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2019 Winter Closure Checklist

2019 winter closure checklist

The countdown is on for the winter break, and for the New Year. Before you leave, check out our annual list of year-end reminders. When is the last pay day of 2019? How and when can you contribute to the new Roth 403(b) plan? How do you renew your transit passes before your return to work in January? We have all of the important dates in one place.

The 2019 winter closure is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, through Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, for those areas designated to close. Regular operations resume on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The following dates have been designated as university holidays:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020

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. 23 to Jan. 3.

Before Winter Closure

✓  Submit final timecards for December 2019

For the first pay period in December (Dec. 1–15), submit and approve your timecard by Friday, Dec. 13. Managers: approve your employees' timecards by noon on Dec. 16. Your last pay day of the calendar year is Dec. 19, which includes this pay period.

For the second pay period in December (Dec. 16–31), submit and approve your timecard by the end of business on Friday, Dec. 20, or prior to leaving for winter closure. Managers: approve your employees’ timecards by 9 p.m. PST on Jan. 1. Your first pay day of the calendar year is Jan. 7, which includes this pay period.

Detailed winter closure timecard entry instructions are available on Fingate.

Submit your timecard

✓  Confirm your retirement account contributions, or request distributions

Confirm your 2019 contributions: Check your 2019 year-to-date contributions to the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP). The deadline to make 2019 contribution changes and have them reflected on your last paycheck of the year is noon PST on Dec. 10.

Designate your 2020 contributions: The IRS contribution limits for 2020 have increased (read article about your contribution limits). To ensure your elections are reflected on your first paycheck of 2020, update your new elections between Dec. 11 and Dec. 21, at noon PST.
To make changes to your SCRP contributions, log into My Retirement Savings or call Fidelity (888-793-8733).

Start your Roth account after Jan. 2: When you calculate your contributions for 2020, don’t forget about Roth 403(b), the new retirement savings program offering potential tax-free earnings to employees. Your first opportunity to make contributions to Roth is Jan. 2. If you make your elections by Jan. 10, they’ll be reflected on the Jan. 22 paycheck, but you can add Roth to your retirement savings at anytime. For details about making elections and selecting investments, visit the Roth resources page, or call Fidelity (888-793-8733). And watch for future Roth workshops in 2020 to continue to learn more.

Submit distribution requests: To request a retirement distribution, contact your investment provider (Fidelity and/or TIAA) for the required forms and instructions. Note: Fidelity and TIAA will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

In order to receive a distribution in 2019, you must submit completed distribution paperwork to either Fidelity or TIAA by the following deadlines:

  • For hardship requests for home purchase or tuition, loans for home purchase, Age 59 1/2 in-service withdrawal requests from CRA account, and all TIAA distributions except required minimum distributions, the deadline is 5 p.m. PST on Dec. 13.
  • For all other Fidelity distributions, except those listed above and including required minimum distributions, the deadline is 1 p.m. PST on Dec. 27. 

Please note that if there is a problem or missing information on the distribution forms, it may require additional time and cause your distributions to be delayed until January 2020.

Log Into My Retirement Savings 

✓ Your 2020 Caltrain Go Pass, VTA Smart Pass will automatically renew

Now that Stanford Go Passes are loaded onto Clipper cards, your Go Pass and VTA SmartPass will renew automatically - you don’t have to take any action before the new year starts. Don’t forget: You can now complete many parking and transportation tasks online, such as buying a parking permit and signing up for the Commute Club through the virtual parking permit system or accessing the Pre-Tax Transit and Commuter Benefits Portal.

Note: Stanford Transportation will have reduced hours on Dec. 11 (open from 7:30 to 9 a.m. PST) as well as Dec. 13 (open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and will be closed from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5.

Visit Stanford Transportation

✓ Update StanfordYou, set your out-of-office message

Before you leave, verify your mailing address in StanfordYou. While there you can 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 2019 W-2 tax form, log into Axess through the “W-2 Consent Form” link below and complete the Consent Form. If you consented previously, the “Your Current Status” field will say “Consent Received” and no further action is required.

