New pay schedule is complicated but fair

By Betsy

In Professor Richard Horberg’s letter to the editor on Tuesday, “October days without pay are unjust,” he cites several incorrect statements and assumptions. Administration, in its effort to eliminate the regular current semi-monthly payroll and convert all employees to the existing biweekly delayed payroll, has received input from various University committees that affect all University employees.
First of all, Professor Horberg, you have not been paid on a bimonthly payroll since that is once every two months. Your present pay system is a semi-monthly payroll.
Second, administration has provided information to all University staff members beginning in February 1996. Information sessions for employees were available at scheduled locations beginning April 15 to June 15, 1996. Additional information sessions were held later for employees unable to attend the initial sessions. A payroll hotline is available to answer employee questions on the conversion to the biweekly delayed payroll.
Third, the statement that the change bill will, “save money and reduce workloads because every employee will get paid at the same time,” is accurate and cost effective. The University of Minnesota has a variety of classifications, pay plans and terms of employment. The University’s current payroll system is composed of the regular semi-monthly payroll and the biweekly delayed payroll. Preparation of both payrolls is redundant and costly. Because of the high volume of students, hourly employees, union contracts and lump sum payments, etc., it is logical for administration to choose the biweekly delayed payroll system and eliminate the regular semi-monthly payroll. By eliminating the regular semi-monthly payroll the University will save dollars in preparation time that will be seen in Payroll Services, University departments and Human Resources. The regular semimonthly payroll does not serve the overall complex needs of the University.
Fourth, your statement, “Since the fall quarter pay period begins on Sept. 15,” is incorrect. The start date of a “B” term (nine-month) appointment is Sept. 16, and yet the first day of class commences the fourth Thursday of September. To receive a payroll check on Sept. 30 is indeed a nice convenience.
The purpose of a biweekly delayed payroll is to adequately pay hourly appointments. It is very rare to find a current biweekly payroll. The state of Minnesota has a delayed biweekly payroll and has found this system supports paying supplemental wages, retroactive salary increases, automated vacation and sick leave accrual, and provides one payroll system for the entire state of Minnesota.
The interest-free loan offered to employees allows financial assistance to all employees during the transition period. Yes, the loan is repaid to the University, however an employee has a choice of a one-to-three year payback plan. I personally feel this is quite generous.
Why do you assume employees who are interested in or in favor of changing to a biweekly delayed payroll have a close relationship with administration? I do not have a direct relationship with the administration. My preference to convert to the biweekly delayed payroll is based on the facts presented and what will better serve all University employees and not just the faculty. The voluntary change to the biweekly delayed payroll has required me to make minor adjustments in my monthly budgeting. This is a small change compared to the bigger picture in helping make the University of Minnesota become cost effective and efficient. In the long term, salary increases and retroactive salary payments will be processed faster and with better accuracy. Overload, overtime, lump sum payments, etc., will be paid on the same payroll eliminating the supplemental tax of 28 percent federal and 7 percent state.
I suggest you speak to someone who is familiar with the University’s present payroll system to better understand its complexities.
Leverty is a senior accountant in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture