Frequently Asked Questions
Payroll | Health Benefits | Travel
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.
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. 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.
What is the process of traveling with the department?
The process of traveling with department, recruitment, and research funds follows a procedure involving approval, encumbrance, 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 Request Form.
2) Before you travel, estimate your expenses with the Travel Processing Form.
3) 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 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 in FY13. PhD students can receive two years of funding of up to $800 per year in FY13. 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 purchase your lodging, you should reserve it on your own and provide the Business Office with your booking information as well as the hotel's third party credit card authorization procedure--most often a form to be returned by fax. 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, the department will reimburse two legs of your trip up to the cost of flying into and out of the conference location. For example, if the conference takes place in Sacramento but you want to stay in Seattle for a couple days afterward, the department will reimburse your flights from BWI to SMF and from SEA to BWI if the combined cost of these flights is comparable to the cost of flying roundtrip BWI-SMF.
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 FY13, this is $42/day ($8 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, $24 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.
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.