eTrac Frequently Asked Questions

eTrac Overview:

Getting Started & Logging In:

Working with eTrac:

Using eTrac:

Troubleshooting Problems:

eTrac Overview

What is eTrac?

eTrac is the USC Online Employee Services System. USC Employees can log on to eTrac and access your personnel, payroll and benefits records.

Who can use eTrac?

All active USC employees, including faculty, staff, and student workers, have full access to eTrac unless you choose to decline access.

If you have terminated your employment or retired from USC recently, you will have limited eTrac access to allow you to gather your pay information until the next IRS tax filing date. That is, if you have terminated your employment today, your full eTrac access will automatically change to limited access until April 15 of the next year. Limited terminated access allows you to gather your W2 information and to update your address.

If you are in the Payroll system but not as an employee or if you are on disability, talk to your Home Department Coordinator about access to eTrac.

What is a "Web Process"?

A "Web Process" is simply a series of related Web pages that carry out a specific task or module, such as viewing your payroll record, updating your personal Information, etc. To "start/exit" or "work within" a Web process or module means operating within the confines of those web pages for that specific task you want to perform. Some processes, especially those that allow you to update your information take you through several web pages and you must continue to the final page where you submit your changes to the system in order to complete the transaction. Any changes you make will be saved until you click on that final "submit" button.

When you "exit" a Web Process, you are canceling and will lose all changes you made within the confines of the web pages for that "Process" and you will return to the eTrac Main Menu.

How secure is eTrac?

All the same security protocols installed to protect your records in our internal systems are in place for eTrac in addition to other measures added for Web transactions. All actions are logged, and you will receive email confirmations for all transactions.

However, data is only as secure as the people who access them. This system contains sensitive information that should not be shared with unauthorized persons. That's why it's extremely important not to give out your PIN information to others, and remember to always log off and close your web browser when you leave eTrac.

For more information on security measures in place for eTrac, see Security Information.

Getting Started & Logging In

What do I need to get started?

First, you need to have a valid email address. All transactions submitted to the system generate a confirmation notice that is sent to the email address you specify when you set up an eTrac PIN. You should have been assigned a USC email address with your USC computer account upon your employment. For more information about your USC computer account, check with ITS.

For computer requirements, you can use the latest web browser on any computer. The browser must be java-enabled and javascript-enabled. For specific AIS recommended computer and browser specifications, see AIS Web Browsers Help.

How do I access eTrac?

All active employees have access to eTrac. All you need to do is set up an initial PIN which serves as your password for logging into the system.
Then log on at

If you are in the Payroll system but not as an employee or if you are on disability, talk to your Home Department Coordinator to request access.

How do I set up a PIN?

  1. Go to the eTrac home page at and click on "Set up a New PIN". A new browser window will open to start up the PIN Setup process.
  2. Acknowledge that you agree to the eTrac usage policies by clicking on the "I Agree" button.
  3. Enter your personal information to authenticate your identity.
  4. Choose a PIN.
  5. Log into into eTrac.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see the eTrac PIN Setup Help.

How do I change my PIN?

There are 2 ways you can change your PIN.

You can change your PIN before you log into eTrac by going through the eTrac PIN Setup to create a new PIN.

However, an easier way is to first log into eTrac and click on the "Change Your PIN" link on the eTrac main menu.

What do I do if I forgot my PIN?

If you forget your PIN, just set up a new one. You can do this at any time as long as the system has not disabled your access.

How do I reset my OTiS password?

The USC Online Timekeeping System, or OTiS, is a completely different and separate system from eTrac. For help with OTiS, contact the OTiS Help Desk at (213) 821-2033, or email at

Working with eTrac

How do I use eTrac?

When you log into eTrac, you will see the eTrac menu page. When you select a menu item, you are starting a specific module or "Web Process". Everything done in each Web process is contained within itself. If you exit out of a Web process without making the final submission, you will lose all your changes and will have to start over. For detailed instructions on how to enter different types of information on the system, refer to the eTrac Data Entry Guidelines.

If you are having a problem finding where you are located within the system menus, click on the "Home Menu" located at the lower left corner of the page to return to the Main Menu. Be aware, however, that when you return to the Main Menu without making a final submission on what you were doing, you are canceling the transaction and you will have to start over.

What happened to my browser's buttons? Where is the [BACK] button?

eTrac loads opens up in a new browser window configured with no browser buttons so you don't hit the [BACK] button accidently. Since using the browser's [Back] and [Forward] buttons do not send a request to the system to refresh data, the information you would see comes from your browser's cache and might be inaccurate. All the navigational tools you need are available via the icon links and action buttons located on every web page.

How can I get help with a specific Web Process?

