency Support Desk. The form is a Word document. The fields can be completed in Word, saved and attached to an e-mail sent to the Agency Support Desk. When e-mailing the form, type the requestor's and authorizing individual's name in the "Signature" field, as well as in the name fields.

Important:  AN E-MAILED FORM WILL ONLY BE PROCESSED IF THE E-MAIL ADDRESS FROM WHICH IT WAS SENT MATCHES AN E-MAIL ADDRESS ON THE AGENCY'S AUTHORIZED LIST.

The Agency Support Desk e-mail address and fax number are provided on the form.

Correction and Repeal Action Reasons

The following are the most commonly used correction and repeal Action Reasons:

  • DTA CFI Change FICA Status
  • DTA CSH Change Standard Hours
  • DTA CSD Change Service Date
  • DTA CJ1 Correct Job Data 1 Information
  • DTA CJ2 Correct Job Data 2 Information
  • DTA CSC Correct Salary/Compensation Info
  • DTA CBB Correct Annual Benefit Base Rt
  • DTA CER Correct/Add Empl Review Rating
  • REH RTA Repeal Incorrect Terminatn Actn
  • TER RHA Repeal Incorrect Hire Action

The SAO Action/Reason Codes document and the SAO Guidelines for Transaction Effective Dates document were created to assist users in the selection of proper codes and effective dates.

Setting up Part-time Board Members as Employees

Part-time Board Members should NOT be set up as hourly employees in HCM. Making them Hourly, with the Comp Rate set to the equivalent of the daily rate, then leaving the Standard Hours at 40 causes substantial problems with reporting.

When asked to provide data on "over $150,000 annually" employees (frequently requested by the General Assembly and/or the Governor), Board Members set up as hourly will show an annualized salary that will put them in this category.

The correct method for setting up Board Members is as follows:

  1. Create one or more positions using Job Code A0048 - Board Member (a single position may be multi-encumbered)
  2. Assign the position on an appropriate hourly Paygroup (SCOA 510, 512, 513)
  3. Leave Standard Hours blank (or hours may be left at 1 for positions set up under previous instructions)
  4. The Salary Plan/Grade will default to APO-Additional Pay Only. Keep these values. Leave the employee's Compensation Rate and Annual Benefits Base Rate blank.

For Payroll, the employees will be paid as Additional Pay only (no salary), with a component code of BMB.

FLSA Status

FLSA status is determined and maintained at the Position Data level and written to the employee Job Data record.

FLSA on Position Data

FLSA Status is maintained at the position level. FLSA STATUS ON THE JOB DATA PAGE IS DISPLAY ONLY AND IS NOT AN ENTERABLE FIELD. All FLSA determinations ARE made only at the Position level and defaulted to the employee.

When necessary to change FLSA Status, a user MUST insert a new row in Position Data. The new Position row will normally create a new Job Data row for each incumbent of the position. (If there is more than one incumbent on a position, all incumbents WILL have the same FLSA Status written to Job Data. NOTE: If one or more incumbents of a position have a Job Data row with an effective date later than the effective date of the position transaction, a Job Data row will NOT be written and the FLSA Status of the employee and the position will not be in agreement.)

The Action/Reason Code to be used when changing FLSA status is Position Chg/CFL.

Correcting Job/Position Records

If the FLSA Status on an employee's Job Data page is not in agreement with the FLSA Status on the Position Data page, the discrepancy should be corrected by utilizing ONE of the following:

  1. Transfer the employee (Action/Reason = Transfer/LAT) to a different position assigned to the same Job Code and having the correct FLSA status
  2. Enter a position transaction (Action/Reason = Position Chg/CFL) with the correct FLSA status and an effective date equal to, or later than, the current Job Data row. In order to correct an employee's Job Data record, it will be necessary to enter a position transaction even if the FLSA Status of the position is currently correct.

Payroll

Q:  How do I correct the FICA status?

A: In reviewing the Annual Reporting Error Listing (TX xxx900 Report), we are noticing a few common errors.  In order to minimize these errors in the future; here are a few tips that should help you when correcting FICA status when refunding taxes and paying out deceased employees.

Correcting FICA status

  1. FICA status should be first corrected in Job Data using the effective date of hire or FICA status Change.
  2. Process a reversal adjustment for the check(s) that were incorrect.  If more than four (4) periods are affected, contact HCM Support.
  3. Do not over ride tax information on the pay line.  Doing this only adjusts the tax and does not correct the taxable wage.
  4. A refund check will be available the next day for the refunded tax.

