University student workers face payroll issues

Anisa Jibrell – Special to the Southern News

As the snow jerks our wheels and blankets students with an abundance of opportunities for productivity and or laziness, some student workers have made it known that exam dates aren’t the only things being pushed back.

Student worker Jyreek Ellerbe, senior theatre major and general manager of WSIN Campus radio station, says he reached out to payroll services in order to make sure that he would be receiving his check via direct deposit on Feb. 6, the scheduled payment date.

Ellerbe says that someone at payroll services informed him that they never received his paperwork, despite him handing it in on time.

“According to them my first paycheck would be for Feb. 20,” said Ellerbe. “I pay my rent within the first week of the month but the twentieth is ‘kinda pushing it. It’s over two weeks.”

Ellerbe says that in addition to his rent, his cable and cellphone bills will also be behind on payment.

“That’s all going to be behind,” said Ellerbe. “And then I’m supposed to go on a trip to Ohio on the twentieth with friends so ‘kinda it sucks.”

With rent and bills overdue and his finances slowly taking a plunge, Ellerbe says he tries not to sweat it.

“There’s nothing I can do,” said Ellerbe. “I just try not to stress it. I have too much to do, so it stays off my mind as long as my landlord doesn’t harass me.”

Dan Lauture, a senior Biology major who works part-time as an office assistant in the Biology department and as a lab attendant on occasion, says he was expecting a check the week of Feb. 6 as well, but when he went to payroll services they were missing paperwork.

“I contacted them and they said they never received my timesheet,” said Lauture.

Lauture says that he has contacted his supervisor to verify if she did in fact, forgot to submit the timesheet, which he suggests is unlikely.

Though the root of delayed payment is still uncertain, in a phone interview, Southern’s payroll coordinator, Giovanni D’Onofrio, stresses that the key to eliminate issues of checks being pushed back is better communication.

“We post a payroll schedule on the web that includes deadlines,” said D’Onofrio, “to kind of give an idea of when forms need to be in to us.”

Before a stipend form reaches its final destination, payroll services, it must be signed by the student, supervisor, the budgeting authority of that department, and by career services.

“I don’t like sending students away without an answer,” said D’Onofrio. “If we automate the process I can search where that paperwork is in the process.”

D’Onofrio says that he’s a huge advocate of automating the payment processes and has been trying to for years.

“There’s a lot of paper that floats around Southern, so not only does it happen to students, it happens with adjunct faculty and full-time faculty where because it’s a paper process, there’s a payment that needs to be paid and it’s just stuck,” said D’Onofrio. “Just getting sent from office to office is a slow process. The paper process is not an efficient process.”

D’Onofrio says that in the event that a student, stipend employee, or adjunct faculty did what he or she was supposed to do and “someone up the chain in the process screwed up or sat on it,” he would request an off-cycle check through the state controller’s office for that employee.

“Our job here is to pay people, it’s not my job to make students struggle and not get paid,” said D’Onofrio. “So if we can pay somebody we do it. I don’t like dealing with students who aren’t getting paid, it’s not a happy situation.”

Although D’Onofrio admits that it’s tough to locate where the issue of a delayed payment may have arisen, it’s important to look at everything on an individual basis.

“You really have to look at the situations individually ‘cause there’s so many hands in the pot,” said D’Onofrio.

“So if you’re looking for someone to blame, it’s a little bit of everybody,” said D’Onofrio. “It could be anybody’s issue.”

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas


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