Payroll FAQ

Payroll

  1. Where is my paycheck?
  2. How do I get a replacement for a lost paycheck?
  3. I just started at Northwestern. What forms does payroll need from me?
  4. When do I get paid?
  5. If I sign up for direct deposit, how soon does it take effect?
  6. How do I change my direct deposit accounts?
  7. How do I tell payroll that my address has changed?
  8. I can't find my W-2 or 1042-S. How do I get another copy?
  9. I am a graduate stuent; how do I get my Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax refunded due to my late school enrollment?
  10. I am a graduate student receiving a stipend from a scholarship/fellowship payment. How do I get federal and state tax to be withheld?
  11. If I sign up for pretax transit, when do I need to submit the form and when will I get my CTA Chicago Card Plus or RTA transit check?
  12. How do I get payroll to change my name?
  13. How can I access my paycheck online?
  14. What does the “PDF File” box mean in my online paycheck?
  15. How far back in my service at the University can I see my paychecks?
  16. Does the online paycheck view take the place of paper checks and advices?
  17. What does it mean when there is a negative sign in front of an amount on my check?
  18. Can I see my vacation and sick accrual balance?
  19. Can I see my FSA (Flexible Spending Account) reimbursement check?
  20. My tax exemptions are incorrect and/or my tax withholding needs to be changed. What do I need to do?

Kronos Time System

  1. What is the Kronos web address?
  2. Why can't I get the Kronos Time System web site to come up?
  3. What do I do if I get an error regarding Java or am prompted to install Java?
  4. How do I get to my time sheet?
  5. When does my employee get access to Kronos?
  6. Why can't I log in?
  7. What web browser should I be using?
  8. What should I do if my supervisor isn't here to approve my timesheet? Will I get paid?
  9. Why can't I seem to enter the hours when I have the timesheet pulled up in front of me?
  10. I have more than one job; how do I know which timesheet to enter on?
  11. What do I do if I forgot to submit my hours or need to make a change to a prior pay period?
  12. When will any late hours entered as an historical edit by my supervisor get paid?
  13. When must my timesheet be entered and approved?
  14. I am a supervisor. How do I approve a timesheet?
  15. Why does the row that I insert by clicking the plus sign in order to use a different paycode disappear right away?
  16. Why won't Kronos won't let me enter my absence hours yesterday? What do I do if I don't have enough sick or other accrual hours?
  17. Why do I see two rows for Hours Worked for one week in my time sheet?
  18. How do I add a note or comment to my time sheet?
  19. How do I charge hours to a different chart string?
  20. Why do some time sheets have UXA (unexcused absence) hours added after the time sheet has been approved?
  21. I am a supervisor. Why do I get so many emails reminding me to approve timesheets?

E-Verify

  1. What is E-Verify?
  2. What are the benefits of using E-Verify?
  3. Does an E-Verify query on foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status need to be initiated before they can extend their optional practical training?
  4. What is the federal contractor rule? Is Northwestern a federal contractor?
  5. Which employees may be verified through the E-Verify system?
  6. Are employees on leave required to be verified through the E-Verify system?
  7. How will prospective employees be notified of Northwestern's participation in E-Verify?
  8. Are there any additional requirements for prospective employees to complete the Form I-9?
  9. Where can I find out more information on E-Verify and the Federal Contractor Rule?
  10. If an employee received a Tentative Nonconfirmation because one of the fields was completed incorrectly or the entry was mistyped, can an employee correct the I-9?
  11. When may an employer initiate a query under E-Verify?
  12. If the employee will not be on campus to complete their Form I-9 by the end of three business days after they start work for pay, what process should be followed? .
  13. Can E-Verify be used to prescreen potential employees?
  14. If an employee was already verified through E-Verify with a previous employer, does the E-Verify query need to be initiated again?
  15. What information is required to conduct an E-Verify initial verification?
  16. Do employees need to provide their Social Security Number on the Form 1-9?
  17. How can employees be processed through E-Verify if they do not yet have a Social Security Number?
  18. How are noncitizen workers verified?
  19. What is the E-Verify Photo Matching Tool?
  20. How quickly are responses from E-Verify received?
  21. What are the possible responses to the E-Verify submission?
  22. What are some tips to reduce the possibility of Tentative Non Confirmation response from E-Verify?
  23. How are E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations resolved?
  24. What are the possible E-Verify responses once a Tentative Nonconfirmation has been contested?
  25. Do employees continue to work during the verification process?
  26. What happens if an employee chooses not to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation or does not contact DHS or SSA within eight federal government workdays?
  27. What if an employee confesses that he/she does not have work authorization in the U.S.?

Payroll

  1. Where is my paycheck?

    All faculty, staff, and graduate students must have their paychecks or direct deposit advices sent to their department. Temporary employees can elect to have their paychecks sent to their local home address, permanent home address, the department, or to the Evanston or Chicago Bursar.

    Every pay period there are checks held in the Payroll Division because the employee has not completed some piece of paperwork. A listing of these checks is sent to department administrators before the pay day to advise them. The most common reasons for checks to be held are a missing I-9 (proof of eligibility to work in US), missing I-9 and nonresident paperwork, and missing work-study authorization form (required for work-study students).

  2. How do I get a replacement for a lost paycheck?

    If you haven't received a paycheck after checking where it should have been delivered or have lost a check, call the Payroll Division and request a replacement. Replacement checks typically take two to four days for the stop payment to be placed on the original check and a new check to be issued.

  3. I just started at Northwestern. What forms does payroll need from me?

    Payroll needs to have a valid electronic I-9 completed within three days of being hired as well as a personal data form if these haven't already been completed. You can find these forms in the Form Library. The W4 tax forms are on our employee tax information page.

  4. When do I get paid?

    All faculty, exempt staff, and graduate students get paid on the last work day of every month. All biweekly staff and temporary employees get paid biweekly. Biweekly staff and temporary employees are paid on the Friday following the end of the pay period.

  5. If I sign up for direct deposit, how soon does it take effect?

    Signing up for direct deposit may take up to a week to process.  Be sure to submit the Direct Deposit Form PDF Document to the Payroll Office as soon as possible to ensure enough time for processing before your first paycheck.  Online direct deposit enrollment is not available at this time.

    (We process the payroll about four or five days before the pay day to ensure timely deposit through the banking system and timely printing and delivery of checks and direct deposit statements.)

  6. How do I change my direct deposit accounts?

    You may change your direct deposit account(s) at any time by submitting a new Direct Deposit Form PDF Document to the Payroll Office.  Please allow at least one week for your changes to be processed.

  7. How do I tell payroll that my address has changed?

    Please update your address in the "My Personal Information" section of the Self Service Portal if you are an active employee. If you are no longer active and have left the University, please use a personal data form PDF Document. Please keep in mind that we do not have access to address updates in Caesar (student system).

  8. I can't find my W-2 or 1042-S. How do I get another copy?

    Call the payroll office at 847-491-7362 (Evanston campus) or 312-503-9700 (Chicago campus) or email us at payroll@northwestern.edu.

  9. I am a graduate student. How do I get my Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax refunded due to my late school enrollment?

    To receive a refund of Social Security and Medicare tax taken from your monthly check due to late enrollment, you must send the payroll office a copy of both your check stub showing the tax was withheld and a copy of your schedule or other proof of full-time student status. Your tax will be refunded in a separate payment within 30 days sent to your department.

  10. I am a graduate student receiving a stipend from a scholarship/fellowship payment. How do I get federal and state tax withheld?

    If you are receiving a stipend from a scholarship/fellowship payment, these wages are not reported on form W2 and are not used to calculate federal and state taxes to be withheld despite their taxability. You need to complete a federal and state W2 listing exactly how much tax you want to be withheld in the additional withholding field. More details and the tax forms are on our tax information page. If your position changes to a graduate assistant, change your W4s back to zero additional withholding.

  11. If I sign up for pretax transit, when do I need to submit the form and when do I get my CTA Chicago Card Plus or RTA transit check?

    All forms should be submitted by the 5th of the month. Faculty and staff who submit applications for RTA transit checks (for Metra) that are received by the 5th of the month will have a deduction that month and will receive the transit check by the end of that month. Faculty and staff who submit applications for CTA Chicago Card Plus by the 5th of the month will have their first deduction in the following month receiving their Chicago Card Plus by the end of that month with the deduction value loaded by the end of that month.

  12. How do I get payroll to change my name?

    Complete a personal data form and attach a copy of your new Social Security Card. Your name in payroll must match your Social Security Card.

  13. How do I access my paycheck online?

    Log in to the Self Service Portal using your NetID and password. Click the purple "My Money" menu on the left side, and then select My Paycheck. Note that all paychecks will attempt you download as a PDF file; please ensure your browser's pop-up blocker is turned off.

  14. What does the “PDF File” box mean in my online paycheck?

    All paychecks since December 2010 are available for download as PDFs. Clicking on these paychecks will automatically open the PDF file (you may have to turn off your pop-up blocker to see it). Paychecks prior to December 2010 will open within Self Service and are not available as PDFs. For more information regarding the viewing of a PDF paycheck, see the overview guide.

  15. How far back in my service with the University can I see my paychecks?

    All checks received since 1997 will be displayed in FASIS. To view all your historical paychecks, use the arrow button in the “Select Paycheck” box.

  16. Does the online paycheck view take the place of my paper checks and check advices?

    Yes. By default, Northwestern no longer prints paper paychecks or check advices. You may, however, opt to receive paper advices by contacting the Payroll Office on your campus.

  17. What does it mean if I see a negative sign in front of an amount on my check?

    A negative sign in front of an amount signifies a reversal of either your earnings, benefit or tax data. For specific questions, please contact the benefits or payroll office.

  18. Can I see my vacation and sick accrual balance?

    At this point, vacation and sick balances are not included in the online paycheck view; balances can be seen by logging in the Kronos time system at http://www.northwestern.edu/kronos/

  19. Can I see my FSA (Flexible Spending Account) reimbursement check?

    No, the FSA benefit plan is administered by a third party, PayFlex. If you are enrolled in the FSA plan, you can see details about your claims by logging into http://mypayflex.com.

  20. My tax exemptions are incorrect and/or my tax withholding needs to be changed. What do I need to do?

    To change your tax exemptions or take additional taxes out, you must complete and submit a new Federal and/or State Form W-4. The forms are available online on the Policies & Forms page and can be updated and sent to Payroll at any time of the year.

E-Verify

  1. What is E-Verify?

    E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). USCIS is the agency in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for immigration services. E-Verify provides an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers.

  2. What are the benefits of using E-Verify?

    E-Verify:

    • Reduces unauthorized employment
    • Improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting
    • Verification results are returned within seconds
    • Includes data to confirm the citizenship status of naturalized U.S. citizens
    • Includes a Photo Screening Tool to detect identify theft
    • Participation provides the extension of optional practical training for foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status
  3. Does an E-Verify query on foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status need to be initiated before the student can extend their optional practical training?

    No. In order to petition for the extension, the employer has to be registered for E-Verify in the location where the employee is working. Northwestern registered for E-Verify on October 28, 2009 and only has one location.

  4. What is the federal contractor rule? Is Northwestern a federal contractor?

    Yes, Northwestern is a federal contractor. The rule states that federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' E-Verify system starting September 8, 2009, to verify their employees' eligibility to legally work in the United States.

    Federal contracts awarded and solicitations issued after September 8, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify. The same clause will also be required in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or construction.

    Contracts exempt from this rule include those that are for less than $100,000 and those that are for commercially available off-the-shelf items. Federal contractors will also need to begin using the E-Verify system to confirm that all of their new hires and their employees directly working on federal contracts are authorized to legally work in the United States. Northwestern received its first contract with the E-Verify clause on September 30, 2009.

  5. Which employees may be verified through the E-Verify system?

    Federal contractors participating in E-Verify are required to use E-Verify for:

    • All new employees, following completion of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Form I-9)
    • All existing employees who are classified as “employees assigned to the contract”

    A federal contractor must verify their new hires and the employees who are assigned to the contract, and may elect to also verify their entire workforce. The only employees who will be exempt from this process are those who were hired before November 7, 1986 and continuing in employment at Northwestern.

  6. Are employees on leave required to be verified through the E-Verify system?

    Employees who are on paid leave, including salary continuance, short and long term disability must be verified through the E-Verify system. Employees on unpaid leave, including worker's compensation, are exempt until they become a paid employee.

  7. How will prospective employees be notified of Northwestern's participation in E-Verify?

    E-Verify participants are required to post an English and Spanish notice provided by DHS, and the Right to Work Poster issued by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, in plain view at the hiring sites. Northwestern's participation is outlined in new hire offers and contract forms and is posted on the HR website.

  8. Are there any additional requirements for prospective employees to complete the Form I-9?

    Yes, Northwestern has additional requirements for the Form I-9 that other employers do not have:

    • Northwestern may only accept a List B document that contains a photo (if the employee cannot provide such a document because of religious objections, contact E-Verify Customer Support at 1-888-464-4218).
    • Northwestern must photocopy any Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) if the employee presents one of these documents and keep the copy with the employee's Form I-9.
    • Northwestern employees must write their Social Security numbers on Section 1 of Form I-9.
  9. Where can I find out more information on E-Verify and the Federal Contractor Rule?

    You can review the USCIS website.

  10. If an employee received a Tentative Nonconfirmation because one of the fields was completed incorrectly or the entry was mistyped, can an employee correct the I-9?

    Yes. The employee should contact the Office of Human Resources, Payroll Division and indicate the field(s) that need to be corrected. Once the I-9 has been re-activated, the employee will receive an email providing a link to the I-9 system to make the correction. After the corrections have been made, a subsequent E-Verify query will be initiated.

  11. When may an employer initiate a query under E-Verify?

    The earliest the employer may initiate a query is after an individual accepts an offer of employment and after the employee and employer complete the Form I-9. Section 1 of the Form I-9 must be completed by the end of employee's first day of paid work. The employer must initiate the query no later than the end of three business days after the employee starts work for pay, once Section 2 of the Form I-9 is completed.

  12. If the employee will not be on campus to complete their Form I-9 by the end of three business days after they start work for pay what process should be followed?

    The employee should contact their supervisor, department administrator, or the Office of Human Resources Payroll Division for instructions on the remote hire process. The employee will identify a third person who will act as Northwestern's agent representative in support of the Section 2 completion of the Form I-9 and present original documents establishing their identity and employment eligibility to the third person.

  13. Can E-Verify be used to prescreen potential employees?

    No. Although an employer may initiate the query before a new hire's actual start date, it may not pre-screen applicants and may not delay training or an actual start date based upon a tentative non-confirmation or a delay in the receipt of a confirmation of employment authorization. An employee should not face any adverse employment consequences based upon an employer's use of E-Verify unless a query results in a final nonconfirmation.

    Employers must verify employees in a non-discriminatory manner and may not schedule the timing of queries based upon the new hire's national origin, citizenship status, race, or other prohibited characteristic.

  14. If an employee was already verified through E-Verify with a previous employer, does the E-Verify query need to be initiated again?

    Yes. An employee's previous employment authorization through E-Verify from another employer does not satisfy the current employer's obligation to use E-Verify once an employee has been hired. Once an employee has been processed through E-Verify they should not be re-verified through E-Verify by the same employer, unless the employee leaves and is rehired.

  15. What information is required to conduct an E-Verify initial verification?

    After the new hire employee completes the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) required for all new hires (regardless of E-Verify participation), the employer must submit a query that includes information from sections 1 and 2 of the Form I-9, including:

    • Employee's name and date of birth
    • Social Security Number (SSN)
    • Citizenship status he or she attests to
    • A number or I-94 number, if applicable
    • Type of document provided on the Form I-9 to establish work authorization status
    • Proof of identity and its expiration date, if applicable
  16. Do employees need to provide their Social Security Number on the Form 1-9?

    Yes. It is mandatory for employees to provide the Social Security Number on the Form I-9 if hired by an employer participating in E-Verify.

  17. How can employees be processed through E-Verify if they do not yet have a Social Security Number?

    Employees who do not yet have a Social Security Number may not have their information run through E-Verify. Employers should complete the Form I-9 process with the employee and wait to run an E-Verify query on that individual until the employee receives his/her Social Security Number. If the employer verifies the employee's work authorization, the employee will be allowed to work temporarily without a Social Security Number.

  18. How are noncitizen workers verified?
    • If the query involves a noncitizen worker, the employee's name, date of birth, and SSN are matched with SSA records as with U.S. citizen cases. If the information matches SSA records, then the DHS identification number and work authorization information are also matched against DHS databases.
    • If the information cannot be verified electronically, the case is forwarded to a USCIS Immigration Status Verifier (ISV), who researches the case and provides an electronic response within one business day, either verifying work authorization or issuing a DHS Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC).
    • If the employer receives a TNC, the employer must notify the employee and provide him or her with an opportunity to contest that finding. An employee has eight business days to call a toll-free number (which provides support in ten different languages) to initiate the process to contest the finding.
    • Until the TNC is resolved, the employee must be allowed to keep working and cannot be fired or have any other employment-related action taken against them because of the TNC.
    • Once the necessary information from the employee has been received by phone or fax, the USCIS Immigration Status Verifier resolves the case, typically within three business days, by issuing either a verification of the employee's work authorization status or a DHS final nonconfirmation.
  19. What is the E-Verify Photo Matching Tool?

    The photo matching process, also known as the photo screening tool, is an automated step in the E-Verify system which prompts employers to compare an employee's DHS-issued photo document (presented during the I-9 process) with a photo displayed in E-Verify.

    At present, the photo screening tool will only “activate” when an employee presents a recent version of a permanent resident card (I-551) or employment authorization document (EAD) as proof of employment authorization. E-Verify will add photos from US passports and state driver's licenses, but a timeline has not been announced.

  20. How quickly are responses from E-Verify received?

    Response to the initial query is sent within seconds of submitting the query.

