ORBIT

ORBIT Training and Reporting Information

Employer Responsibilities

  • Enrolling all new eligible members into the Retirement System by introducing ORBIT self service to all new members. Please refer to the Member ID File for guidance on how to download new member IDs.
  • Submitting the required employee and employer contributions via the monthly Contribution Summary Instructions (CSI) by 4:30 p.m. on the 4th business day of the month along with monthly ORBIT payroll reporting. Please refer to the Schedule for Submitting Contribution Summary Instructions to avoid a late fee.
  • Certifying employee termination information on the monthly ORBIT payroll report and, under specific circumstances, on the Form 5.
  • Reporting retirees who return to work as State Retirees Subject to Restrictions (STRS) or Local Retirees Subject to Restrictions (LOCRS) on the monthly ORBIT payroll report. Please refer to the ORBIT Employer Reporting Invoices and Penalties document to see how to avoid a penalty fee.

ORBIT Employer Frequently Asked Questions

Contributions

Contributions

A brief summary on contributions

Since the mid-1970s, employees who are members of a Retirement System contribute 6% of their gross salary each month.

Employes contribute the amount as set every year by state law. The new Employer Contribution rates are payable for salary periods paid on or after July 1.

What is the process for employees to designate beneficiaries?

What is the process for employees to designate beneficiaries?

Please note, only a member with less than 10 years of service may designate or make changes to his or her beneficiaries in ORBIT. Employees with 10 years or more of  service must use Form 2RC and Form 2DB, available in ORBIT.

How the Process Works

After the ORBIT payroll deadline, each employer should obtain a list of new employees by performing
the following steps:

  1. Click on “Download Member ID” and select the option to “Retrieve Only New Members.” (Note: It is best to save the report to your work computer for future reference.)
  2. The employer should then communicate the Member Identification (ID) number to each newlyhired employee, and instruct the employee to log on to ORBIT to activate his or her personal account and designate a beneficiary(ies).

If the employer has not saved the report and wishes to retrieve the list of new employees, the employer must perform the following steps:

  1. Click on “Download Member ID” and select the option to “Retrieve Members By Date.” (Note: once the employer runs the report, it is best to save the report to your work computer.)
  2. The employer should then communicate the Member ID number to each newly-hired employee, and instruct the employee to log on to ORBIT to activate his or her personal account and designate a beneficiary(ies).
  • When the member designates his or her beneficiary(ies), and enters an e-mail address in ORBIT, an email notification will be sent to the member. There is no need to send a paper form to the Retirement Systems Division after designating beneficiaries online.
  • If the member does not enter an e-mail address in ORBIT, he or she will not receive a confirmation notice. The information will still be updated in the member’s personal ORBIT account.
  • If the member chooses to complete the beneficiary designation process by completing a paper form – Form 2RC - Designating Beneficiary(ies) for Retirement System Contributions and Form 2DB - Designating Beneficiary(ies) for the Death Benefit or Form 276 – Designating Beneficiary(ies) for the Separate Insurance Benefit Plan for Law Enforcement, and mailing it to the Retirement System, shortly after receipt of the form(s), the Retirement System will mail an acknowledgement letter to the member.
How does ORBIT comply with the minimum age for employment?

How does ORBIT comply with the minimum age for employment?

Be sure to input the correct date of employment and date of birth. ORBIT automatically checks these two fields and the record will be flagged in error status if the combination of the dates makes the member less than 14 years of age at the time of employment, the minimum age for employment as set by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

What is the Social Security Number/Date of Birth correction process?

What is the Social Security Number/Date of Birth correction process?

If an incorrect SSN/DOB is discovered, follow the process below to correct it:

  1. Fax a copy of the employee’s Social Security Card, Driver's License or Passport to 919-855-5801, along with your agency number -- the Retirement System recommends clearly printing the number also directly below the image in case the fax blurs the numbers.
  2. A member of your assigned team will initiate the process within ORBIT.
  3. Be sure to correct the records on your end to avoid future errors.
How to verify US Addresses

How to verify US Addresses

The Retirement System uses the addresses that you report through ORBIT to mail important retirement and disability information.

