Frequently Asked Questions

Related content links are provided below to various FAQ's for payroll.

General Payroll FAQs

You can change your federal and state tax withholdings in one of four ways:

  • By accessing your Employee Express account at www.employeeexpress.gov. You can make changes to state tax in Employee Express as long as you’re making the change for the same state shown on your payroll record. If your address has changed and you want to change your withholding for a different state, then please use one of the other methods listed below to update your payroll data.
  • By scanning and sending your W-4 via a secure email to KC-Payroll.Finance@gsa.gov
  • By faxing your W-4 to 816-823-5435
  • By mailing your W-4 for either federal or state taxes, or both, to:

    General Services Administration
    Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
    2300 Main Street
    Kansas City, MO 64108

    All submissions must include your name and social security number.

Changes or updates to your direct deposit information can be accomplished in one of four ways:

  • By accessing your Employee Express account at www.employeeexpress.gov
  • By scanning and sending your direct deposit form by secure email to KC-Payroll.Finance@gsa.gov
  • By faxing your direct deposit form to 816-823-5435
  • By mailing a Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form (SF 1199A) to:

    General Services Administration
    Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
    2300 Main Street
    Kansas City, MO 64108

You can change an existing allotment by providing the Payroll Services Branch with your social security number, the number of the allotment (from your Earnings and Leave Statement), and the change to the allotment amount. This may be submitted:

  • Online, by accessing your Employee Express account at www.employeeexpress.gov
  • By sending a secure email to KC-Payroll.Finance@gsa.gov;
  • By faxing your request to 816-823-5435; or
  • By mailing a Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form (SF 1199A):

    General Services Administration
    Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
    2300 Main Street
    Kansas City, MO 64108

    Example: Change my allotment #2 from $60.00 to $75.00.

You can set up a new allotment by providing the Payroll Services Branch with your social security number, the name of your financial institution, your financial institution’s 9-digit routing number (this is obtained from your financial institution), your account number (indicate if the account is a checking or savings account), and the amount of the allotment. This may be submitted:

General Services Administration
Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
2300 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64108

Payroll only handles direct deposit for your salary payment. Your travel direct deposit is handled by the USDA Accounts Payable Branch in Kansas City. Please send a secure request for travel reimbursement direct deposits to either of the following: kc-vendor.help@gsa.gov or KC-Vendor.Number.Requests@gsa.gov. (Either one will work.) If you send your travel information to the GSA Payroll Services Branch, we will forward it to the USDA Accounts Payable Branch.

You can submit a request for a replacement in one of the following three ways:

General Services Administration
Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
2300 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64108

Provide us with your name, your social security number, the pay period of the lost check, and the address where we should send the replacement check, or your direct deposit information.

Your pay is sent to the Treasury by electronic funds transfer (EFT) on the Thursday after each pay period ends. The Treasury then forwards it to your financial institution overnight for deposit to your account on Friday morning (no later than 24 hours from receipt).

Please contact your financial institution’s Automated Clearing House department for their posting schedule of EFT transmissions because different financial institutions have different deposit rules.

If you’re a General Schedule employee, you cannot exceed the salary of a GS-15, step 10 for your locality during a pay period because of the biweekly premium pay cap. If overtime, or any other type of premium pay, causes your salary to exceed this amount, your pay is automatically cut back by the payroll system.

Please work with your direct supervisor and your servicing human resources office to request a waiver to the biweekly premium pay cap. This waiver will need to be approved by the Chief Human Capital Officer.

Yes, as long as night shift differential status is a part of your normal tour of duty, paid leave is coded in addition to regular hours and night shift differential.

The only time you are entitled to Sunday Premium Pay is when it is part of your regular tour of duty.

When your Official Personnel Folder is transferred from your former agency to your new agency, the human resources office of your former agency will send your Record of Leave Data (SF 1150) to the GSA’s Payroll Services Branch. The SF 1150 reflects your leave balances as of the last pay period with your previous agency. Once the Payroll Services Branch receives your SF 1150, they will update your leave balances. It could take up to 6 months to receive the SF 1150 from your old agency.

To expedite this process, you can submit a secure copy of your last Earnings and Leave Statement from your former agency as a substitute for your SF 1150 to the Payroll Services Branch at KC-Payroll.Finance@gsa.gov.

You will need to contact your servicing human resources office to obtain this information.