  21. What are the possible responses to the E-Verify submission?
    • Confirmation: For those employees whose work authorization status can be verified immediately (i.e. whose SSA record matched and confirms U.S. citizenship), the process ends here with a confirmation response returned to the employer through the system within seconds.
    • Tentative Non Confirmation: In the remaining small minority of cases, the system issues a Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC). A TNC does not necessarily mean that the employee is not authorized to work in the United States. Common issues resulting in a TNC include typographical errors, Social Security cards reflecting maiden vs. married names, providing an incorrect immigration status (permanent residences vs. alien authorized to work).
    • DHS Verification In Process: A noncitizen's information provided to SSA matches the information contained in SSA records, but did not match DHS' records. The case is automatically referred to DHS for further verification. The employer and employee do not need to take any action at this point. DHS will respond to most of these cases within 24 hours, although some responses may take up to three federal government workdays.
  22. What are some tips to reduce the possibility of Tentative Non Confirmation response from E-Verify?
    • Notify the SSA of name changes (i.e. using a married name vs. maiden name) or changes in citizenship status.
    • Pay careful attention when filling out the Form I-9 for typographical errors and providing the correct immigration status.
    • Ensure the name on the Form I-9 matches the name on the supplied documentation.
  23. How are E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations resolved?
    1. When a TNC is issued, the employer must notify the employee of the TNC and give the employee the opportunity to contest the finding.
    2. If the employee chooses to contest the SSA TNC, he or she must indicate this choice electronically and sign and date the Notice to Employee of Tentative Nonconfirmation.
    3. The employer then gives the employee a Referral Letter with specific instructions for how to contact SSA in order to remedy their records. The document is available in English and Spanish.
    4. The employee must sign the Referral Letter.
    5. The employee has eight business days to visit an SSA office with the required documents to initiate the process to prove identity and support the correction of the SSA record.
    6. SSA will take the following steps:
      1. determine if the Social Security record needs to be updated
      2. update the Social Security records based on acceptable evidence provided
      3. verify the authenticity of evidence submitted with the issuing entity
    7. Until the TNC is resolved, even if it takes longer than eight days, the employee must be allowed to keep working and cannot be fired or have any other employment-related action taken against him or her because of the TNC.
    8. E-Verify informs the employer of the case resolution once the employee visits SSA and resolves the issue.
    9. If the employee fails to contact SSA within the eight day contest period, the employee is considered a no show and a final nonconfirmation is issued by E-Verify. At this point, the employer should terminate employment.
  24. What are the possible E-Verify responses once a Tentative Nonconfirmation has been contested?

    E-Verify will respond with one of the following messages:

    • Employment Authorized: This response indicates that employment eligibility is verified
    • SSA Final Nonconfirmation: This indicates that the SSA could not verify the furnished information
    • DHS Verification In Process: This response indicates that a noncitizen's information provided to SSA matches the information contained in SSA records. The case is then referred to DHS for employment eligibility verification. DHS responds to most of these cases within 24 hours, although DHS is permitted up to three federal government workdays to respond
    • DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation: (Photo Tool Non-Match): The photo matching step occurs when an employee presents a Permanent Resident Card (I-551) or an Employment Authorization Document (I-766) for his or her Form I-9 documentation. This response indicates that the employer determined that the photo on the employee's document does not match the photo supplied by E-Verify. At this point, the employer informs the employee of the DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation and give them the option to contest.
    • DHS Employment Unauthorized : This response indicates that the employee contacted DHS and is not authorized to work. The employer may terminate employment with no civil or criminal liability
    • Review and Update Employee Data: In some cases, SSA will prompt the employer to review and update the employee information entered into the Form I-9 and resubmit the case. This means that SSA has determined that there appears to be a discrepancy in the Form I-9 data. This discrepancy may result from any of the following situations:
      • Miskeyed information on the Form I-9
      • The employee intentionally provided incorrect information on the Form I-9
  25. Do employees continue to work during the verification process?

    Yes. As long as the employee can demonstrate that he/she has contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is actively trying to resolve the non-confirmation, employers may not take any adverse action. This includes firing, suspending, withholding pay or training, or otherwise infringing upon his/her employment.

    If the employee informs you of his/her attempts to contact SSA, you should document what the employee has done (e.g., date and time of his/her visit to the SSA Office and name(s) of people with whom he/she has spoken). Note, however, that the latest DHS guidance is that employers should not ask the employee for any documentation. DHS expects that the employer will keep checking back with the E-Verify system to see if the matter has been resolved.

  26. What happens if an employee chooses not to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation or does not contact DHS or SSA within eight federal government workdays?

    The employer may terminate employment with no civil or criminal liability.

  27. What if an employee confesses that he/she does not have work authorization in the U.S.?

    When this happens, the employer has been charged with actual knowledge that the employee is not authorized to work in the U.S. Northwestern will be subject to both civil and criminal liabilities if the employee continues to be employed. The employee must be terminated.