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Retirement Planning Tip

August 2016 - Can I schedule an appointment with a Retirement System consultant?

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Work-Life Services Brochure

Work–Life Services (WLS) are five negotiated benefits programs for Executive Branch employees resulting from a collaboration between NYS and the public employee unions. These programs are designed to increase employee productivity and morale by improving the quality of work and life for employees and include: Employee Assistance Program, Worksite Child Care Centers, Flex Spending Account, NYS–Ride, and Pre–Retirement Planning.

To view or print the Work-Life Services Brochure click here.

EAP: Changing Conflict into Solutions

Conflict is a naturally-occurring consequence of social interaction and interpersonal communication. Since we spend so much time with our coworkers, it’s inevitable that conflict will occur in the workplace. Many of us avoid conflict because we fear that it will result in hurt feelings, damaged relationships, or other negative outcomes. However, conflict simply signals a need for change in perception, behavior, positions, or interests. If we are willing to address conflict with a genuine desire to resolve the issue, we can take the energy that is generated during conflict and use it to create change. Perhaps a workplace relationship can be preserved, and maybe even improved. Before you address the problem, ask yourself these questions.

What is the real issue?

  • Did someone cause me to feel offended, embarrassed, fearful, annoyed, etc.?
  • Did I suffer a loss because of this conflict? (e.g., personal injury, property damage, my reputation, a friend, a promotion)

What do I want to say?

  • Is the other person aware of my point of view?
  • Do I feel as though I must justify my comment, decision, or behavior?

How am I going to say it?

  • Am I making eye contact and speaking in a tone of voice that encourages a constructive response?
  • Have I asked clarifying questions to understand the other person’s point of view?

When should I say it?

  • Have I collected my thoughts before I begin speaking?
  • Is there time pressure to resolve the matter?
  • Have I allowed adequate time to broach the subject and see it through?

What do I want to accomplish?

  • Have I allowed the other person to speak uninterrupted, so that I can truly understand their point of view?
  • Have I acknowledged that their perception is legitimate, even if it differs from mine?
  • What actions am I willing to take in order to make a resolution work?

What if the discussion doesn’t produce a solution?

  • Is there a neutral third-party who might be able to assist in brainstorming solutions?
  • Can I reconcile with the situation as it is?
  • Can I demonstrate peaceful coexistence by agreeing to disagree?

For additional information or assessment and referral services, contact your NYS agency EAP coordinator Coordinator List.

New York's 529 College Savings Program

Whether you're a parent, grandparent, or someone with a special child in your life, New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan can make saving for your child's future easier.

Flexible use of savings

  • Save for a child, grandchild, friend, or even yourself
  • Use at an eligible 2 or 4-year college, vocational/technical school, or graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad
  • Use for tuition, certain room-and-board expenses, books, supplies, etc. Tax benefits
  • Earnings grow federally tax deferred
  • Qualified withdrawals are federally tax-free
  • You can contribute up to $70,000 in a single year ($140,000 for a married couple filing jointly) for each beneficiary without incurring federal gift tax as long as you don't make any other gifts to that child for five years.

Additional tax benefits for New York taxpayers

  • New York taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a married couple filing jointly) in contributions to the Direct Plan on their state income tax return each year.

Easy to get started

  • Open an account with just $25 ($15 if contributing through payroll deduction)

For more information

Employee Contribution for PEF Represented Employees

As a result of the ratification of the one year contract, PEF represented employees who are currently enrolled in the Dependent Care Advantage Account will have the Employer Contribution automatically applied to their account for the 2016 plan year.

PEF represented employees who enroll in the Dependent Care Advantage Account with an eligible Change In Status (CIS) event will now be eligible for the Employer Contribution for the remainder of the 2016 plan year.

Click here to read the letter to PEF enrollees


NYS-Ride allows eligible state employees to pay up to $255 per month for certain work-related transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis. More than 8,000 participants who use public transportation to get to work currently enjoy the saving this program provides, while contributing to a greener environment by reducing carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on foreign oil.

The NYS-Ride website provides employees with quick and easy access to all the information they would need to learn about the program, calculate their savings and impact on the environment, enroll in NYS-Ride, make changes to their elections, or view their accounts. Please visit the website at

WellNYS Everyday

The NYS Work-Life Services Employee Assistance Program recently launched a wellness initiative called WellNYS Everyday. The initiative is dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering New York State employees and their families by encouraging participation in healthy behaviors, particularly the Monthly Challenges.

Retirement Planning Resources Workshops

The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate executive branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.

If you would like to schedule this one-hour training, you may contact Beth Brumaghim, Seminar Program Manager, at or 518.473.4018.

2016 Flex Spending Account Changes in Status and New Employees

The FSA 2016 open enrollment period ended on November 24, 2015. Employees who experience a valid change in status on or after November 25, 2015 or during the 2016 plan year, may be eligible to enroll by submitting a Change in Status application. Visit to review the 2016 Change in Status information to determine if your situation qualifies you to enroll during the plan year.

Welcome to the Family Packet

Work-Life Services introduces the "Welcome to the Family Packet". Parenting is an exciting and challenging experience. Today's parents often face unique circumstances balancing their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee parent, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The "Welcome to the Family Packet" will outline these benefits programs as well as provide educational child care and parenting brochures. We invite you to request a "Welcome to the Family Packet" if you are expecting or recently added to your family through the birth or adoption of a child. Email your request along with your name and home address to:

"Parenthood, it's not a job. It's an adventure" – author unknown

Retirement Planning Videos

Monitor displaying YouTube video

A series of short videos — the Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide — highlighting key information from the popular DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars is now available. Designed for executive branch employees, the 23 videos were created in partnership with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration. Employees can view the videos along with other pre-retirement planning information on this Work-Life Services website and also on YouTube at

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