GCSU Staff Council Minutes February 1, 2001

Staff Council Special Session with Payroll

These minutes submitted by: Erica Freitag on 2/16/01 at 1:56 PM.
Next meeting: Thursday, March 15, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. in 113 Chappell Hall

GCSU Staff Council
Special Session
February 1, 2001
A&S 2-74 at 2:00 p.m.


Delegates present: Cindy Diaz (Chair), Terri Pope, Ann Portwood, Clay Cadwell, Priscilla Hooks, Robert Ethier, Kendall Stiles, Barbara Monnett, and Erica Freitag who recorded the minutes.

Other members present: Quintus Sibley, Ex-Officio

Guests: Bonnie Sims, Director of Human Resources and Sallie Guy, Payroll Supervisor

Cindy Diaz called the Staff Council Special Session to order and distributed a list of questions from staff in regards to today?s subject of bi-weekly timesheets. Before beginning the Question and Answer session, Bonnie asked to make a statement. She wanted everyone to understand that payroll is based on Federal law and/or University System of Georgia requirements. She then read a quote directly from a letter sent out by the Board of Regents stating, ?Deadlines for submitting timesheets and Personnel Action notices to the Payroll office should be developed and enforced. Timesheets submitted after the deadline should be processed in the following pay cycle.? She then stated that the Board of Regents Office and the local banks set payroll deadlines and that GCSU bi-weekly employees have more time than any other institution in the state of Georgia to turn in their timesheets. GCSU?s deadline is to have payroll complete by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before checks are distributed.

The first question was what are other schools doing and when will we be able to file timesheets electronically. Bonnie explained that we are currently using Peoplesoft Version 7.0 and GCSU will be implementing version 7.5 in the near future, perhaps April or May of 2001. Peoplesoft Version 8.0 includes electronic filing of timesheets and she estimated that we could begin this in approximately 18 months. She also warned staff that electronic filing might not be better than timesheets. She stated that it would be a Board of Regents decision to select an electronic filing method. Some electronic filing programs are like time clocks ? you log on and enter the time you reported to work, then you log off when you go to lunch, you log back in again when you return from lunch, and then log off for the day when you go home in the evening, without being able to alter the actual times you enter.

Next, the issue of specially designed faculty timesheets was raised. Erica asked for clarification and Bonnie stated that exceptions for academic year faculty are all listed together on one sheet for each academic department to turn in; however, 12-month faculty do individual sheets. It was noted that the Departmental Secretary then becomes the person responsible for all monthly exceptions reports for the faculty in that specific department and it was stated that this was a large burden. Bonnie stated that the faculty time form was created in the Academic Affairs Division with Deans and Department Heads and Payroll was told the secretaries would do this.

The next question, stating the example of someone bringing in a timesheet on Friday and being told not to turn it in that early, was why couldn?t timesheets be turned in early. Bonnie stated that they could be turned in on Friday. She explained that it takes ?x? number of hours to run payroll after all the data has been entered. Payroll could make the deadline for submitting timesheets earlier if we wished to go that route.

Bonnie was then asked to explain the different pay-ending dates on bi-weekly timesheets. She replied with the detailed explanation. There are three approved pay groups in the University System of Georgia:

B06 Bi-weekly employees
B07 Students
B08 Part-time Bi-weekly employees

GCSU has a pre-existing group of bi-weekly employees, who had been employed here under former President Speir. The Speir employees are paid up through their pay date, meaning if they quit on a Friday and get paid on that same Friday, GCSU would owe them nothing. Newly hired bi-weekly employees are paid one week in arrears when they start, so if they quit on a Friday and get paid on that same Friday, GCSU still owes them one week?s pay. Bonnie said they were told by the Regents to move the Speir employees to the B06 category and withhold one week?s pay. Administration objected to this and President DePaolo went to the Chancellor and she fought for a special exception. It was granted and a fourth pay group was created at GCSU called ?BFX?, with the one condition that when a BFX employee leaves GCSU, their position reverts over to a B06 position. Out of the approximate 100,000 employees in the University System of Georgia, this exception was made for 110 people at GCSU. As of today, we have approximately 66 BFX employees still on payroll. Physical Plant employees are not in the BFX category because they were changed over in 1987 or 1989.