Q:  How do I process a check for a Deceased Employee?

A:  Processing a check for a deceased employee is done in two steps.  First, a check should be processed paying the beneficiary, the estate or surviving spouse. Second, process a manual check using the DEC earnings code for the amount of Federal and State Taxable wages that should be reported on a 1099MISC rather than a W-2. 

Refer to the following documents below for further instructions on processing checks for deceased employees:

Q:  How do I process Rehires?

A:  When an employee transfers in, is rehired or has an add employment record entered, the gaining agency must review the following areas to insure that the employee record is correct:

  • Additional Pay - Review the additional pay earnings codes and verify that they are authorized for your agency and are of the correct amount.
  • Direct Deposit - If your agency does not offer direct deposit, review the direct deposit panel and inactivate the top row if one exists with data.
  • Employee Tax Data - Carefully review all panels in this group. The system automatically copies the data from an existing agency to the new agency.  For example: If the employee was Exempt from State Unemployment in the losing agency and is covered in the gaining agency, you will need to "Un-check" the box on State Tax Data 2. Also, pay special attention to the percentage boxes on Federal Tax Data 1 and State Tax Data 1 and remove any percentages that are not appropriate for the employee. In addition, if the employee has not filed a W-5 with your agency, you may need to change the radio button to Not Applicable on Federal Tax Data 2.
  • General Deduction Data - review the general deduction codes and verify that they are authorized for your agency. Also, verify that any general deduction overrides are appropriate for your agency.

ERS Pension Consolidation Panels

In order to help the payroll offices with the reconciliation of ERS pension information, access has been given to the Pension's Consolidation panels for Earnings and Contributions.  Those employees which have access to the PayLine in the Payroll office and those which can update the Pensionable Earnings Panel can view the new panels. 

To access them:

Benefits, Enroll in Benefits, Pension plans.

Please download examples of the panels:

  • Contribution
  • Earnings

If you have any questions concerning these panels, please contact ERS.  Access to these panels is effective immediately.

Tax Information

  • Please review this information regarding employees filing a W-4 with an exempt from federal withholding tax status and employees filing a W-5 claiming the Advanced Earned Income Credit (EIC).
  • TAXxxx103 Report (W-4 Exempt) lists employees who claim "Exempt" status from federal withholding tax and is sorted by Company, Mail Drop, and employee name.
  • A new W-4 must be filed if the employees listed on the TAXxxx103 report wishing to continue claiming the exempt status from federal withholding tax. When entering the new W-4, access the Federal Tax Data 1 panel (Go, Compensate Employees, Maintain Payroll Data U.S., Use) click on the scroll bar, insert a new effective dated row and set the radio button from "Notification Sent" to "None" and SAVE. An error will occur if an attempt is made to set the radio button "New W-4 Received". This particular PeopleSoft functionality is not being used at this time.
  • TAXxxx113 Reports (W-5 EIC) lists employees who claim "Advanced Earned Income Credit" (EIC) and is sorted by Company, Mail Drop, and employee name.
  • A new W-5 must be filed if the employees listed on the TAXxxx113 report wish to continue claiming the Advanced Earned Income Credit. When entering a new W-5, access the Federal Tax Data 2 panel (Go, Compensate Employees, Maintain Payroll Data U.S., Use), click on the scroll bar, insert a new effective dated row and set the radio button from "Notification Sent" to "None" and SAVE.  If an attempt is made to set the radio button "New W-5 Received" an error will occur. This particular PeopleSoft functionality is not being used at this time.

If there are any questions concerning W-4 or W-5 entry, please call the SAO Customer Service Center.

Q:  How are W-2’s Reissued?

A:  Reissued W-2s are printed on Tuesday and Friday nights of each week during the period from February 1st through mid April.  From April 15th through January 31st, reissued W-2's are only printed on Friday nights.  Agencies can request reissued W-2's as far back as tax year 1999.  To make a request, use the Reissue W-2 Request Form.  Each tax year must be submitted on a separate form.  Send requests to the SAO Customer Service Center-HCM e-mail at hcm@sao.ga.gov by 3:30 PM to be included in the next batch run.

Reissued W-2's will be available the next business day after the print job is processed.  When a print night will fall on a state or federal holiday, the job will be submitted on the last business day prior to the normal print day.