If the US Postal Service (USPS) returns mail to us for having invalid addresses, we will send these to you. We ask you to please forward these statements on to the members, and help us and the members by updating any incorrect addresses through ORBIT.

As required by the USPS, we run an address match of our addresses against the USPS postal address standards. Since the post office will return any mail that does not meet the USPS standards, we make the changes that are identified by the USPS address match. Even a minor difference (for example, “STREET” instead of “ST”) will result in the USPS database rejecting it, and it will be marked as “undeliverable.” 

Before reporting new addresses to the Retirement System through ORBIT, please verify the addresses on the USPS Web site, at http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp. The site will reformat addresses to conform to USPS standards, if necessary, and employers should update files with this re-formatted address for all future ORBIT reports.

How should foreign addresses be reported?

How should foreign addresses be reported?

To ensure that we have valid mailing addresses on file for all employees who reside outside of the US, please report foreign addresses in ORBIT on the following lines:

  • Address Line 1 (columns 204-253) is a required field and should contain the primary street address for the member. Up to 50 characters are accepted.
  • Address Line 2 (columns 254-303) is overflow for Address Line 1 and can contain up to 50 characters. These columns are optional fields.
  • City (columns 304-328) is a required field and can contain up to 25 characters.
  • Out of Country Address line (columns 340-389) is required for all foreign addresses and can contain up to another 50 characters. This is where the designated country, country code or postal code can be listed.
How is a member in an Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) Eligible Position reported on the Employer Report?

How is a member in an Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) Eligible Position reported on the Employer Report?

When a member moves to (or is hired into) an ORP Eligible Position, the member has 60 days to make an election to participate in ORP per North Carolina statute.

If the member does not make an election, the member is defaulted to Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System General Class (represented by Retirement Plan Code ‘STG’).

At the time the member elects ORP, the ORP Election Form is sent to RSD, and the member is reported with Retirement Plan Code ‘ORPG’ on the next subsequent Employer Report (and each Employer Report thereafter).

How are the contributions, which were sent to RSD prior to the member’s ORP Election, refunded to the employer / employee after the member has made the ORP Election?

How are the contributions, which were sent to RSD prior to the member’s ORP Election, refunded to the employer / employee after the member has made the ORP Election?

Following the receipt of the ORP Election Form, RSD will refund the contributions reported for the member (previously reported under the ‘STG’ Retirement Plan Code) to the University via a credit invoice (which may be applied to the next Employer Report).

What data elements are required for ORP members on the Employer Report?

What data elements are required for ORP members on the Employer Report?

ORP employees should be reported on your monthly employer reporting file, and be classified as Retirement Plan 'ORPG' (Optional Retirement Program General). While their employee contributions are not reported to the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, there is a portion of the employer contributions which are required for this retirement plan. 

We expect the same information to be reported for these employees, as prescribed by the file format for members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System - SSN, Name, Address, Salary (if available), Employee Contributions (of 0.00), etc.

How should Retirement Service Period Type and Dates be reported for new hires?

How should Retirement Service Period Type and Dates be reported for new hires?

Retirement Service Period (RSP) Type –the number of months, full or partial, in a 12-month period that a member is expected to report to work. Retirement Service Period (RSP) Dates –the beginning and end dates of the RSP period. RSP begin and end dates should correspond to the number of full or partial months provided in the RSP Type.

Enter the first actual day worked as the hire date.

For example:

  1. The position’s service period is 8/15/2xxx – 6/14/2xxx.
  2. New hire starts mid-year on 1/1/2xxx.
  3. Retirement Service Plan Type is 11 months. (August through June = 11 calendar months)
  4. Retirement Service Period dates should be 8/15/2xxx – 6/14/2xxx. DO NOT use the new hire’s date of employment as the RSP date.
How should Retirement Service Period and Plan Type be reported for education employees?