Online W-2 Forms will be available in Axess by Jan. 15. If you prefer to have your form mailed to you, verify your mailing address in StanfordYou by Dec. 31.

Opt in and complete W-2 Consent Form

✓  Unplug computers and appliances, turn off all lights

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 any time you are away. Log into My Cardinal Green -- an online platform to track and reward individual contributions to campus sustainability -- to view your list of actions and support campus sustainability. Completing energy-saving actions before break can earn you up to 25 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 to use the balance of your health care or dependent day care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) is Dec. 31. Although you can submit claims for reimbursement through April 30, 2020, the services need to have occurred before the end of the plan year.

For health care FSAs: You may carryover up to $500 of unused funds from 2019 to 2020; any unused money over $500 will be forfeited. The annual amount you have elected for 2020, plus any carryover, will appear in your TASC account on Jan. 1.

For dependent day care FSAs: You cannot carryover any money from year to year. Funds appear in your TASC account in equal amounts within two days after each pay date.

Your TASC debit card: Remember to check the expiration date on your card. If your card expires in 2020, a new card will be sent to you at the beginning of the month in which it expires. If you enrolled for the first time in an FSA this year, expect to receive your debit card from TASC before January.

You can access your TASC account by logging into My Benefits and clicking “Link to My Account” in the left column and selecting “TASC.”

Log into My Benefits to access your TASC account

✓  New medical ID cards for all SHCA and for new plan members

If you switched medical plans for 2020 during Open Enrollment or are newly enrolled in a plan, you should receive your new medical ID card soon. Remember: dental and vision plans do not provide ID cards at all.

  • This year, all Stanford Health Care Alliance plan members and Blue Shield plan members (Healthcare + Savings, Trio, ACA Basic High Deductible) will get new plan ID cards in January. If you need medical care before you receive your card, you can download and print a copy of your card directly from your health plan’s website to take with you to your appointment or to pay for prescriptions.

View a complete list of benefits provider contacts

✓ Closely review your first paycheck of 2020

Your first paycheck of 2020 is paid on Tuesday, Jan. 7. With this paycheck, your 2020 benefits deductions and retirement contributions will begin, and Social Security and VDI taxes will be withheld again for employees who reached the maximum in 2019. Closely review your first pay stub to confirm your 2020 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 is a tax form notifying you of the medical coverage offered by Stanford last year, regardless of whether you enrolled in that coverage. The IRS does not require you to submit your Form 1095 with your tax return. However, you should secure it with your other important tax forms for future reference. Stanford will produce this form in January and send it to you via U.S. Mail unless you have elected electronic delivery. If you have previously elected electronic delivery, there is no need to do so again. If you have not, you may opt in for electronic delivery by Jan. 6. To view or change your delivery status, log into My Benefits, click “Link to My Account” in the left column and select “ACA 1095 Portal.” Those agreeing to electronic delivery will receive an automated email in January from the portal with the subject line “Important Tax Return Document Available,” directing you to log in to your account to view the form.

Log into My Benefits

✓  Electronic & mailed delivery of W-2

If you opt in for electronic delivery of your 2019 W-2 tax form, it will be available in Axess by Wednesday, 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 2019 W-2 form because it will be included in your first paycheck of 2020, on Jan. 7.

Log into Axess

Need support during winter closure?

Benefits questions: For medical and retirement benefits questions, you may need to contact your plan administrator directly. (Not sure who to call? Review the list of Benefits Providers.) If you need to contact the University HR Service Team, please note their modified schedule during winter closure:

  • Closed on the designated university holidays: Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Open from 8 a.m. to noon on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.
  • Closed, with voicemail only: Dec. 23, Dec. 26, Dec. 27, Dec. 30 and Dec. 31; voicemail will be monitored for urgent matters and callbacks will be made by the next business day.
  • In-office appointments and online chat will not be available during the winter closure.
  • Resume normal operating hours on Jan. 6.

For IT support: University IT will provide limited IT support during winter closure, from 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 through Jan. 5. The Service Desk staff will be available 24x7 by phone during the break. Full support will resume on Monday, Jan. 6, at 8 a.m. For more details, including deadlines for submitting orders, visit

Benefits & Rewards, Working at Stanford