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2017 Winter Closure Checklist

Lantern and pine brances with snowfall backdrop

The 2017 winter closure is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, through Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, for those areas designated to close. Regular operations resume on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. The following dates have been designated as university holidays:

  • Monday, Dec. 25, 2017
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017
  • Monday, Jan. 1, 2018

In addition to the designated university holidays, leaders have approved three extra days off with pay for employees working in departments that close completely from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5.

At this time each year, it is important to make a list and check it twice. We have done some of that for you; below is our annual checklist of actions to complete before, during and immediately following winter closure.

Before Winter Closure

✓  Submit timecards for December

For the first pay period in December (Dec. 1–15), submit and approve your timecard by noon on Friday, Dec. 15. Managers: approve your employees' timecards by noon on Monday, Dec. 18. Your last pay day of the calendar year is Thursday, Dec. 21, which includes this pay period. Note this is one day earlier than normal.

For the second pay period in December (Dec. 16–31), submit and approve your timecards by the end of business on Friday, Dec. 22, or prior to leaving for winter closure. Managers: Approve your employees’ timecards for the second pay period in December by 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. Detailed winter closure timecard entry instructions are available on Fingate.

Submit your timecard

✓  Confirm your retirement account contributions

Confirm your 2017 contributions: Are you contributing what you expected to your Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP)? Review and verify your 2017 year-to-date SCRP pretax and/or after-tax contributions; the deadline to make 2017 contribution changes is Friday, Dec. 8, by noon, which will be reflected on your Dec. 21 paycheck. Log into My Retirement Savings or call 888-793-8733 by Dec. 8 to make any changes to your SCRP contributions.

Confirm your 2018 Contributions: The annual pre-tax contribution limit has increased to $18,500 for 2018. Make sure you start 2018 on track for retirement by confirming your desired payroll deductions for the SCRP. To ensure your elections are reflected on your paycheck on Jan. 5, log into My Retirement Savings and update your new elections between Monday, Dec. 11–Friday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. PST.

Retirement distributions requests: The deadline to submit retirement distribution requests is Wednesday, Dec. 13. Distributions will not be processed during the winter closure. To request your retirement distribution, contact your investment provider (Fidelity and/or TIAA) for the required forms and instructions. Note that Fidelity and TIAA are closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.  In addition, TIAA will close by 11 a.m. PST on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29.

View Retirement Savings information

✓ New This Year: Load your 2018 Caltrain Go Pass on your Clipper card

In previous years, you likely went to a distribution event or the Parking & Transportation Services office to secure your Caltrain Go Pass. This year, things are different. Stanford’s Go Pass program is transitioning to a Caltrain pilot program in which Go Passes are loaded onto Clipper cards. To get started, complete the request form on the Go Pass Transition page of the P&TS website; from there, you can also learn more about the new process, plan to attend an informational event on campus, check your eligibility and learn how to use your Clipper card on your Caltrain ride. But plan ahead: You must submit your request by Wednesday, Dec. 20*, in order to have it ready to use on Monday, Jan. 8.

Submit your Go Pass Request Form

✓ Update StanfordYou

Before you leave, verify your mailing address in StanfordYou (by Sunday, Dec. 31), to ensure timely delivery of your 2017 W-2 tax form. While there, adjust your out-of-office settings and maintain your directory and emergency contact information to ensure you stay informed of campus news and notifications.

Update your settings and information

✓ Opt in for online delivery of W-2

To opt in for electronic delivery of your 2017 W-2 tax form, log into Axess through the “W-2 Consent” link below and complete the Consent Form. Online W-2 Forms will be available in Axess by Monday, Jan. 15.

Opt in and complete W-2 Consent Form

✓  Unplug computers and appliances

Support a Sustainable Stanford and help maximize energy savings. Unplugging your devices is just one of a number of simple actions that you can take to help to conserve resources. Log into My Cardinal Green, a new platform that tracks and rewards individual contributions to campus sustainability, to view your list of actions and help enhance campus sustainability. Completing energy-saving actions before break can earn you up to 45 points (out of 100) toward your reward.

