A Message from PSC Treasurer Sharon Persinger
At recent PSC meetings, members have expressed anger and concern about the delay in receiving retroactive pay and being placed on the new salary schedules. Some even question whether the funding for the contract is assured and whether we will receive the pay increases in January, as scheduled. I want to acknowledge your frustration that it has taken so long for CUNY, the State and the City to deliver the pay increase that we fought for and won in our contract. Six months of delay after six years of waiting is not acceptable.
But as PSC Treasurer I can assure you that funding for the retroactive pay is secure and that payment at the new, higher salary rates is in process. The PSC has pressed CUNY management from the day the contract was ratified to take a more proactive approach to expediting payment, and the union has also worked directly with the New York State and City Comptrollers to ensure that payments will be made in January.
I am writing now to share the information that we have on the status of our pay increases.
Together with the PSC Executive Director, I meet regularly with members of CUNY's Office of Human Resources Management to push them to make the payments as soon as possible and to give information to members soon. PSC President Barbara Bowen met with New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli last week, and he assured her that his office is working to meet the scheduled date of January.
CUNY is preparing answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" about the payment of increased salary rates and back pay, to be distributed in early December. We are working with them to be sure the FAQ document does answer your questions.
CUNY has informed us that January step increases will be paid first. If you are a full-time employee and are scheduled to receive a salary step increase on January 1, 2017, your first biweekly paycheck of 2017 (January 5 at the senior colleges, January 13 at the community colleges) will show that step increase, but on the 2009 salary schedules.
We expect that that the retroactive salary increases will be paid on the second set of pay dates in January (January 19 at the senior colleges, January 27 at the community colleges), but the union is still waiting for confirmation of these dates from CUNY.
Full-time employees on payroll in January are expected to be paid on the new 2016 salary schedules on the same date as they receive their retroactive pay. CUNY has not yet clarified when currently active part-time employees will receive their retroactive pay, since most are not on payroll in January. The union will continue to press for a date.
You should anticipate that income tax withholding and any other deductions that are a percentage of income, such as Social Security, Medicare, and your pension contribution, will reduce the gross amount of the paycheck that contains the new biweekly pay significantly, by about 50%. Because the single check with the new higher salary and the retroactive pay will be treated by the IRS as if it were biweekly salary, many of us will be taxed at a rate that is higher than our normal tax rate.
There are ways to reduce the amount of your retroactive pay that is subject to taxes, such as a pre-tax college savings plan, pre-tax retirement savings plans, the commuter benefit, and others. The benefits officer at your campus can give you information about the available plans and help you to sign up, but cannot give advice about which of these options is right for you. CUNY management has agreed that the colleges will do their best to provide sources of information about appropriate ways to reduce the amount of your retro pay that is subject to taxes, but you may want to consult a tax professional. Any changes in your pre-tax deductions must be requested at least two pay periods in advance.
As soon as we have more information, we will share it with you. It is not fair that people who have waited as long as we have for a raise should also have to wait for payment, and the union has made that position known loud and clear.