Human resources must change the employee’s tour of duty or the payroll system will not accept anything less than 80 hours worked. In order for the time and attendance record to process, the employee or timekeeper will have to record the missing hours with leave without pay. Leave without pay hours also affect the within-grade increase date and, possibly, the employee’s service computation date. Additional guidance is available in the 6010.1 HRM Time and Leave Administration Policy.

The switch to a part-time schedule from full-time also affects how leave is accrued. Part-time employees earn annual and sick leave based on the number of hours in their established tour of duty, which is less than what they would earn on a full-time schedule. Depending on an employee's leave category, he or she may accrue one hour of annual leave for each 20-hour, 13-hour, or 10-hour increment of hours worked. Any employees who have less than an 80-hour tour of duty per pay period are affected by 13-hour or 10-hour increments of hours worked. (For example, an employee in a 4-hour leave category accrues one hour of annual leave after working at least 20 but less than 40 hours.) In the same way, an employee (regardless of leave category) accrues one hour of sick leave for each 20-hour increment of hours worked.

Moving allowances can be both taxable and non-taxable. The taxable portion is considered income. Only the federal taxes are paid by the agency as part of the moving allowance calculation; Medicare and OASDI are not part of this calculation. Medicare is a required deduction on all income. Social Security (OASDI) is also a required deduction on all income when your retirement plan is either Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS, FERS-RAE, or FERS-FRAE) or post-1983 Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS Offset).

For income tax planning and assistance, please consult your tax or financial advisor. The Payroll Services Branch will increase or decrease your withholdings per your request, but will not provide tax advice. The IRS provides a withholding calculator that can be found on their website.

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) deductions coincide with the leave year. Your election for CFC is effective the first full pay period of the calendar year. For example, the CFC deduction for the pay period ending 1/4/20 includes the final CFC deduction for 2019. This payment will be in the Year to Date area of the Earnings and Leave Statement for the entire new year.

The annual salary for federal employees is set by the Office of Personnel Management. The base hourly rate per pay period is calculated by dividing your annual salary by 2,087 hours. Also, your W-2 base pay may exclude your Thrift Savings Plan contributions, health benefit premium conversion, or nontaxable qualified fringe benefits like transit benefits.

After the Payroll Services Branch receives your resignation or retirement package, the value of your accrued annual leave will usually be paid in a lump sum in the following pay period. You will not be paid for your sick leave balance. However, the Office of Personnel Management Retirement Office will add it to your annuity calculation if you are retiring.
If you transfer to another federal agency, your sick leave and annual leave will be transferred.

When you take leave without pay, a health benefits insurance debt is automatically established. The Payroll Services Branch will notify you by letter of your health insurance options during periods of leave without pay. For information on repaying this debt, contact the Payroll Services Branch at the contact information on the letter you received.

OASDI is Social Security.

Our mailing address is:

General Services Administration
Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
2300 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64108-2416

We calculate your aggregate disposable earnings (ADE) by subtracting taxes (federal, state and local), retirement, OASDI/Medicare, your health benefit insurance premium, your basic life insurance premium, your Thrift Savings Plan contribution, and any IRS levy, if applicable, from your gross pay.

Twenty five percent of your aggregate disposable earnings is the maximum garnishment deduction amount for each pay period. (Child support is not considered in this calculation.) IRS levies and child support are subtracted from the 25 percent ADE to determine the amount of deductions for garnishments.

The amount of a wage garnishment might change since garnishments are a percentage of your biweekly pay. If a pay action affects any component of the aggregate disposable earnings calculation (explained in the previous question), the amount of a garnishment would change. Examples of pay actions that might affect your aggregate disposable earnings include annual pay raises, within-grade increases, or promotions.

A garnishment might also be adjusted as a result of interest charges by the garnishor on unpaid garnishment balance.

We calculate your involuntary debt repayment amount by first calculating your net disposable pay. Net disposable pay is your gross pay minus: current year taxes (federal, state and local), retirement, OASDI/Medicare, your health benefit insurance premium, your basic life insurance premium, your Thrift Savings Plan contribution, IRS levy, and child support, if applicable. Fifteen percent of your net disposable pay is your involuntary debt repayment amount for each biweekly pay period.

If you’re an active employee, you can pay the entire amount of an agency debt by personal check, cashiers’ check, or money order. Include the claim number in the memo line and mail to:

General Services Administration
Payroll Services Branch (BGC), 2NW
2300 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64108-2416

In order for you to claim exempt from federal income tax you must file an IRS form W-4 claiming that you won't owe any federal income taxes for the current year. Follow the instructions to complete the W-4 form.

