Student employees frustrated by payroll problems

Many student employees at the College have yet to see a paycheck compensating them for their work. Whether their employers, the computer system used, or the office of Career Services is to blame remains an issue.

Typical procedure for a student acquiring an on-campus job has not changed. However, the rehiring system has.

“This is the first year that departments have used the (computer) program to rehire,” Ariella Alpert, student employment coordinator for the College, said. “Last year, we did it for them, but we provided training, and now they’re on their own.”

Alpert said problems have arisen for campus employers who don’t post their jobs online or fail to update spreadsheets. “For the most part, everything has gone smoothly,” she said.

Alpert maintains that this is a “timing issue.” Once a student has been hired, he or she must sign a contract before any compensation is given. After the contract has been completed, students must acquire timesheets, which are printed every other week.

Employees who delay signing contracts or picking up timesheets cannot expect to be paid until the following time period. “It takes time, but nothing is wrong with the system,” Alpert said.

Student Finance Board Chairperson Craig Gross said, however, that this is not the only complication he has seen. “All I know is that Career Services is or was experiencing technical problems when uploading contracts this semester,” he said. “As a consequence, many students who work in the division of Campus Life for various organizations and offices, have not received timesheets yet.”

“While I don’t know the specifics of the problem, I do know that it is very frustrating for a student to wait an inordinate amount of time to receive pay,” Gross said.

Gross mentioned that several Student Activity Fund employees and those working for other campus offices, such as Campus Activities, are aggravated at not having been paid thus far. “They are slowly but surely receiving their (timesheets) as their information is uploaded to the payroll system by Career Services,” he said.

Alpert, however, denies the charges that the system is flawed. The slight changes in the program, she said, make it more efficient than before.

Mary Jane Wall, assistant director of Payroll, was unfamiliar with any issues. “I haven’t heard anything about people not being paid,” she said, “but we are very concerned with paying employees in a timely fashion.”

She referred all questions to the office of Career Services.

The two offices, which Gross said he thinks have had a lack of cooperation, work in conjunction with each other. Job availability and hiring are conducted through Career Services, while Payroll handles the actual pay checks.

“I have recently sensed a lack of cooperation between the two offices (Payroll and Career Services),” Gross said.

However, Alpert said this is not so. “Our system is very smooth,” she said. “It is an automatic thing (where) three times a week a signed contract is uploaded.”

Having had past experience with the two offices, Gross said he is confident the matter will be resolved. “I consider each office helpful, and though they must work together to resolve this technical issue, my interactions with both offices have been constructive.”

Alpert said as long as a student signs a contract and obtains a timesheet, he or she will be appropriately compensated.

Gross remains optimistic. “I will state my high hope that this issue is resolved in a timely manner,” he said.