It's important to check your paycheck each month!
Every year we deal with situations in which employees have been either underpaid or overpaid. Sometimes, these errors have gone on for months (or even years) without being detected. Under our contract, there is a one-year liability on the part of the teacher and the district. If someone has been overpaid, the district can only go back one year to collect; conversely, if someone has been underpaid, the individual can only go back one year to recover the loss.
It is extremely critical that you get into the habit of verifying the accuracy of your paycheck each month.
Here's how to do this:
1. Determine if your placement on the salary schedule for years of experience is correct.
Placement is based on completed years, not the year of teaching that you're currently in. For example, if you're in your 7th year of teaching, you have completed 6 years of teaching. Therefore, you should be placed on Column 6 of the salary schedule. (Keep in mind that if you've worked part-time during your career, each partial FTE is added up to create your experience level. For example, .6 +.7 = 1.3 years of experience, which is rounded to 1.0 years of experience for salary placement purposes.)
2. Determine if your educational lane on the salary schedule is correct.
You can go on the portal to Employee Access and find all the classes and credits HR has on record for you. Click on "Personal Information," then "Prof Development" to see this list. Check to see if these credits and classes coincide with the records you have. Also check "Lane/Step History" to see where HR has you placed.
- Lane A is for those who have a BA and have accrued less than 45 credits after receiving their BA.
- Lane B is for those who have a BA plus at least 45 credits beyond their BA, but less than 90 credits beyond.
- Lane C is for those who have either a Master's or a BA plus at least 90 credits earned after their BA.
- Lane D is for those who have a Master's plus at least 45 more credits. (These additional 45 credits can be earned prior to the Master's degree to count towards MA+45.) Lane D is also for grandfathered employees who have a BA plus at least 135 credits beyond.
Educational advancements will not start until the October 31 paycheck, retroactive to September 1.
3. Locate the current salary schedule on our website at www.lakewashingtonea.org and find your cell (the intersection of completed years of experience and educational lane).
4. Check the accuracy of your basic salary:
- TEACHER should be your Base Salary divided by 12.
- LEAP DAYS should be the LEAP Day amount divided by 12.
- RESPONSIBILITY should be the Responsibility amount divided by 12.
- TECH RESP should be $116.67 regardless of your FTE.
- WORKLOAD STP should be $41.67 if you're a 1.0 FTE employee.
5. Check the accuracy of your Attract and Retain bonus:
- INCENTIVE is your Attract and Retain bonus divided by 12.
- Attract and Retain is based on total years of experience the district has on record for you, not just your years in Lake Washington. You can verify what HR has on record for you by checking "Lane/Step History" in Employee Access under "Personal Information." "Step" is your years of experience placement on the salary schedule.
6. Check anything else that you might have on your check.
Examples are extra hours worked, stipends, remedy funds, etc. Keep independent records of each of these so that you can compare your paychecks with your records each month.
- Your daily rate is your base salary divided by 180.
- Your hourly rate is your daily rate divided by 7.
Keep in mind that activity stipends and the special education IEP stipend do not start until October 31, and will be paid over 11 months. Library media specialists and secondary counselors will also have their extended contract paid in October over 11 months.
7. Keep track of your sick leave and annual leave that you take, and compare your balances with the balance listed on the portal in Employee Access. Employee Access records these in hours; each full day is worth 7 hours.
8. "Deductions" on your paycheck are things you pay.
Compare these month by month to see if there are any big changes. These should tend to be relatively stable, with the exception of months in which you receive a larger than normal check (e.g. November's $2,000 professional fund). Your October 31 check will be the first check to reflect the new deduction for medical benefits.
9. "Benefits" on your paycheck are things the school district pays.