You must resubmit a W-4 form annually in order to continue to claim exempt from withholding federal income tax. The deadline for submission of a W-4 claiming exempt is February 15 for each tax year.

Follow your agency IT rules of behavior for handling personally identifiable information (PII). If you have any questions about data encryption, please contact your supervisor or IT help desk.

W-2 Questions

Your W-2 is required to be mailed or made available via an electronic form of transmission by no later than January 31 of each tax year.

If your agency has elected to participate in the electronic email notification process, you will receive notice by email from Employee Express when your W-2 statement is available online. This notice will also include instructions on how to access and print your W-2.

For a copy of your W-2, you may access Employee Express at www.employeeexpress.gov to print a duplicate W-2. Employee Express stores the last 4 years of your W-2s and you can download or print them from the website.

  1. Go to www.employeeexpress.gov.
  2. Enter your login ID and password and click “Log In,” or log in with your smart card.
  3. Click on “W-2” under the Miscellaneous section to view your W-2.
  4. Select the “Print” button at the bottom of the page to print your W-2.
  5. To print multiple copies of your W-2, select the “View PDF” button at the bottom of the page.

If you’ve forgotten your login ID or password, click the “Forgot Login ID” or “Forgot Password” link on the Employee Express login page and follow the on-screen directions.

Depending on the option you choose, you will either be sent a security code by email or postal mail. Use the link and the security code provided in the email, or letter if received by mail, to create a new password and set up security questions.

Leave Questions

Home leave is only available for employees located outside the United States.

When you sustain a disabling on-the-job injury, you are entitled to a continuation of pay (COP), without charge to leave, for a period no longer than 45 calendar days. If you are on COP at the end of the day on Friday and the beginning of the day on Monday, the weekend days will count toward the 45 calendar days.

If the holiday is surrounded by leave without pay days, you would not get paid for the holiday. To be paid for the holiday, you must work at the end of the day preceding the holiday OR at the beginning of the day following the holiday — one or the other day but not both.

You must submit a request to your immediate supervisor and meet certain requirements to have forfeited annual leave restored. There are three conditions under which forfeited annual leave may be restored: administrative error, exigency of public business (i.e., an urgent need for you to be at work), or sickness.

Approval procedures are contained in the Time and Leave Administration Handbook (OAD P 6010.1). You should check with your management for the proper approval procedures.

After you have obtained the proper approvals, your request for restored leave, along with your supporting documents, must be forwarded to GSA Payroll Services Branch by either email, fax, or mail.

Family Friendly Leave Act (FFL) codes for sick leave are:

  • Sick Leave/FFL - family: Used to provide care for a family member as a result of physical or mental illness; injury; pregnancy; childbirth; or medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment.
  • Sick Leave/FFL - funeral: Used to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.
  • Sick Leave/FFL - adoption: Used for purposes related to the adoption of a child.
  • Sick Leave/FFL - serious health of family member: Used to care for a family member with a serious health condition/ The definition includes such conditions as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, severe injuries, Alzheimer's disease, pregnancy, and childbirth.The term “serious health condition” is not intended to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief.

These codes allow you to use up to 104 hours of sick leave each leave year for general medical care of a family member, adoption, or bereavement.
If you’re a part-time employee or an employee with an uncommon tour of duty, the number of hours available to you would be the number of hours of sick leave you normally accrue during a leave year.

Family and medical leave, also known as Family and Medical Leave Act leave, can be used in combination with the following types of absence for either family leave (for your family members), or medical leave (for you):

  • Annual leave
  • Award leave
  • Compensatory time off used
  • Credit hours used
  • Donated leave
  • Leave without pay
  • Restored leave
  • Sick leave
  • Travel compensatory time off used

Family and medical leave is based on a calendar year and begins on the first day it’s used. You’re entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave or leave without pay during any 12-month period of family leave (for the birth or adoption/foster care of a child or for the care of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious medical condition) or medical leave (a serious health condition that affects you directly). You can substitute earned leave (i.e., annual leave, restored annual leave, sick leave, compensatory time, leave from a leave transfer program, or advanced leave for any part of the 12-week leave without pay entitlement).

Your immediate supervisor can approve advanced annual leave up to the number of hours in your biweekly tour of duty. If you’re a full-time employee, you can be granted advanced leave up to the amount you can earn in the remainder of the leave year.

When considering whether or not to advance annual leave, your supervisor must have reasonable assurance that you are likely to return to duty long enough to pay back the advance of annual leave with subsequent earned annual leave.