How should Retirement Service Period and Plan Type be reported for education employees?

The Retirement System grants service credit for each month in which a member renders service and receives pay. ORBIT allows the Retirement System to record when a member works and receives pay and to grant the appropriate service credit.

ORBIT records the correct service based on the defined time period a member is expected to work and to record when a member renders service within this defined period.

Below are some examples of how to report “retirement service period” and “retirement service type:”

  • For a year-round school employee who works nine weeks on and three weeks off throughout the year, you would report the “retirement service period” as beginning 8/15/2xxx (first day of work for that school year) and ending 7/14/2xxx (last day of work for that school year) and the “retirement service type” as a 12-month employee.
  • For an employee on a 9-month school contract starting August and ending in April, you would report the “retirement service period” as beginning 8/15/2xxx (first day of work for that school year) and ending 4/14/2xxx (last day of work for that school year) and the “retirement service type” as an 9-month employee.
  • For an employee on a 10-month school contract starting August and ending in May who is not required to work on school “work days,” you would report the “retirement service period” as beginning 8/15/2xxx (first day of work for that school year) and ending 5/14/2xxx (last day of work for that school year) and the “retirement service type” as an 10-month employee.
  • For an employee on an 11-month school contract starting August and ending in June, you would report the “retirement service period” as beginning 8/15/2xxx (first day of work for that school year) and ending 6/14/2xxx (last day of work for that school year) and the “retirement service type” as a 11-month employee.

Please note that this method of ORBIT reporting does NOT affect the procedure used by the Retirement System for converting unused sick leave to grant additional service credit at the time of retirement for public school teachers.

The Retirement System continues their historical practice of granting additional service credits in 1/10ths for unused sick leave at the time of retirement in order to treat all teachers the same, regardless of whether the teacher has a traditional, modified, or year-round schedule.

How should Retirement Service Period and Plan Type be reported for installment pay?

How should Retirement Service Period and Plan Type be reported for installment pay?

Because work was not performed during the month of installment pay, retirement service is not granted but the salary should be included in the member’s Average Final Compensation (AFC) calculation. For example: 

  1. July pay is installment pay and work was NOT performed in July
  2. Pay type is REG or summer pay
  3. Retirement Service Period should be reported as 8/17/2xxx – 6/11/2xxx
  4. Retirement Service Type should be 11 months. (August through June = 11 calendar months)
How often are Retirement Service Period and Plan Type data updated?

How often are Retirement Service Period and Plan Type data updated?

When your new employment or school year opens each year, it is important to update retirement service periods in ORBIT for your employees. The Retirement Systems Division needs updated information to  determine how to award service credit accurately and perform average final compensation calculations for retirement applications.

Are supplemental ORBIT reports accepted?

Are supplemental ORBIT reports accepted?

No. If an error is made on your monthly ORBIT report, a second supplemental correction report will not be accepted. Records can be corrected using Prior Period Adjustments (negative adjustments) and Retro Adjustments (positive adjustments).

How should overpayment corrections be reported?

How should overpayment corrections be reported?

Use PRIOR PERIOD ADJ whenever money is owed to you or an overpayment has occurred and you are trying to get the money back. These are also known as Negative Adjustments.

The record MUST be coded as a PRIOR PERIOD ADJ and the pay period dates, plan code and plan type MUST match to the original record requiring adjustment. Negative prior period adjustments CANNOT cross calendar years. If any of these conditions are not met, the record will be flagged in error.

Please note: if salary and wage records are reported through ORBIT while a member is applying for a refund, the refund process will be stopped.

Additionally, once a refund has been issued, the account is closed to negative adjustments. Any PRIOR PERIOD ADJ submitted cannot be posted and will be deleted.

For more detailed information, please refer to the Compensation and Pay Data document

How should underpayment corrections be reported?

How should underpayment corrections be reported?