After this explanation, the question as raised as to why the dates on the timesheets are different for the BFX employees than for the B06 employees. It was explained that Peoplesoft doesn?t understand this, so the dates are wrong. BFX employees should change the dates on their timesheets to reflect the same as B06 employees. This also allows for accurate time reporting and does away with the question of liability if we?re reporting we worked on dates that have not occurred yet.

Next Bonnie was asked why employees were required to walk timesheets over to the Payroll office and why they couldn?t be faxed over instead. She stated the auditors require timesheets with original signatures and that faxed copies are not acceptable. Extensive discussion took place regarding specific individual?s problems with walking over timesheets and some suggestions to alleviate the walk altogether such as drop-boxes, a drive-up window, and installing time clocks campus-wide. During this discussion it was asked if someone from Payroll could walk around and pick up timesheets. Bonnie replied no, that would not be possible because they were already short one position.

The question was asked about the possibility of faxing in timesheets Monday morning and then mailing the original that day. Again, Bonnie replied that the auditors would not accept a faxed signature. It was noted that if the timesheets were mailed in on Monday, Payroll would receive the timesheets with original signatures on Tuesday and therefore everything would be covered within 24 hours. Cindy offered to take this suggestion to the State Representatives meeting in late February to see if BOR policy could be reviewed.

Next were some specific questions about recording time on the timesheets. The first was in regard to the amounts in which you could list time worked and time taken off. Time worked must be recorded to the nearest tenth of an hour; however, leave taken must be recorded in half hour increments. Next, Bonnie was asked to explain holiday time. If an employee works one of the paid holidays, you would enter 8 hours Regular Time and 8 hours Holiday Time on the same day and the employee would be paid two times their base pay for that day. However, if an employee were scheduled to be off on the paid holiday (a unique situation on campus) the employee would not be paid for the holiday; however, he/she would receive another day off with pay to compensate for the holiday.

Bonnie was then asked why an employee couldn?t call or email Payroll with a question. She stated because legally Payroll doesn?t know it?s you on the other end of the line of the phone or that someone else didn?t send the email from your account. She said it?s simply a matter of confidentiality and she said an employee should walk over to Payroll. She also stated that if you completed your timesheet and you signed off on your timesheet, you shouldn?t have a question about it later. If an employee has a question about their timesheet, he/she should contact their supervisor first.

Next, someone asked about procedures if you are out sick on the day timesheets are due to Payroll. Bonnie stated that the supervisor/chair could sign off to approve the time worked and your signature line should be left blank. When you return to work you would need to come by Payroll and sign your official timesheet. This prompted the question of what to do if your supervisor/chair is out. Bonnie replied that you would then ask the next person in line, the acting supervisor, to sign in your supervisor?s absence.

Someone asked why monthly paid employees received their paychecks before we left for the holidays, yet bi-weekly employees had to come in on a holiday to pick up their timesheets. Bonnie explained that monthly employees are paid on the last working day of the month and that bi-weekly employees are paid every other Friday. This has been established by the University System of Georgia and cannot be changed. She reminded everyone that employees who have direct deposit wouldn?t have to come in to pick up their check because their pay would already be in their account. Bonnie was then asked why monthly exceptions reports for December weren?t due until January when we returned from the holiday break. She explained that monthly paid employee?s leave is always one month behind and that Payroll wouldn?t have had time to enter it before the holidays.

At this point, some discussion was repeated regarding check availability and paid holiday time. Bonnie reminded everyone that the Payroll calendar is sent out via an email attachment each month and it is also available online at the Human Resources Intranet. It was asked if Payroll could create one calendar for monthly employees and one for bi-weekly employees and Bonnie replied no, that it would be wasteful to print so many copies when the amount of information for monthly employees is quite small each month. She did agree to print separate calendars for the months of December and June when estimated bi-weekly timesheet and real bi-weekly timesheet deadlines are somewhat confusing. One employee stated a problem with opening the calendar because it is sent out as an email attachment and it was suggested that Payroll list the intranet address in the email for people who are leery of opening file attachments based on advice from the technical staff.

Quintus thanked Bonnie for taking time to meet with us and answer our questions this afternoon. He observed that, although we do not always get all of the answers we are looking for, this is the kind of civil dialogue that we need to be engaging in at GCSU.

Meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.

The next regular Staff Council Meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. in 113 Chappell Hall.

Respectfully submitted,
Erica Freitag
Staff Council Secretary

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