Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Online Backpay Calculator for NYC Teachers

UPDATE 9/26/2015!!

I strongly suggest you read the full directions at the very bottom of this blog. They walk you through logging onto payroll portal to get precise figures on what you actually earned. This, however, is so simple to use you can still follow the steps and use some best guesses.

1. What did you earn between Nov. 1, 2009 and today? Enter it in the top space of the calculator.
2. What did you earn between Nov. 1, 2010 and today? Enter that in the bottom space of the calculator.
3. Click "Send"
4. See that number that came up? Multiply it by .125 (12 and a half percent) and that's what you'll get before taxes on 10/15/15.

You should comment now and say thanks. It's only polite.

Oh, btw....
This has been in testing for over a year now. It's accurate. Any inaccuracies are attributable solely to:
1.  Your own inaccurate figure for what you actually made (I told you to follow the instructions below). 
2. Something having to do with the formula that Unity leadership agreed upon but hasn't shared. 

Here's the original post from 2/14/2014)

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Online calculators are about as reliable as the weather forecast. They make certain assumptions that may or may not come to pass. This online calculator is no different. I made the following assumptions as I put it together:

  • It assumes that we will agree to a 4% and 4% raise for 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.
  • It fairly assumes we will be paid for those raises retroactive to the expiration of the last contract
  • It assumes that the .58% reduction discussed in this blog post will not come from this amount. 
  • It assumes that we will not be receiving retroactive pay for the contract years of '11-'12, '12-'13, and '13-present. (It assumes zero retroactive pay for that period).
  • It does not include any after school. or per session activities that you may have worked during this time (all money that came from a separate check is NOT included in this calculator) 
  • But it does assume that the per session amount will follow lockstep with the base salary amount (that's a fancy way of saying any coverages, etc. that you did and showed up in your regular check would be part of the 4% and 4% raise. It probably won't happen exactly that way, but it will probably happen somewhere close to it. Close enough to estimate anyway). 
  • It assumes the first 4% becomes effectives on 11/1/2009
  • It assumes the second 4% raise becomes effective on 11/1/2010
So here's your disclaimer: None or all of these assumptions may come to pass. This calculator is only based on the assumptions listed above.

The Math

The way I have calculated the two 4% raises is fairly straight forward. I calculate that on November 1, 2009, you should have received a raise of 4%. That means that between that date and today, your pay should have been augmented by 4%. On (or about) November 1, 2010, I calculate that you should have received another raise of 4%. That means that between that day and today, your pay should have been augmented by 8%. Since it wasn't, the amount of money that is owed to you is what I'm calling backpay or retroactive pay. The calculator will perform the following functions:

  • (Your total salary from 11/1/2009 to today) * 4% plus
  • (Your total salary from 11/1/2010 to today) * 4.16% (compounded)*
Adding these two numbers, which is what the Backpay Calculator does, reflects what you are owed from the '09-'11 contract period.

Therefore, the amount you enter in the first field will be multiplied by .04. The amount that you enter in the second field will be multiplied by .0416. Once you hit enter you'll see the sum of both of those products.*

What you need to get started

 All you need in order to use this with some accuracy is:
  1. Your Annual Gross Earnings from the periods of 11/1/2009 and today 
  2. Your Annual Gross Earnings and 11/1/2010 and today.  
It would be better if you use accurate numbers. Try to avoid using your W2s from those years. That will give you inflated numbers. Instead, use the NYCDOE's Payroll Portal. The Payroll Portal has a tool called the 'Total Earning/Deductions" tool. Use the screenshots below if you need help finding and using this tool from the Portal (and click here to go to the payroll portal).

My beliefs

I do not believe that this is the backpay I or you and I will receive. It is only my belief that this is the amount of money that is owed to us.

It is also my belief that individual teachers should have some understanding of exactly what is owed to them from this failure to settle four years' worth of teacher contracts. For me, a well-informed membership, even with something like this, is much more preferable than an ill-informed membership. My belief is to get as much information out to as many members as possible.


I would like this to be as accurate as possible under the circumstances. If you think any part of the assumptions or the math that went into the calculator is wrong, feel free to let me know. It won't be hard for me to make changes to this calculator. Also, if you would like create a version based on your own assumptions, feel free to reach out to me. I don't at all mind helping you calculate retro based on your own assumptions or math skills.

UPDATE* Many thanks to  from Twitter, who pointed out that the second raise would equate to a compounded 8.16% instead of the 8% I had originally figured.
UPDATE* Thanks the commenter below for pointing out an earlier mistake. To say I'm no math guy is usually a blessing

(2/21/14) : Appreciating link backs and differing perspectives on the word optimists, this calculator is anything but optimistic. It takes only the first two years of raises we did are owed but did not receive into consideration and ignores the last three years of raises that are owed to us. It also ignores a full four years worth of per session raises for after school activities (which will come to us in a separate retro check). If anything, the numbers you come up with probably represent the least likely amount you are owed. My advice? Be angry if you don't get it.

We hear a lot in the newspapers and on TV about how much settling our contract, including our full retroactive pay, will cost the government of the City of New York. The newspapers all say that the '$3.2 billion' that is 'on the line' will cost the government way too much.