Use RETRO whenever you owe money, or an underpayment has occurred and you are trying to make an additional payment. These are also known as Positive Adjustments.

The record MUST be coded as a RETRO and reported to ORBIT within 90 days of the underpayment or it will be flagged in error.

If your agency does not report an underpayment within the 90-day window, your employee may have to purchase retirement credit with his or her own money.

Please note: if salary and wage records are reported through ORBIT while a member is applying for a refund, the refund process will be stopped.

The only exception to this policy will be ABC Bonuses for school systems. We will accept a RETRO adjustment for the ABC Bonus up to 14 months after the member last actively contributed to the Retirement System. For more detailed information, please refer to the Compensation and Pay Data document.

How should terminations be reported?

How should terminations be reported?

The actual last day of work is the termination effective date. If a member’s last day worked is 5/31/2xxx, use that date. If the termination effective date of 6/1/2xxx used, ORBIT will incorrectly grant the member a month of service credit. Be sure to include a valid termination reason along with the date.

Pay period dates CANNOT extend beyond the termination date. Any payments made to the employee after the termination date must be adjusted to dates before termination.

For example, if a member’s last day worked is 5/31/2xxx and the member receives a paycheck in June, the termination effective date is 5/31/2xxx, code the payment as RETRO and the pay period dates MUST be changed to dates in May.

Please note: if salary and wage records are reported through ORBIT while a member is applying for a refund, the refund process will be stopped.

How should retirements be reported?

How should retirements be reported?

Retirements are always effective the first day of the month. A member’s last day worked and retirement effective date CANNOT be the same.

If a member’s retirement is effective 4/1/2xxx, their last day worked is 3/31/2xxx.

Pay period dates CANNOT extend beyond the retirement date. Any payments made to the employee after the retirement date must be adjusted to dates PRIOR to the retirement effective date.

For example, if a member’s last day worked is 3/31/2xxx and the member receives a paycheck in April, the termination effective date is 4/1/2xxx, code the payment as RETRO and the pay period dates MUST be changed to dates in March.

If return to work retirees don’t contribute employee contributions to the retirement system, why are they required to be reported through Employer Reporting?

If return to work retirees don’t contribute employee contributions to the retirement system, why are they required to be reported through Employer Reporting?

These type of employees should be reported to the Retirement System through Employer Reporting (even if they are only considered to be “part-time” employees) to allow the Retirement System to monitor their earnings against the retirees’ annual earnable allowance.

How should return to work retirees be reported?

How should return to work retirees be reported?

Report the return to work retirees under the STRS or LOCRS plan code.

  • Report ONLY if the retiree has come back to work under the system from which they retired.
  • The STRE plan code is no longer valid.
  • Be sure to remove the outdated termination information from their records before submitting the ORBIT report and include the new “Date of Employment.”
  • Do NOT report a LGERS return to work retiree working at a TSERS agency under STRS. Report as a contributing member in the new system if eligibility requirements are met.
  • Do NOT report a TSERS return to work retiree working at a LGERS agency under LOCRS. Report as a contributing member in the new system if eligibility requirements are met.
  • Do NOT report part-time earnings of former members that did not retire from TSERS or LGERS.
How does an employer know if a new hire has retired from a different agency?

How does an employer know if a new hire has retired from a different agency?

A Check Retired Status module is available via ORBIT Employer Self-Service to help employers verify employee status under the retirement re-employment laws.

To use this new tool, you should:

  1. Access the ORBIT Employer Self-Service page
  2. Under “Reporting” click “Check Retired Status”
  3. Here you are able to upload a list of employee social security numbers which will be run against the Retirement System retiree list to generate a report of members who are actively receiving a benefit.
  4. The list will show:
    a) Social Security Number
    b) Benefit System
         i) TSERS: Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System
        ii) LGERS: Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System
    c) Last Reported Plan Code
    d) Member ID #
    e) Retirement Status
          i)  Active: Currently receiving disability or retirement benefits
         ii)  Suspended: Retiree NOT currently receiving retirement benefits
        iii)  Pending: Retirement benefits in process

The Retirement System recommends using this tool on a regular basis.