Your request for restored leave must go through a series of approvals after you submit it. The parties who review it are:

  1. Your supervisor.
  2. An approving official — your Regional Administrator or Head of Services and Staff Offices, or their designee.
  3. The Chief Human Capital Officer, or their designee.

If it’s approved by the Chief Human Capital Officer, the package is submitted to the Payroll Services Branch where we will input the restored leave and it will be reflected on your next Earnings and Leave Statement.

Administrative leave is not earned. It is a catch-all category used to record the various excused absences and administrative dismissals that are specifically permitted under agency-wide policy. The Time and Leave Administration Handbook, OAD P 6010.1, provides several excused absences that must fit the particular intent of the policy. Your individual situation should be reviewed with your supervisor to ensure you qualify for this type of leave.

Prior to contacting the Payroll Services Branch, you and your supervisor should perform an independent audit of your leave record for the entire year. If you still have a discrepancy, please contact the customer service representatives at KC-Payroll.Finance@gsa.gov.

Employees in the donated leave program earn leave in two accounts; regular and set aside. The hours earned in your regular leave account are based on your work hours and the use of your own leave hours. Regular leave is accrued according to your leave category (i.e. 4-hour leave category earns 1 hour for every 20 hours worked, 6-hour leave category earns 1 hour for every 13 hours worked, and 8-hour leave category earns 1 hour for every 10 hours worked).

The hours in your set-aside account are based on the number of hours earned, according to your leave category. The maximum annual and sick leave you can have in your set-aside account is 40 hours.

  • If your duty station is within the United States, you are allowed to carry 240 hours, or 30 days, of earned annual leave from one leave year to the next. If you are stationed outside the United States or its territories or possessions including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, you can carry over 360 hours, or 45 days.
  • At the beginning of the leave year, add what you earn during a year (104 hours for leave category 4, 160 hours for leave category 6, and 208 hours for leave category 8) to your carryover balance. Anything over your ceiling (either 240 or 360 hours) is your “use or lose” figure.
  • If you’re in the Senior Executive Service (SES), you are subject to a 720-hour annual leave ceiling as of the date you enter the SES and for as long as you remain in the SES. If you enter the SES with an annual leave balance of more than 720 hours, the higher balance will remain your ceiling unless it drops below that number at the end of the leave year.
    Example: If you entered the SES with 900 hours of annual leave, this becomes your ceiling. If your annual leave balance is less than 900 hours, but greater than 720 hours at the end of the leave year, then the ending balance becomes your new ceiling.
    When you leave the SES, your earned annual leave balance, if in excess of 240 hours, becomes your new annual leave ceiling, otherwise a ceiling of 240 hours is established.

“Cutback” under annual leave is the excess portion over your leave ceiling that is forfeited at the beginning of the leave year. For most employees, the amount greater than 240 hours at the end of the leave year will be cut back. For more information about restoring leave, talk with your supervisor and see the question above.

In certain instances, permanent full-time employees may be granted advanced sick leave in addition to their accrued sick leave. The rules and regulations governing the approval of advanced sick leave can be found in the Time and Leave Administration Handbook (OAD P6010.1).

Human Resources-Related Questions

Many personnel-related questions are asked of the Payroll Services Branch that should be directed to the Office of Human Resources Management. The following items are examples of issues which should be referred to your servicing Office of Human Resources.

  • When is my next within-grade increase?
  • Have you received the paperwork for my promotion and is it in the system?
  • When will my new pay raise be effective?
  • What is the new locality rate for my duty station or full-time telework location?
  • I changed my health benefits due to getting married, but my premium hasn’t changed. When will the change take effect?
  • My son and/or daughter just became of age and they are no longer covered, what do I do?
  • I’m a new employee and my health benefits premium is not being deducted. What should I do?
  • I’ve changed health plans, when will the change be effective?
  • I want to change my distribution of funds. What do I need to send to you?
  • When will a change I made to my TSP take place?
  • I changed the distribution of funds for TSP and it has not taken place. Why?
  • Do I need to submit a termination notice when there is no longer a medical emergency?
  • How is regular leave earned and what is the purpose of the set aside account?
  • Where should leave donation forms be sent?
  • I sent in a personnel action request or SF 52 to change from a full-time to a part-time schedule (or vice versa). Why hasn’t this change taken effect and when will it be effective?
  • My service computation date is wrong, how do I get it corrected?
  • Why is my annual salary divided by 2087 and not 2080?
Last Reviewed: 2020-11-24