FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

PayrollHealth BenefitsTravel | Reimbursements

 

Payroll

How often are we paid?

We are paid on a bi-weekly basis on Fridays.  See pay schedule here.

How do I change my tax withholding?

To change your tax withholdings complete a W-4 form. Complete the form online and print it out.  Submit the original to the Business Office. Please remember that it may take 2-3 pay periods for the change to be implemented.

How do I know how much I will receive each pay day?

If you are Graduate Assistant or a 9-month employee: to determine your gross bi-weekly salary divide your total academic year salary by 22 pay periods.

If you are a 12-month employee: divide your fiscal year salary by 26.07142857 pay periods, or 26.142857 pay periods during leap year. The outcome is your gross bi-weekly amount.

Your net salary is dependent upon the amount of taxes withheld and other deductions such as health insurance and/or retirement.

My bank account information has changed. How do I switch the direct deposit to the new account?

To change your direct deposit to a different account complete a new direct deposit form. Complete the form online and print it out. Submit the original to the Business Office. Please remember that it may take 2-3 pay periods for the change to be implemented. In the meantime, you will be issued paper paychecks.

 

Health Benefits

Where can I get information about the benefits offered by the University?

The University offers a variety of benefits packages to eligible employees. Please click here to find detailed information about the various plans offered.

When do I need to turn in my benefits enrollment form?

You must enroll in the benefit plans within 60 days of your date of hire. After 60 days you may only enroll during the open enrollment period. The plan year is July 1 to June 30, so after the initial 60 days of employment, your coverage would not begin until July 1. It is recommended that you enroll within your first week of employment. Please click here for Benefits Enrollment Form.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is held once a year in the fall for the upcoming calendar year. During the Open Enrollment period, all eligible employees are able to change, cancel, or add to their existing health coverage. This is the only time you can make a change to your coverage unless you have a qualifying event.

What is a Qualifying Event?

Any change in your family status such as the birth of a child, the loss of a dependent, marriage, or divorce is a qualifying event to make changes to your health coverage. Loss of a spouse's employment that provides for eligible coverage will also qualify. You have 60 days from the occurrence of the event to make changes. All changes to coverage must be consistent with the change in circumstances.

What if I make a mistake in my coverage or change my mind?

Please be very careful when completing the Enrollment form. You cannot make any changes to the enrollment form once it has been submitted to the Benefits Office. If you make a mistake or change your mind, you must wait until the next Open Enrollment to add, cancel, or make any changes to your coverage.

When will my coverage become effective?

The State of Maryland Employee Benefits Division processes enrollment forms for two effective dates of coverage during the month. They are the 1st and the 16th of each month. Your effective date will depend on when the first deduction appears on your pay advice (or pay stub). The first deduction occurs after forms are submitted and depends on when the submission time falls within a processing cycle. It usually takes 2 to 3 pay periods for the first deduction to occur. You may receive coverage, if necessary, retroactive to your date of hire by paying the premiums from your date of hire to the date of your first payroll deduction. This is referred to as a retroactive adjustment.

If my child is turning 26 and is not enrolled in school, can they stay on my plan? What are my options?

An adult child will be allowed to stay on his or her parent's plan until the end of the month in which s/he turns 26 years old. If an adult child is no longer eligible for coverage under the State plan, s/he may be covered under COBRA benefits for up to 36 months.

If I become legally seperated, can I remove my spouse from my coverage?

Yes, your spouse can be removed from your plan within 60 days of the date of your legal separation. Remember, once removed your spouse cannot re-enroll until the next Open Enrollment period.

What happens if I take Leave of Absence or one of my dependents becomes ineligible to continue coverage?

If you take a leave of absence without pay (LAWP), leave University service, or if one of your dependents becomes ineligible to continue coverage under the University Health Benefits Program, you or your dependent may be eligible to continue health benefits coverage under a variety of regulations. Please click here for more information on Continuation of Coverage or contact the Office of Employee Benefits.

 

Travel

What is the process of traveling with the department?

The process of traveling with department, recruitment, and research funds follows a procedure involving approval and reimbursement. For each of these types of travel, you should fill out the appropriate form, which you can find in the Business Office or click here.

1) Inform and receive approval from the Associate Chair with the Travel Approval Request Form.

2) Once you return, itemize the expenses to be reimbursed with the Travel Reimbursement Form.

What trips are eligible for department funds?

In general, your trip is eligible for department funds if you are formally representing the department, by either presenting work or chairing a session at a conference.

Can I use this year's funds for a trip next year?

No, travel funds are only available in the same fiscal year of the conference.  The timing of the purchase does not affect the year the expense will be deducted from. Purchases may be made in a prior fiscal year, but they will be deducted from the budget in the fiscal year of the conference. 

Ex. A trip in August 2014 can use FY15 (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015) travel funds.  The department may purchase a flight for the conference in April 2014 (FY14) if there is a strong indication that amount will be available for FY15 travel allotments.  However, the expense still comes from FY15 travel alloment even though it was paid for in FY14.

Can graduate students travel with English department funds?

Graduate students are eligible for funds to present at a major professional conference; graduate conferences cannot be funded. MA and MFA students can receive one year of funding of up to $350. PhD students can receive two years of funding of up to $800 per year. Funding does not rollover across fiscal years. Historically, additional funding has also been made available for students interviewing for tenure-track positions at MLA.

Are there other sources of funding for graduate students?

The Graduate School offers two awards, each with a rolling deadline: the International Conference Student Support Award and the Goldhaber Grant. Information about these can be found here. In addition, the College of Arts and Humanities issues an award, with the deadlines for submission occurring approximately three times per year (generally, the middle of fall semester, the end of fall semester, and the end of spring semester). Please click here for information.

Will the department pay for my flight directly?

If you would like the department to purchase your airfare, you should call Globetrotter travel at 301-570-0800 and mention the English department or Rebecca Sommer; they will then walk you through the booking process. However, the department cannot complete the reservation until you have submitted a Travel Processing Form.

Will the department pay for my hotel directly?

If you would like the department to pay for your hotel, you should call Globetrotter travel at 301-570-0800 and mention the English department or Rebecca Sommer; they will then walk you through the booking process. However, the department cannot complete the reservation until you have submitted a Travel Processing Form.  Unfortunately, the department cannot book lodging that requires immediate payment in full.

What if I am arriving at the conference location early, staying on after the conference concludes, or appending a personal trip to my professional travel?

The department understands that you might arrive at your conference location the day before it begins or depart the day after it ends, and it will reimburse you for expenses on these days as well as those of the conference itself. However, you may not be reimbursed for travel beyond this. Any expenses that span the entirety of your trip (both personal and business portions) must be prorated. For example: if a conference runs Thursday through Sunday, and you are arriving on Thursday but returning the following Wednesday, out of the seven days your car spends in the airport parking garage, only five (Th, F, S, Su, M) are reimbursable. If you are adding a personal trip to your conference travel, you must contact Globetrotter (301-570-0800) for documentation on how much the cost of travel would have been for only the business expenses.  Then we will reimburse you for up to that amount.

With regard to my flight, will the department reimuburse...?

The following items are reimbursable: ticket price, baggage fees, change fee (in exceptional circumstances and with the Associate Chair's approval).

The following items are not reimbursable: travel insurance, seat upgrade beyond coach, any portion of a ticket purchased with a frequent flyer or other incentive program.

Should I save my meal receipts?

You do not need to save your meal receipts; the department will reimburse you for meals according to the University's per diem. In FY15, this is $45/day ($8 for breakfast, $11 for lunch, $25 for dinner). On travel days, the per diem is prorated: in order to receive breakfast on the day of your departure, you must leave your residence before 6:30am, and similarly, upon your return, you must arrive at your residence after 6:30pm to receive the dinner portion of the per diem.

Can I be reimbursed for a conference's reception or banquet?

If you signed up for a conference reception, you may be reimbursed for this event in lieu of the dinner portion of per diem for that day.

What if I am travelling internationally and the exchange rate is unfavorable to domestic per diem?

The University allows for reimbursement according to the U.S. Department of State's international per diem allowances. However, this is done infrequently, and should be requested specifically by the traveller for approval on the Travel Processing Form.

Can I be reimbursed for phone calls, internet usage, photocopies, and other similar business services?

Yes, within reason and as these relate to University business.

Can I be reimbursed for personal vehicle mileage to and from the airport?

Yes. On duty days, you may be reimbursed for mileage to/from either College Park or your residence, depending on which is closer to the airport. On non-duty days, you may be reimbursed for mileage to/from your residence.

For a complete list of what is and is not reimbursable, please click here for the Department of Business Services Travelers' Guide. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at the English Business Office.

 

Reimbursements

What kinds of expenses are reimbursable?

You can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses spent on approved purchases such as: supplies or refreshments for special functions; business meals; books and research needs (if applicable, from research funds).

Please note that the deparment cannot reimburse alcohol except through a Foundation Reimbursement Form, found here.

The department also cannot reimburse beverage purchases that are not Pepsi brand products. Consult this list of PDF icon Pepsi products to make sure beverages are approved before purchasing them out of pocket.

 If you’re not sure if your expense will be reimbursable, check with your supervisor or someone in the Business Office before you spend. 

What is the process of being reimbursed for an out-of-pocket expense?

Complete  a Reimbursement Request Form (RRF) with your SSN; the address where you would like your check mailed; the description of each item you are requesting reimbursement for and how much it cost; and the project or function your expense was associated with and, if applicable, a list of attendees.

In the additional comments/explanation section, note where the funds for reimbursement come from (for example, a professor’s research funds, the Writing Center, CLCS Grant, etc.).

Be sure to sign and date.

Turn in the form and original, itemized receipts for each reimbursable expense to the Business Office.

What do I need to turn in to the Business Office to ensure I will be reimbursed?

Along with the RRF, turn in original, itemized receipts for each reimbursable expense. If you are being reimbursed for a meal or event, you must also turn in a sign-in sheet or list of attendees.

Receipts must be itemized and must show proof of payment (for example: Visa/Mastercard and last 4 digits of card or last name of purchaser). Please note this makes it difficult to reimburse purchases paid for in cash. (Some receipts read “paid for in cash” which will suffice for reimbursement).

How soon do I have to turn in my reimbursement request before the purchase is no longer eligible for reimbursement?

 The Business Office can process reimbursements for expenses in the current Fiscal Year (which begins in July). 

I have lost my receipt. Is there any way I can be reimbursed?

You cannot be reimbursed for purchases if you do not have an itemized receipt that also shows proof of purchase.

For proof of a payment made with a credit card, you can turn in a credit card statement of print off showing the appropriate line, along with a receipt from the seller. Restaurants will sometimes reprint receipts. 

Can the department pay for an expense directly?

 Yes. In this case, turn in a Purchase Request Form (formerly Local Hosting) instead of a RRF, and do so before the event.

Can reimbursement itemization forms be scanned or emailed to the Business Office?

 No. The Business Office need an original signature on RRFs in order to process reimbursements.

When will I get my reimbursement?

 Processing reimbursements takes 4-6 weeks will either be mailed as a separate check, included in your paycheck if you are on payroll, or deposited directly if you are already set up for that and it is not a pay week.