With over 180,000 employees, the University of California is undergoing a big change in its payroll system come February 2013. Non-exempt employees will be paid through a bi-weekly payment cycle. If an employee is salaried and not overtime eligible, he or she is considered exempt and will remain on a monthly paycheck.
Launched by the University of California Payroll, Academic Personnel, Timekeeping and Human Resources (UC Path), the project will streamline administrative processes to increase overall efficiency. UC Path will, with its main headquarters in the city of Riverside, begin its new operations in July 2013.
All 10 UC campuses currently have four types of payroll schedules: monthly, bi-weekly, monthly in arrears and weekly in arrears. The UC system is now switching to just two major payroll methods: a bi-weekly and monthly payroll system. If an employee is overtime eligible and is paid by the hour, they are considered “non-exempt” and will therefore be switched to the new bi-weekly pay system.
Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Business Operations Charles Rowley said, “I think that in many cases, employees will be happier with bi-weekly pay because they get their money quicker and if they are working overtime they get that money quicker.” Non-exempt employees will now receive a total of 26 paychecks per year, in the distribution of two paychecks for 10 months and three paychecks for two months, due to irregular payment cycles.
A single, consistent UC payroll is an efficient alternative, in which Rowley claimed, “You [then] have to have more people who can answer questions, who can provide support, who can interpret policies, and who can interpret and solve problems.” Productivity will also increase because employees will now switch from writing on timecards to inputting their times electronically. Also, vacation and sick leave will be accrued every four weeks rather than once a month.
Rowley stated that the biggest challenge will be the switch to bi-weekly payrolls. During the transition, non-exempt employees will have to go through about a two-week delay to accompany the synchronization of the prior payment system. Therefore, non-exempt employees will face a prolonged pay period, but it will not affect their overall earned income. The bi-weekly pay cycle will run from Sunday to the Saturday at the end of every two weeks. This transition period leaves many employees with the opportunity to reanalyze their personal budget situation in terms of automatic bill payments and basic living expenses.
“I think it was long overdue it’s really hard getting paid on the first of the month because by the middle of the month after you pay your bills, you’re out of money. I remember every month I would be out of money by the second or third week of that month,” stated third-year student Isabelle Diep, who works at the Raymond L. Orbach science library. “This would be a lot better because you can structure out how much you’re spending and everything. I’m very happy about about it,” she said.
UCR will also provide a financial cushion for campus-affiliated employees who are in need of assistance during the payroll shift. Through the transition assistance programs, employees can take a no-interest loan for up to a $1,000 that can be repaid in six months. Also, employees can cash out up to 80 hours of vacation time.
Among efforts to bring about efficiency within the UC payroll system, Rowley said, “My hope and expectation is that this will be the last and only change that directly impacts an employee’s paycheck.”
Employees can visit ucpath.ucr.edu/biweekly for more information. The site includes a bi-weekly payroll calendar for 2013 and employees can confirm whether they are exempt or non-exempt.