Chapter 02: General Instructions for Accessing the Employer Reporting System (ERSNet)
Obtain an Application Form
To receive access to the RRB Employer Reporting System (ERS) web site, an employee of a covered employer must complete Form BA-12, Application for Employer Reporting System. The BA-12 application form is available in the Exhibits to these instructions
To access the BA-12 on-line:
This brings up the Exhibits section of all forms.
Complete Form BA-12
Complete the employee section of the form, read the Access and Security Guidelines in Chapter 8, and sign the certification. Have your supervisor or manager assign the access level and sign that portion of the form. An explanation of access levels is below.
Certify Form BA-12
The form must be signed by an official of the company who has signature authority to sign RRB forms. Signatures of two individuals are not required if the applicant has authority to sign RRB forms. In that case, the applicant must still sign in both Section B as applicant and in Section D as authorizer. The head of the company and those persons designated on Form G-117a, "Designation of Contact Official" are assumed to have signature authority. A contact official may assign signature authority to a designee. The RRB will investigate with the contact official any signatures other than those of the contact official or company head.
Mail Form BA-12
Form BA-12 cannot be completed or filed on the web site. To deter fraudulent use of the site, the application must include written signatures and be transmitted using the US Postal Service. The applicant must certify in writing that he or she will follow the RRB's security guidelines. The guidelines are contained in Chapter 8 of this part.
Explanation of Access Levels
Access is to Specific Forms
When the RRB was developing requirements for the Internet system, some employers required that the work of a department remain private within that department. As a result, we developed a "roles-based access" which provides access on an individual form basis. An employee's access is expected to be specific to their role, or work, at their company. If a form is used only by one department, access can be limited to employees in that department.
Two-Step Update and Approval Process
When developing requirements, some employers required that a manager review and certify service and compensation reports completed by their staff. Others indicated that the person authorized to complete the report was also authorized to certify and file the report without additional review. No employer required a review of forms other than BA-3 and BA-4 as these are the only forms which change the RRB record of an employee's service and compensation.
The RRB access system was designed to account for all of these differences. A separate update function was developed for Form BA-4. If you wish to use a second person as a reviewer, assign update access to the staff person who prepares the BA-4's and assign approve access to the staff person who reviews and certifies BA-4's to the RRB. If you do not wish to use a second person as a reviewer, do not assign update access. Rather assign approve access to the staff person who prepares and certifies the BA-4's…
Update access is used only with forms that change the RRB's record of service and compensation, as explained above. Update access allows a person to complete or update a Form BA-4, but not to submit the form to the RRB. The form is updated to the system where it will await approval. The form appears in the “outstanding items” list with a status of “awaiting approval.” Only a person with approve access can submit or certify the form to the RRB. While the form is pending approval, it can be modified by the original updater. Once the form has been approved, it is no longer available on the system and no further changes are possible.
Only one person with approve access can certify and submit forms to the RRB. For most forms, the person with approve access will also be the person who completes the form. In the case of a BA-4, the person with approve access may be approving a form completed by an updater, as explained above, or may prepare and certify their own BA-4's. A person with approve access can delete a form created by an updater. A person with approve access can also modify a form created by an updater; however, the form must be updated again before it is approved. This is a security measure so that all the updates can be recorded for the appropriate person.
Read-only access is to any summary reports in connection with the form as well as to the New items list in connection with the form. Although the new items list is displayed, no items on the list can be accessed. Read access to a form also provides access to a summary report. This access is envisioned for auditors or reviewers who will not be completing RRB forms but may need information about the work.
Where to Get Help
Who to Contact
General Help & To Trace Form BA-12
Quality Reporting Service Center
Employers may also send an email with their questions, problems, and general inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within five days of receipt of an acceptable application, the RRB will mail your user ID and password. To access the sites, type the URL https://secure.rrb.gov/ERSNet/login.aspx. This brings up a logon screen. Enter your user ID and password. The first time you log on, you will be prompted to change your password.
This site will respond correctly only for users who access the site using at least Internet Explorer 4.0, Netscape 6.0, or compatible browsers.
Rules for Setting Your Password
To prevent unauthorized users from attempting to guess your password, the RRB has adopted the standards listed below for setting passwords. Passwords must be at least 8 and no more than 16 characters in length and include AT LEAST ONE each of the following:
- a number,
- an alpha character- lower case,
- an alpha character- upper case, and
- a special character (%$#~@*?).
Passwords must be at least 8 characters and up to 16 characters in length. The ERS site does not use a password hint system.
Forget Your Password?