You can get more information on a particular Web Process by clicking on the "Help" icon on the navigation sidebar located on the left side the page.

How do I know I submitted something correctly?

Every time you successfully submit a transaction on eTrac, it will inform you on the web page and the system will send you a confirmation email message. Save a copy of this message page and the email as proof that you corrected submitted your transaction. If you don't receive a confirmation email, that means you did not complete the process and did not make that final submission to the system.

Why should I always log off and close the browser when I'm done?

Yes. If you just close your browser window, the system never receives the command to log you out. By properly logging off, the brower sends the request to the system to close off your login session and helps to prevent others from accessing your records if you happen to leave your computer while eTrac is still open. And be sure to close your browser after you logout too.

Why doesn't my main menu list all the Web Processes?

Permission settings define what information (and therefore, which Processes that display that information) you are allowed to access. Your menu pages will display only those Processes you may access.

How do I change my email address where eTrac sends email?

All submitted transactions on eTrac generate a confirmation email to you that you can use as proof of your submission.

You initially set your email address for eTrac emails when you set up your PIN.

To change your email address, from the eTrac Main Menu, go to your Work Information and change your email address on "E-mail" line.

Can I stop receiving mass emailings from eTrac?

eTrac periodically sends automated emails to everyone, such as when your next paystub is available on eTrac.

If you do not want to receive eTrac mass mailing, go to your Work Information and select "No" to the "Receive eTrac Mass Email" setting.

Using eTrac

How do I view my pay stubs?

Typically your next pay stub information is available on eTrac several days before the actual Pay Day. eTrac will send out an email telling you when the next Pay Stub is available for viewing on eTrac, unless you have eTrac Mass Email disabled.

To view your Pay Stub, go to the "Payment Stub Inquiry" from the main menu and select the pay period you want to see. The latest Pay Stub will be listed at the top of the list.

eTrac retains your pay stub information for the last few year.
You can retrieve a previous pay stub from "Payment Stub Inquiry" and selecting the pay period that you want to view.

Can I get a copy of an official pay stub?

  1. When you are viewing your Pay Stub information, click on the "Create PDF" button at the bottom of the page.
    The system will generate an electronic version of your official Pay Stub and place it in your Reports area.
  2. To view your electronic pay stub, click on "View Reports" from the left sidebar. You will see a list of all your download files.
  3. Click on the "Report" button of your Pay Stub to retrieve the details of the file which also includes a link to your electronic pay stub.
  4. You can click on the link to open the file, or right-click to download/save the file to your computer.
    And you can print out your own copies of your pay stub.

How can I get printed Direct Deposit (green) advice slips?

When you sign up for Direct Deposit, by default you are set to receive electronic versions of your Pay Stub only. The electronic versions are identical to the printed green Direct Deposit advice slips and you can print them out.

If you prefer to receive printed advice slips, go to your Work Information, and under the "Direct Deposit Advice Slip Disposition" section, select "Home Department". Your printed advice slip will be routed to your Home Department coordinator to distribute on Pay Day.

Note that if you get printed advice slips, electronic versions will still be available on eTrac several days before Pay Day.

How do I change my home information?

From the eTrac main menu, go to your Personal Information. From there, you can update your home address and phone numbers.

How do I update my work information?

From the eTrac main menu, go to your Work Information. From there, you can update your primary work location and phone numbers.

How do I change my USC Directory information?

You can change the information that is listed in the official USC Directory from the eTrac Work Information area.

However, be aware that that the USC Directory resides in a different system. While your changes are saved in our system immediately, updates will not appear on the USC Directory listing until the next periodic update to that system.

How do I change my emergency contacts?

Having updated emergency contact information in the system is important because in the event of an emergency, the university will know who to contact.

Before you can add someone to your emergency contacts list, the person's information must be entered into the system.

  1. First, go to the Personal Associates area to add the person to the system. If the person is already listed in the system, make sure that all the contact information is correct.
  2. Then, go to your Personal Information area. The Emergency Contacts section is listed near the bottom of the page. Add at least one person for your emergency contact.

How do I add dependents to my benefit plans?

Before you can add someone to your benefits plans, the person's information must be entered into the system.

  1. First, go to the Personal Associates area to add the person to the system. If the person is already listed in the system, make sure that all the information is correct.
  2. Then, go to the Benefits Enrollment area and select the Benefits type. In the process of starting or changing your benefits plan, you can add your Personal Associates who are eligible to be included in your plan.

Why do I have to enter my dependents and personal associates into the system?

By first entering your personal associates and dependents into the system, you have a centralized area to keep their information updated. Once their information is in the system, you can add their names to different areas in the system such as in different benefits plans and emergency contacts. Since their information is in the system already, you don't have to re-enter all their information each time you include their name. And if you need to update their information later, such as their phone number, you can do that just once from the Personal Associates area rather than having to remember all the different areas where the person's name appears.