It is interesting to note that as we're hearing this, we are not hearing how much this potential backpay can bring us as individuals. The sad irony here is that as the whole city talks about backpay for teachers, we ourselves are fairly in the dark as to how much is on the line for us.

I'd like to to see that change. That's why I asked a few bloggers and union activists to help me create this online backpay calculator. It's intended to help you get a grasp of how much is on the line for you from any future contract agreement.


  1. Shouldn't the 4% be of the salary from 11/01/2009 - 10/31/2010 rather than from today? I think you are double counting the period from 11/01/2009. Another way to do it would be to multiple the second value by .0416 instead of .0816. It doesn't make sense that we are getting more out of the second raise than from the first raise because the second raise covers less time.

  2. Ahh!! Thanks. The math guys I worked with did seem a little busy. I'll check with them soon.

  3. I added your calculator to my "pot of gold" post.

    If we are compounding then we are not double counting since we need to compound the extra 4% for the first year, (example 1,000 base for 2009 becomes1,040 for the 2010 calculation).

    1. Great point. I checkwd with two non teacher math folks and they think that that is covered by multiplying the gross earnings by 4.16%. Thoughts?

  4. •It assumes that we will not be receiving retroactive pay for the contract years of '11-'12, '12-'13, and '13-present. (It assumes zero retroactive pay for that period).

    Why on earth wouldn't the retro be on the salary scale for 2011- present? That makes absolutely no sense. Our salary schedule for 2011-12, 2012-2013 and 2013-14 would then be reverting to the 2008-09 salary schedule. That's not pattern bargaining. DC 37 had the 4%+4% added for good and to keep with the pattern, so would the UFT. The city owes us this money for all of these years. We earned it! The figures you are providing are way too low.

  5. Chaz, thanks so much. Im still coming to terms with compounding interest amd wouldn likw to get this right. James, of course it assumes that the eight percent stays with us through today. It just does not assume that we will be actually getting raises that will show up in a retro check for the years following 2011. Perhaps I had a problem explaining the math. This only lays claim to the 4&4.

  6. I can do simple math. Here is how I did it on the ICEUFT Blog back on September 25th. I checked my numbers with a math teacher.

    Top salary for city teachers is currently $100,049 (way under what teachers in most suburban districts around here earn).

    x 1.04 (4%)

    The increase for 2009-2010 is $4001.96.

    Now for year two:
    x 1.04 (4%)

    The increase for 2010-2011 is $8,163.99 over what we have now.

    Then, the retroactive increase for 2011-2012 is another $8,163.99.

    For 2012-13 add another $8,163,99.

    Now add up all of the retroactive money and even if there is a contract right away, the city owes teachers on maximum a staggering $28,493.39. If this lingers into 2014, as it almost definitely will, the retroactive price-tag goes to over $30,000 for senior teachers.

    1. Yeah that's in line with the formula used here.

      As Zach Korzyk pointed out, the original 4% is added each of the four + years and the second four percent is aded to that for the final sum.

      I just tried similar numbers that you cited using the method used for the calc and it came out with a similar figure. Sounds like we're in *mathematical* agreement. I should get the compounding interest right for the sake of being more accurate, but I think it may be correct as is.

      Thanks, BTW to Francesco, you, Norm Scott, and Mike S from MORE this week for all the help putting this thing together. I don't think Tueaday morning's snow event would have gone as quickly for me if I didn't have this little project to work on.

    2. This is without interest. It is merely 4% for 2009-2010 + 4% for 2010-11 added to the pay scale. As you say, it's 4% for year one and then over 8% in the second year and then the new higher salary is added on for every year after that.

    3. Also, I misunderstood how to put the numbers in. I didn't add in everything and just put in my salary. One has to add up their gross for every year to get this right. For someone in the middle or the bottom, this is a complicated task as we get w2s for the calendar year but our contract is based basically on the school year.

    4. Entering 100 in the first box brings you a result of 4.00 (4%) Entering 100 in the bottom box brings you a result of 4.16 (4.16%).
      W2s are not accurate as they will include per session which comes from another bank. Logging on to the payroll portal and following the directions I provide in the screenshot will give you your actual earnings for any time frame you want.

    5. I calculated received same calculations by calculating 2009-2010 X 4%, same for 2010-2011, for 2011-2012 0% increase, salary remain at 2010-2011. What is the 1% for 2012-2013 and 1% 2014? I prepared an excel graph and it is depressing and then to wait to receive any monies until 2015 and it will be in a bi-monthly paychecks. We will hardly see any money after taxes.

  7. James, John found a way to get those numbers from the payroll portal. Very easy.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. So where is uft getting 54k from? Are they adding in from now to 2020? That would yield more than 54k, so I don't get it.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Thank you. I will let you know how close you came when I get my first check of this retro raise on October 15th.

  12. Of course the taxes are going to kill us. Why can't they give it to us in a separate check?

  13. According to the UFT:

    Examples of lump-sum payments by 2020:
    1st-year teacher in September 2013, MA: $13,000
    2nd-year teacher in November 2009, MA: $31,000
    7th-year teacher in November 2009, MA + 30: $41,000
    Maximum in November 2009, MA + 30: $54,000

    1. Right. Those are by 2020. The total amount as of today or yesterDay or last month is far lower.

  14. Thank yoh I looked everwhere for something to explain what I should get qnd your blog really helped.

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