If you forget your password, telephone the RRB password administrator at (312) 751-4992 and provide the requested information. For security purposes, you will not be provided a new password at the time of your initial call. The password administrator will telephone the number on record or will mail or e-mail the new password to the address on record.
No one at the RRB can see your password so we cannot help you remember your password. All passwords are encrypted. No one at the RRB can access the encryption program to break the codes. The encryption program was developed by an outside contractor who secures and retains the program code.
Everyone has the same bar menu across the top of the screen which contains two items, ‘Logout' and ‘Email.' The E-mail option allows you to easily send emails related to this site to the Web comments mailbox.
With the exception of ‘Edit My Account,' the main menu down the left side of the screen contains items specific to your access. If you have only view access, your menu will consist only of the ‘New Items” and any reports related to forms to which you have access. If you have update or approve access, your menu will consist of all the forms to which you have access. There is also a utility option which is used to upload files to RRB.
To select a menu item, click on it.
How to Type Data in the Entry Fields
Characters: Except for your password, no alpha character that you enter is case sensitive. You can type in all upper case, all lower case, or a combination of both.
Money fields: All compensation fields must include a decimal and two cents positions. No commas or dollar signs are permitted.
SSN: The social security number is entered without dashes.
Pre-filled fields: Some pre-filled information can be changed by typing over the data. You cannot, however, correct a name or SSN on a request form by typing over the name or SSN with corrected information. If a correction is needed, telephone or e-mail:
Quality Reporting Service Center
Railroad Retirement Board
844 North Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-1275
Modify Your Account
If your name, phone, or e-mail addresses change, you can update those items by going to the Modify My Account screen. This is also the screen where you change your password. This screen will show your last successful login, your last failed login, and the number of failed login attempts. If this information appears to be incorrect, please telephone QRSC immediately. Your access may have been compromised.
Status & Remarks Field
The status and remarks field on the grand total screen will assist a user with records that have been completed or require additional action. The following is a list of Status icon(s) and their meaning:
Masked & Hyperlinked SSN's
In accordance with agency privacy laws all employee social security numbers have been masked on some screens within the ERS.Net system. For example, a SSN that would have been previously displayed as 123 45 6789 will now display as *** ** 6789 on screens that list employee SSN's. Any screens with individual employee information will display all individual employee information including the full social security number.
To access an individual employee record, users must click the SSN hyperlink field on the grand total screen.
Users have the ability to sort information in a number of ways within the ERS.Net system. To identify the sort feature users should look for the up and down icons in the following fields:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Last Name
- Payroll Identification (ID) (Not Applicable for BA-11)
The default sort will be based on the last four digits of the social security number unless otherwise indicated by the user. Any sort preference established during a session by the user will NOT be permanent for future session. Users also have the ability to sort the SSN only based on the following options:
- Full Social Security Number (SSN)
- Last 4 digits of SSN
To change these feature users should click the radio buttons directly above the SSN field to change the sort feature accordingly.
All employers who submit a Form BA-3, Annual Report of Compensation or Form BA-11, Report of Gross Earnings using the ERS.Net System will receive a certificate of Completion upon successful submission of the report(s) to the Railroad Retirement Board. The form is pre-filled based on information uploaded or data entered by an approved user of the ERS.Net system. This form is the employer's receipt of confirmation and certification that the data furnished is correct. This form should be printed and filed in accordance with all other reports of creditable compensation. If an error or omission is identified after submission of the annual report, prepare Form BA-4, Adjustment of Creditable Compensation to make the correction.
The Railroad Retirement Board does allow employers to submit annual reports for multiple employers to the agency using one of the other magnetic media format (i.e. file transfer protocol (FTP), CD-Rom). For example, a parent railroad may file an annual report which includes subsidiary railroads. Unfortunately, with the ERSNet system employers will NOT be allowed to upload service and compensation information for multiple employers in a single consolidated report. Any annual report with parent-subsidiary relationship consolidated on one magnetic media format cannot be uploaded to the ERS system. The parent-subsidiary report would have to be split into individual employer reports and uploaded separately to the system under the specific employer BA number. For more information or additional assistance please contact the Quality Reporting Service Center (312) 751-4992.
System Edits of Your Data
When you enter data in a field and press the Tab key, the screen will display the data. When you press the Save & Return key, the screen will edit all data fields on the screen. An error message will be received if any data field is not correct. When you close the error message, the cursor will be at the field that requires correction. A list of the edits for forms BA-3 and BA-11 can be found in Appendix V of this chapter.
To log out, click the logout menu item. Wait for the message that you have been logged out and then close your browser. For security purposes and to delete any session cookies, it is necessary to close your browser.