Welcome to the Employer Help Center

Contribution Center Template FAQs

Why are hours and compensation needed on a per pay period basis?

The compensation and hours information is important for recordkeeping purposes for vesting, distributions, compliance testing and determining eligibility.

  • Current Hours:
    Current hours should include all the hours the employee was actually paid for during that particular pay period (overtime, holidays, vacation, sick, etc.).

  • Current Salary:
    If there are no exclusions, current salary should include all payments (overtime, holidays, vacation, sick, etc.) during that particular pay period (not annual) for active employees.

Where should I put excluded compensation if included in my plan document? (if applicable)

All excluded compensation (i.e. overtime, bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, etc.) should be put in the applicable column on your template. The total should include a combination of all compensation your plan excludes. Gross compensation should be a total of all eligible compensation plus all excluded compensation.

What are Fringe Benefits? (if applicable)

Fringe benefits are a type of compensation. This may include anything from car expenses, moving or travel expenses to clothing expenses.  Every company will define what they consider “Fringe Benefits”.

Why is Year-to-Date (YTD) data needed?

YTD information is important for recordkeeping purposes for vesting, distributions and compliance testing. This can be submitted through the same contribution template with all payroll data from the beginning of the year up to the first payroll to be processed through Sentinel (i.e. contributions, hours, compensation).

How will I know if an employee makes an election change?

A web notification email will be sent regarding any election changes made by participants. If an employee makes an online change, you will need to input it into your payroll system. Although they can make this change request using our website, this will not update your payroll. This is a reporting /notification device only.

Who is my main contact after the initial set-up?

Once the transition process is complete, your main contact will be your Plan Consultant. The Plan Consultant will send you contact information once the set-up at Sentinel is complete.

What if I want to add someone from my office to do payroll/access the website?

During the transition/set-up period, you can request a Plan Authorization Form from your Conversion Project Manager. Going forward, please contact your Plan Consultant for this form.

What if I have employees with different pay frequencies?

If you have employees who have different pay frequencies than the frequency you are submitting to Sentinel, please leave the “Actual Pay Frequency” code consistent with the rest of the employees.

When will my file be processed once submitted?

Once you are trained on how to upload your file through our contribution center, files submitted before noon will be processed that same day. If your file is submitted in the afternoon, it will be processed the following day.

Do I need to keep all the columns if am not using them?

Yes, the system is set up to look for the file in a certain format. If you are not using a column, please leave it blank.

Can I change some of the columns around?

No, the system is looking is looking for a specific format. If the columns are changed, the wrong information could get populated into a wrong field.

Can I change the formatting of the dates or amounts?

No, the formatting is also specific to the template. For example, the date needs to be 05/05/2013, not 05-05-2013, or an amount needs to be 5200.00, not 5,200.00 or $5,200.00.

Can I change the order in which the employees appear?

Yes, you may sort the file however you wish.

Why do I need to include all employees rather than just those that are participating?

The information will be needed if an employee decides to participate during the course of the year. We also need all employee data to verify eligibility. Finally, all employee data is needed for year end compliance testing purposes.

How often do I need to update the template?

You will need to update the file for each pay period. If the employees are salary, there may not be much to update. Any employee address changes or termination dates should also be updated on the template.