Learn more about My Cardinal Green

During & After Winter Closure

✓  Use your FSA or lose it

The deadline for incurring claims for both the health care and dependent day care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) is Sunday, Dec. 31. Although you have until April 30, 2018, to submit claims for reimbursement by TASC, the services you received need to have occurred by the end of the calendar year.

For the Health Care FSA, under the carryover provision, you may defer up to $500 of unused funds from your 2017 Health Care FSA into your 2018 Health Care FSA. Any 2017 FSA monies over $500 will be forfeited.

Depending on the type of FSA you chose, your funds will appear in your TASC account differently. For the Health Care FSA, the full annual amount you chose will appear on Monday, Jan. 1. For the Dependent Day Care FSA, funds appear in your TASC account in equal amounts within two days after each pay date.

If you enrolled for the first time in an FSA, expect to receive your debit card from TASC before January.

Learn more on the Flexible Spending Accounts web page.

✓  New Medical ID Cards for new plan members

If you switched medical plans for 2018 during Open Enrollment or are newly enrolled in a plan, you should receive your new medical ID card by the end of 2017. If you do not receive your new card and need medical care on or after Jan. 1, 2018, print a copy of your benefits Confirmation Statement as proof of coverage until you receive your new card. Note that VSP and Delta Dental do not send member cards for the vision and dental plans.

✓ Closely review your first paycheck of 2018

Your first paycheck of 2018 is paid on Friday, Jan. 5. With this paycheck, your 2018 benefits deductions and retirement contributions will begin, and Social Security and VDI taxes will be withheld again for employees who reached the maximum in 2017. Closely review your first pay stub to confirm your 2018 deductions are correct for the health benefits you elected. If there appears to be a mistake, contact the University HR Service Team.

✓  Opt in for electronic delivery of IRS Form 1095

The IRS Form 1095 serves as your proof of medical coverage for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. Stanford will produce this form in January and send it to you via U.S. Mail unless you opt in for electronic delivery by Jan. 6.

✓ Review your Explanation of Benefits (EOB)

It is always a good idea to pay attention to your benefits and what you are paying—both from your paycheck and out of pocket. When you get medical care you should receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) that details the services and costs. Review the EOB regularly to ensure you are being charged appropriately. If you have questions or find an error, contact your health plan to have it resolved.

✓  Electronic & mailed delivery of W-2

If you opt in for electronic delivery of your 2017 W-2 tax form, it will be available in Axess by Monday, Jan. 15. Forms that are instead mailed to your home should be received by the end of January. Note the second pay period in December (Dec. 16–31) is not included in your 2017 W-2 form as it is included in your first paycheck of 2018, on Friday, Jan. 5.

Need support during winter closure?

Benefits questions: For all medical and retirement benefits questions, contact the University HR Service Team, but please note their modified schedule during winter closure:

  • Open from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays: Dec. 27, Dec. 28, Jan. 3 and Jan. 4
  • Closed, with voicemail only: Dec. 29, Jan. 2 and Jan. 5. Voicemail will be monitored for urgent matters and callbacks will be made by the next business day
  • Closed on the designated university holidays: Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1
  • In-office appointments and online chat will not be available during the winter closure.

University IT support: The Service Desk will be open, but with fewer staff and reduced hours. Staff will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days, but will be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. With the exception of those dates listed, requests submitted through will be monitored throughout the winter closure, with priority response given to urgent requests related to system outages. For an emergency or a critical need on university holidays, call 5-HELP (650-725-4357). Responses to all other help requests will be handled as quickly as possible, but you may experience longer-than-normal response times until we return to full staffing levels on Monday, Jan. 8. Visit UIT's winter closure web page for more information.

* The deadline to request your Caltrain Go Pass has been extended to Dec. 20. This article was edited on Dec. 14 to reflect this change.

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