2021 Payroll Changes

The Single Payroll project is a system-wide initiative to standardize System payroll by eliminating the monthly payroll cycle and moving all employees to the biweekly payroll cycle. Included as part of this project, benefit deductions will be split evenly over the biweekly paychecks. Below are some common questions and answers that one may have as it relates to this Single Payroll project.


What does single payroll mean?

Single Payroll means moving monthly paid UW System employees to the biweekly payroll schedule. It is important to note that your annual salary amount will not change because of the change in paycheck frequency.

If you are currently paid biweekly, your paycheck will continue to be issued on a biweekly basis however, most of your deductions will be split evenly over two paychecks per month.

How does this benefit me?

  • Biweekly payroll is more frequent and consistent
  • Receive your paycheck the same day each pay period
  • Most deductions will be split over two paychecks instead of one resulting in more evenly distributed paychecks

How will single payroll affect me and my paycheck?

All UW System employees will receive paychecks biweekly, every other Thursday.
  • 26 paychecks annually for A-Basis (Annual) and hourly employees
  • 19-20 paychecks annually (depending on contract dates) for C-basis (Academic) employees

I'm currently a monthly paid employee, what do I need to do?

If you are currently paid monthly, review your personal finances to budget for biweekly paychecks and the split benefit deduction schedule.

If you have automatic/online payments set up (e.g. mortgage payment, car loan, utilities, etc.) you will want to review your monthly finances and prepare for biweekly paychecks and split benefit deductions.

Update the following deductions, if applicable, to adjust for 26 paychecks

  • UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program
  • Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program
  • Additional tax deductions
  • Additional direct deposit deductions
  • Charitable donations

When will I receive my paycheck?

Employees will receive paychecks every other Thursday.

Why aren't paychecks being issued on the 1st and 15th of each month?

Issuing paychecks biweekly is more consistent and you will receive your paycheck the same day each pay period.

Will I receive my checks sooner?

For employees currently paid monthly, you will receive a paycheck every two weeks. For academic staff on nine-month contracts, you will receive your first paycheck in September instead of October.

I regularly receive lump sum payments. Is there anything different for me?

Depending upon when your department submits the lump sum request, you may receive the lump sum payment sooner with the biweekly payroll.

Will my earned leave be affected?

No. Annual leave accrual amounts will not be affected by this change.

Will this change the timing of my annual leave allocation?

No. Employees paid hourly will continue to have leave allocated on a calendar year basis and salaried employees will continue to have leave allocated on a fiscal year basis.

Will my Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) designation change based on how I'm paid?

No. FLSA designation is based on job duties and salary; exempt status will not change based on the Single Payroll project.

Will this affect my tax withholdings and garnishments?

No. Total tax deductions on an annual basis will be the same. Tax withholding on a biweekly paycheck is smaller than on a monthly paycheck, but these tax deductions ultimately equal to the same amount.

If you take an additional flat amount out for taxes, you will want to adjust the amount to deduct over 26 paychecks.

Garnishments will automatically be adjusted for a biweekly payroll. Agencies will be informed of the frequency change and what deduction amounts or calculations will be affected.

Will this affect my retirement contributions/deductions?

For Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contributions, on an annual basis, your total WRS contributions will remain the same. WRS contributions will be taken on a biweekly basis based on your gross earnings for that paycheck. Retirement contributions on a biweekly paycheck will be smaller than on a monthly paycheck, but the contributions ultimately equal the same amount.

For UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program and Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program contributions, if you have elected to contribute a flat dollar amount per pay period you may want to adjust your election to a different flat dollar amount so that your monthly total is the same or consider making a percent election prior to the change to a biweekly payroll.

UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program contribution changes can be made one of two ways:
  • Log into the MyUW Portal (Note that initial enrollments or stops cannot be completed through the portal. A Salary Reduction Agreement is needed.)
  • Complete a Salary Reduction Agreement

Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457 Program contribution changes can be made by contacting WDC directly at www.wdc457.org or 877-457-9327.

Will I get paid for 9 months of work over 12 months?

No. Single Payroll is moving monthly paid UW System employees to the biweekly payroll schedule.

Why is this change being made?

  • Aligns with Operational Excellence goal of 2020FWD
  • Simplifies and standardizes institutional payroll processes
  • Simplifies communications about payroll procedures
  • This change is directed by the 2020FWD Strategic Framework and UW System’s Commitment to Operational Reform and Excellence (CORE) initiative to create efficiencies in key human resources functions including hiring, payroll, and benefits management.

Employee Assistance Program

The EAP provides confidential resources for employees and family members to address personal/work-related concerns. Additionally, the EAP can assist with financial situations. EAP services are provided at no cost (to you and members of your household). For more information review the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) webpage.