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2023 winter closure checklist

Counting down to the winter break? With the help of Payroll, University IT, and Transportation, we have updated our annual list of reminders, deadlines, and support information.

Winter closure has a Thursday start this year and is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, through Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, for those areas designated to close. Regular operations resume on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2023. The following dates have been designated as university holidays:

  • Monday, Dec. 25, 2023

  • Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023

  • Monday, Jan. 1, 2024

Before winter closure

✓  Submit final timecards for December 2023

For the first pay period in December (Dec. 1–15): Submit and approve your timecard by 12 p.m. PT on Dec. 18. Your last payday of the calendar year is Dec. 21, which includes this pay period. Managers: Approve your employees' timecards by 12 p.m. PT on Dec. 18, and be especially careful for this pay period and minimize the pay corrections needed from your department, as payday falls within the winter closure. 

For the second pay period in December (Dec. 16–31): Submit and approve your timecard prior to leaving for winter closure. Your first payday of the calendar year is Jan. 5, 2024, which includes this pay period. Managers: Approve your employees’ timecards by 12 p.m. PT on Jan. 2. 

Please note: 

  • Certain schools or units may establish earlier internal deadlines to ensure sufficient time for entries and approvals before winter closure. Please reach out to your local HR units for confirmation.
  • Payroll will be open through the end of business on Dec. 20, and will reopen Jan. 4. Emergency support will be provided during this period and should be directed to Payroll by submitting a Support Request through Service Now

Timecard entry instructions and other deadlines for financial activities are available on Fingate.

Submit your timecard in Axess

✓ Obtain a permit if you need to park on campus during winter closure

Parking enforcement will continue during the university’s winter closure at the Stanford campus and the Stanford Redwood City campus except on the following official university holidays: Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Even when the Stanford Transportation office is closed (Dec. 21 through Jan. 3) you can still:

Please note: Knight Management Center Garage, Roth Way Garage, Wilbur Field Garage, Roble Field Garage, and Center for Academic Medicine will be closed for cleaning. All vehicles left in these garages during the dates designated will be subject to towing at the owner’s expense.

✓ 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 in StanfordYou

✓ Opt in for online delivery of your W-2 form

If you have not previously opted into electronic delivery of your 2023 W-2 tax form, log into Axess and complete the Consent Form, and your form will be available to you in Axess by Jan. 15. To have your form mailed instead, verify your mailing address in StanfordYou by Dec. 31. 

Read about W-2 Forms on Fingate

✓  Unplug computers and appliances, turn off all lights, turn down thermostat, and close windows

While you are away from campus for the holidays, give Stanford buildings a break too! The university has saved over 5 million dollars in utility costs since 2001 by implementing energy-saving measures in unoccupied buildings during the holiday break. Support a Sustainable Stanford and help maximize energy savings. Unplug devices, turn off lights, turn down the thermostat, and close windows in campus buildings before you leave. These are just a few simple actions that you can take to help conserve resources over winter closure.

✓ Confirm your 2023 SCRP contribution changes by Dec. 8, make your 2024 elections between  Dec. 11 and Dec. 20

Now is the time to review your year-to-date contributions to the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan and plan ahead for 2024. 

Confirm your 2023 contributions

Check your year-to-date contributions to the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan by logging into My Retirement Savings. The deadline to make 2023 contribution changes and have them reflected on your last paycheck of the year is Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. PST.

Designate your 2024 contributions

The IRS contribution limits for 2024:

2024 IRS limits

Before-Tax & Roth Contributions

Total Contribution Limit including, University Contributions

Below age 50



50 or older by 12/31/2024



Your first paycheck for 2024 is paid on Jan. 5, 2024. If you wish to increase or change your contribution, log in to My Retirement Savings and make your election changes between Dec. 11 and Dec. 20 by 5 p.m. PST. Read more about the IRS contribution limits for 2024.

Submit distribution requests

To request your retirement distribution, contact your investment provider – Fidelity and/or TIAA – for the required forms and instructions.