Additionally, the Retirement System recommends using the Form ESRR.

  • Include the Form ESRR available in ORBIT with your New Hire Orientation. Each completed Form ESRR should be kept in your employee files.
  • If a member falsifies Form ESRR by not reporting himself/herself as a benefit recipient, you will not be penalized if you provide the Retirement System with the member’s falsified Form ESRR.
  • However, if the employee exceeds his/her earnable allowance, or violates other return-to-work laws, the employee will be held fully responsible for repaying any overpayment to the Retirement System.
What is the return to work retiree penalty?

What is the return to work retiree penalty?

Under the provisions of House Bill 642, enacted by the General Assembly effective July 1, 2009, employers must report all rehired retirees to the Retirement System each month. If the report is not received by the Retirement System within 90 days of the end of each month in which a beneficiary is reemployed, the Retirement System is required to assess a penalty of $25 or 10% of the compensation of the unreported re-employed retirees during the months the employer did not report the reemployed retirees, whichever is greater.

What are the potential employer penalty fees?

What are the potential employer penalty fees?

There are two types of penalties: CSI Penalty, and Unreported Return to Work Retiree.

CSI Penalty

A late fee is auto-applied to all agencies who do not submit their monthly CSI by 4:30 p.m. on the fourth working or business day of the month. The late fee is $25 or 1% of total contributions, whichever is greater.

Tips to Avoid Late Fees

  • Review and adhere to the Schedule for Submitting Contribution Summary Instructions (CSI).
  • Submit the CSI with an incomplete report. This method ensures the money is submitted on time and the report can be completed later.
  • If an employer experiences a technical failure, please contact a member of the ORBIT Employer Reporting Team (877-627-3287; press #2 and then select option 6) to document the issue as soon as possible. If the technical failure is determined to be on the RSD side, a fee will not be charged.

Late Fee Waiver Request

Employers can request a formal review of their penalty invoice by sending a letter on letterhead explaining your position to the attention of Susan Fordham.

The letter can be faxed to 919-855-5801, or mailed to 3200 Atlantic Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27604. Waiver decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Unreported Return to Work Retiree Penalty

Under the provisions of House Bill 642, enacted by the General Assembly effective July 1, 2009, employers must report all rehired retirees to the Retirement System each month.

These rehired retirees should be reported in ORBIT with the appropriate pay period, pay type, plan code STRS or LOCRS, salary and all other applicable fields as defined by the ORBIT file format via the monthly ORBIT payroll report.

If the report is not received by the Retirement System within 90 days of the end of each month in which a beneficiary is reemployed, the Retirement System is required to assess a penalty of $25 or 10% of the compensation of the unreported reemployed retirees during the months the employer did not report the reemployed retirees, whichever is greater.

The Retirement System recommends implementing two processes to avoid this fee:

• Regularly use the Check Retired Status module. This tool is available via ORBIT Employer SelfService to help employers verify employee status under the retirement re-employment laws.

To use this tool:

  1. Access the ORBIT Employer Self-Service page
  2. Under “Reporting” click “Check Retired Status”
  3. Here you are able to upload a list of employee social security numbers, which will be run against the Retirement System retiree list to generate a report of members who are actively receiving a benefit from TSERS or LGERS.
How do I get help?

How do I get help?

Your ORBIT Employer Reporting team will help ensure the accuracy of ORBIT reports, provide over-thephone training to your staff members, and assist with the correction of payroll errors.

Email
The general ORBIT Employer email address is OER@nctreasurer.com. Reponses to emails take place within 48 business hours.

Phone
The ORBIT Employer Reporting phone number is 877-627-3287 (press #2 and then select option 6

Fax
The ORBIT Employer Reporting fax number is (919) 855-5801.