Why do I keep getting these emails telling me to certify my hours?

Part-Time Faculty can use eTrac to certify your hours. If you are getting repeated emails asking you to certify your hours when you have already done so, most likely you are not selecting the correct Contract Year.

Contracts are based on a fiscal year schedule from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the following year. The "Contract Year" is the year when the applicable fiscal year ends. For example, if you have a contract that began in August 2005 and ended in December 2005, this contract falls under the 2005-2006 fiscal year, so you would select "2006" as the Contract Year on eTrac.

When you select the Contract Year, etrac will list all your contracts for that Contract Year. Select a listed contract to certify your hours.

Where can I get more information about my benefits?

You can get a summary of your enrolled Benefits plans from the Benefits Inquiry area on eTrac. For more information regarding your benefits, see the Benefits website.

Where can I get more information about payroll?

For more information about your pay, see the University Payroll site.

How do I sign up for Direct Deposit online?

On the eTrac main menu, click on "Payroll Direct Deposit".
This Direct Deposit enrollment applies to payments issued by Payroll Services only.
To set up direct deposit for Disbursement Control checks, fill out and submit the paper form.

Can I change my tax withholdings?

You can change your Federal and/or State withholding allowances, extra withholding amounts, and marital status using the "Tax Status Update (W4/DE4)" form. This online form serves the same purpose as the actual IRS W4 form and the California DE4 form.

Is there a way to see how different withholdings will affect my pay?

eTrac has a helpful tax calculator called Tax Modeling. Experiment with different deductions amounts and withholding allowances, and Tax Modeling will calculate how much taxes would be taken to affect your net pay. You can use Tax Modeling to simulate a possible pay result before determining how to change your Tax Status or other pre-tax contributions.

Can I see how much vacation and sick time I currently have?

eTrac displays your available vacation and sick time balance at the bottom of the Work Information area. The balance amounts are updated periodically and are current as of the "Effective Date" shown. This information is also displayed on your pay stubs.

However, some departments may choose to use their own leave accrual system and not update the time on our system. For those departments, confer with your department on the amount of vacation and sick time you have available.

Troubleshooting Problems

It says I don't have access. What do I do?

If you previously had access but after a series of unsuccessful attempts to either log in or to authenticate your identity when setting up a PIN, the system automatically disables your access to prevent the possibility of unauthorized access to your payroll information. Contact your Home Department Coordinator to reset your access.

If you are a new employee or if you have returned to active status recently, contact your Home Department Coordinator to check if your eTrac access is enabled.

Why doesn't it show the login box?

Your browser needs to be Java-enabled. If you do not have the Java plugin installed on your browser, you can download it for free from Sun Microsystems.

Why does nothing happens when I click on "Log into eTrac"?

Make sure your browser is enabled for Javascripts and popup windows. eTrac loads onto a new browser window.

Why can't I set up my PIN when I entered all my information correctly?

If you entered your information correctly and the system cannot authenticate your identity, your information in your personnel records might be incorrect or outdated. Contact your Home Department Coordinator to verify your information in the system and to correct it.

What is this error message on the screen?

An error message displayed in red on the process web page means that you entered somethign incorrectly or you missed a required piece of information. To continue, follow any instructions given to you in the red message.

If you see a error message on a blank white background, a system error has occurred. Often times this is a one-time error, such as when you remain logged onto eTrac without any activity for a long period of time, the system will automatically log you out. So when you attempt to do something that has remained on the screen, this timed-out message appears. However, if the problem persists, please make a copy of the entire error message and report the problem to

What is this timed out message I keep getting?

If your login session remains inactive for a certain amount of time, the system will "time out" and automatically log you out. If you later try to navigate through the system, the "timed-out message" will inform you that you need to log back onto the system. This is to prevent prying eyes from viewing your online work if you, for example, happen to be away from your computer. If you will be away from your computer, you should log off the system first.

Why is the data on the page not updated or looks funny?

Most likely, you are navigating the Web process pages with the browser's [Back] and/or [Forward] buttons, which does not send any information to the system. That's why you should always use the navigation buttons and links located on the web pages to move through the system. Try reloading/refreshing the page to load the page again. If that doesn't bring up the correct data, you will have to log off the system and log back in.

Why were my changes not saved?

To save your changes in eTrac, make sure you click on the final "Submit" button to send the information to the system. You can know when you've successfully submitted information when the system gives you a message stating that fact, and you should also receive an email confirmation of your submission.

I am still having problems. How can I get more help?

If you are still having problems, you can contact eTrac Support at:

Please be as specific as possible with the problem you are experiencing so we know how to help you.