In order to receive a distribution in 2024, you must submit completed distribution paperwork to either Fidelity or TIAA by the following deadlines: 


Eligible Population


Applicable Taxes

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)

Terminated plan participants who are age 72 (70 ½ if you reach 70 ½ before Jan. 1, 2020)

TIAA and Fidelity Accounts – 11 a.m. PST Friday, Dec. 29

Ordinary income

Hardship withdrawals

Active plan participants

TIAA Accounts – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

Fidelity Accounts

  • Primary residence and tuition hardships – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

  • Other hardships – 11 a.m. PST Friday, Dec. 29

Ordinary income taxes and 10% excise taxes for participants under age 59 ½

In-service withdrawals

Active plan participants who are age 59 ½ or older

TIAA Accounts – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

Fidelity Accounts

  • CRA – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

  • TDA – 11 a.m. PST Friday, Dec. 29

Ordinary income


Active plan participants with a minimum Fidelity account of $2,000

Fidelity Accounts

  • General Loans – 11 a.m. PST Friday, Dec. 29

  • Primary residence loans – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

Not applicable

Full Distribution

Terminated plan participants

TIAA Accounts – 5 p.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 12

Fidelity Accounts – 11 a.m. PST Friday, Dec. 29

Ordinary income taxes and 10% excise taxes for participants under age 59 ½

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 Jan. 2024.

Fidelity and TIAA will be closed on Dec. 25, 2023, and Jan. 1, 2024.

You can make changes to your contributions or request a distribution by either logging into My Retirement Savings or calling a Fidelity representative at 888-793-8733

Log into My Retirement Savings

During & after winter closure

✓  COVID-19 reminder

If you experience symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19, please continue to test and take other precautions, including masking. Following winter closure, all faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars who test positive for COVID and who are expected to work on-site or who were on campus within two weeks of illness must continue to notify the university via Health Check. For more information about symptoms and exposure, visit Environmental Health & Safety.

✓  FSA 2023 deadline to use your funds

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, 2024, the services need to have occurred by the end of December.

A new carryover amount for your health care FSA: You may carry over up to $610 of unused funds from 2023 to 2024; any unused money over $610 will be forfeited. The carryover dollars will be viewable in your Fidelity account after the close of the April 30 submission deadline.

For dependent day care FSAs: You cannot carry over any unused money from year to year. Funds for 2024 will appear in your Fidelity account in equal amounts within two business days after each pay date.

✓  New Medical ID Cards for new plan members

If you switched medical plans for 2024 during Open Enrollment or are newly enrolled in a plan, you should receive your new medical ID card in January. Remember: dental and vision plans do not provide ID cards at all. 

All medical plans have updated their cards to show your plan deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum limits but not all plans are mailing physical cards. Learn more about how to access your cards digitally and review other year-end benefits reminders on Cardinal at Work.

✓ Closely review your first paycheck of 2024

Your first paycheck of 2024 is paid on Jan. 5. With this paycheck, your 2024 benefits deductions and retirement contributions will begin, and Social Security and VDI taxes will be withheld again for employees who reached the maximum in 2023. Closely review your first pay stub to confirm your 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 by Jan. 1

The IRS Form 1095 is required notification of the medical coverage Stanford offered you, regardless of whether you enrolled in it. You don’t have to submit your Form 1095 with your tax return. However, you should secure it with your other important tax forms for future reference. Stanford produces this form in January and sends it via U.S. Mail unless you have elected electronic delivery through My Benefits by Jan. 1. To view or change your delivery status, log into My Benefits, click on the Menu button at the top right, followed by “Items to Explore” and select “ACA 1095 Portal.” 

Log Into My Benefits

Need support during winter closure?

The Occupational Health Center will be closed over winter break from Dec. 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. until Jan. 4, 2024 at 8:00 a.m. Please visit this page to see alternative options during this time.

Wellness support

Benefits questions

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

  • Closed on the designated university holidays: Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1
  • Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT: Dec. 27 and Dec. 28
  • Closed, with voicemail only: Dec. 21-22, Dec. 29, Jan. 2, Jan. 3; voicemail will be monitored for urgent matters and callbacks will be made by the next business day
  • In-office appointments and online chat: Not available during winter closure. 
  • Resume normal operating hours: Jan. 4


Disability & Leaves Services 

If you have an urgent matter relating to a medical leave claim, contact AbsenceOne at 866-566-1906. If you have an urgent matter relating to your medical leave pay, submit a ServiceNow request. Tickets will be monitored for urgent matters and callbacks will be made by the next business day. We will resume normal operating hours on Jan. 4. 

University IT support

  • The UIT Service Desk staff will be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by phone during the break. Urgent after hours calls will be handled by the 24x7 IT Operations Center. 
  • Requests submitted through will be monitored throughout the winter closure during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of weekends, and Dec. 25, 26, and Jan. 1, with priority response given to urgent requests related to system outages.
  • To report an emergency or a critical need at any time during the break, 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 Jan. 4. Visit UIT's winter closure web page for more information.