HR: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I change my address?

A: You must first notify the individual in your department/division who is responsible for updating the Staff Database (SDF). When your new address is entered into that system, you will receive a "Change of Address Confirmation" email. A copy of your address confirmation will also be sent to SAO Human Resources.

If you are a federal employee, no further action is required on your part.

If you are a trust fund employee, you will be given instructions as to how to update your new address for your health plans and your TIAA-CREF retirement plan.

Q: How do I change my income tax exemptions?

A: Federal tax forms and state tax forms for Massachusetts, Arizona and Hawaii can be found under the "Forms and Manuals" link at left. Completed forms must be sent to Payroll at MS-26.

You may also access the National Finance Center's "NFC Personal Data" webpage. Enter your Social Security Number and your PIN (Personal Identification Number) and click on the "Self Service" tab, then click on "Federal Tax" or "State Tax." View or change your exemptions by clicking on the "Make Changes" button.

Note: If you do not have an NFC PIN, click "Forgot your Pin?" and follow the prompts. A new PIN will be mailed to you and you will then be able to access your personal data in NFC.

Q: How do I change my name?

A: Human Resources will process your request for a change in name that results from marriage or a court action, such as a divorce or legal name change. You must first report your name change to the Social Security Administration. Since a new card may not be issued prior to the timely processing of the name change, HR may accept your assurance that the Social Security Administration was notified. Inform your supervisor or administrative office of a change in name and show him/her a copy of your new Social Security card with the new name, if available. Your employing office will then submit a Request for Personnel Action for a name change to HR for processing. The effective date for your name change will be near the time frame that the action is received in HR. If you have a change in marital status, you may also be eligible to make a change in your health benefit plan type. Please contact the SAO Benefits office at (617) 495-7371 for more information.

Q: Are all employees entitled to earn leave?

A: No, employees on intermittent work schedules do not earn leave. Employees who are on an appointment of less than 90 calendar days are not eligible to earn leave, unless that appointment is extended without a break in service to an appointment that is longer than the initial 90-day period. Employees on extended Leave Without Pay (LWOP) will not accrue annual or sick leave.

Q: When will my annual leave category change?

A: The amount of annual leave that an employee earns is based on his/her length of service and his/her work schedule. For example, upon appointment greater than 90-days to a full-time position, an employee will earn 4 hours of annual leave each pay period. The number of hours of leave earned is pro-rated for part-time employees on an appointment of more than 90 days. The length of service requirement and corresponding leave categories for full-time employees (both Trust and Federal) are listed below:

Less than 3 years = 4 hour category
3 to 15 years = 6 hour category
15 years or more = 8 hour category

Generally, prior service in another Federal agency is counted towards Federal service, and prior Smithsonian service is counted toward trust fund service. The length of service credited towards an employee's annual leave category is referred to as his/her "Service Computation Date," which is indicated in Block 31 of the Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) for Federal employees and the Personnel Notification Document (SI-650) for trust fund employees. When an employee has reached eligibility for a higher leave category, the action is completed automatically through the Institution's personnel/payroll system. The category change will appear on the employee's Earnings and Leave Statement the pay period following the pay period of eligibility. Questions concerning an employee's service computation date should be directed to the employee's servicing Human Resources Specialist.

Q: How much annual leave (personal/vacation) does a part-time employee earn?

A: An employee with less than 3 years of service earns 1 hour of annual leave for each 20 hours in a pay status. An employee with at least three, but less than 15 years of service earns 1 hour of annual leave for each 13 hours in a pay status. An employee with 15 years or more of service earns 1 hour of annual leave for each 10 hours in a pay status.

Q: How much sick leave does a part-time employee earn?

A: Regardless of length of service, a part-time employee earns 1 hour of sick leave for each 20 hours in a pay status.

Q: Is there maternity/paternity leave?

A: Paid Parental Leave (PPL). Eligible Smithsonian employees may receive a maximum of 12 administrative workweeks of PPL for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child/children. Experiencing a multiple birth, adoption, or placement in one instance (e.g., twins, or adoption/placement of siblings) does not increase the 12-week amount of PPL granted for that event. In addition, in no case will a parent-employee receive more than 12 weeks of PPL in a rolling 12-month period, regardless of whether more than one birth, adoption or foster placement event occurs within that 12-month timeframe. SI employees who are spouses and parents of the same child are each entitled to a separate 12-workweek entitlement. This policy will run concurrently with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides employees the right to take up to 12 workweeks of leave without pay (unpaid leave) in any 12-month period for the birth of a child and care of the newborn, or the adoption of a child, or foster care within 1 year of placement. An employee may elect to substitute annual leave, sick leave (when appropriate), or compensatory time earned for any part of the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave.


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