Wednesday, April 1

Submission: UCPath payroll system ineffective, a bureaucratic disaster

UCPath handling UCLA’s payroll? Say hello to a world of nuisances.

The University of California Payroll, Academic Personnel, Timekeeping and Human Resources project, a central payroll management system for the UC campuses, was launched by Associated Students UCLA at the beginning of this year and implemented in September. The new system is meant to streamline and standardize the employee payroll process.

But it was a terrible idea for the most part. The change involved taking the payroll system from individual UC campuses and consolidating all payroll into just two locations: UC Merced for Northern California and UC Riverside for Southern California – a recipe for nightmare.

The new system restricts our local payroll departments from viewing or adding in our payroll information, thereby rendering them unable to answer any questions or to resolve our concerns. All they can do is offer a phone number for UCPath that keeps you on hold for about 15 minutes.

So we may ask, “Why doesn’t UCLA just cut me a check that I can walk over and pick up?” And the answer is the same: UCLA has lost the ability to write a check for an employee who may be in need of his hard-earned money in order to make payments, buy groceries or even put gas in his car just to be able to get to work.

And it’s especially bad when you’re one of the employees who does not receive a paycheck because of the system and has to contact the UCPath hotline. The people on the other end of the phone do not have answers and cannot tell you when your check will be sent out.

The process is even more inane when you have to resolve errors in configuring the deposit system. Through multiple attempts at fixing my direct deposit setup, the UCPath employees ended up entering the wrong account numbers, inadvertently locking me out of my account section where I should be making those changes.

And when I sought help, I was only given the standard answer that UCPath would get back to me but to not expect a phone call even though I requested the operator call to keep me updated. The reply I received in a standard email was that I could not make any changes to the bank account information of my UCPath profile, since I had attempted to make too many changes in a single day. I hadn’t personally made a single change to my account.

So much for making the process easier for employees.

After my two calls, I was told I should fix the account numbers myself, and that it would take two weeks to see if the problem was fixed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if UCPath could use my banking information that UCLA used just last month?

I had been receiving direct deposits for 11 years without a problem via UCLA’s previous payroll system. Employees were told it would be an easy transition to UCPath: If we didn’t have any changes and our direct deposit was not changed, we wouldn’t have to do anything and our direct deposit would be uninterrupted.

That was wishful thinking. If you try to call the local personal payroll department, employees tend to inform you that your information can only be viewed by those working for UCPath. Do yourself a favor and log onto UCPath to see if your personal information and emergency contact information were ever transferred over. Many of my coworkers and I have found those vital details to all be missing now.

Some of my colleagues even have money going to different bank accounts. Instead of the direct deposit going to their checking accounts, it now ends up in their savings, making them default on loans because of automatic billing systems they had hooked up to dedicated accounts months before.

These problems are ridiculous. The UC needs to give some access back to universities’ local payroll personnel to better direct us and help with our problems. And in this day and age, it is absurd that it takes more than a few keystrokes to get your direct deposit fixed in a day or two.

UCPath’s streamlining has resulted in employees like myself waiting a week and a half for checks we don’t even know if the University is going to send because they have to be mailed out of UC Riverside and cannot be written at UCLA.

Calling UCPath a mess is an understatement. The process has been botched from the beginning, and the least employees deserve is to be paid for their hard work.

Sanchez is a stationary engineer with the facilities management team at UCLA.

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  • John

    Fake news! UC Path is awesome! worth every penny of the $10 billion cost.

  • H K

    I have a solution. UCPath employees don’t get paid until everyone who is forced to transfer to this nightmare of a payroll system gets paid.

  • Amy Carrizosa

    I have been processing payroll for the Associated Students, GSA and Highlander Newspaper at UCR for almost 10 years. I have been processing payroll as part of my career for the past 35 years. Never in my career have I been so distraught with a payroll process. My workload has quadrupled since the implementation of UCPath. I am not sure if UCLA uses a “shared service center” but UCR does. What does that mean? It means I have to create tickets for every single transaction I need to have done for UCPath. I have to spell out every single item exactly because who are the shared service center employees? The middleman. They don’t know my department’s needs. This causes so many errors. I can’t see what they are inputting into UCPath on my behalf. I can’t see ANYTHING until I am able to run some vague report the month later. I don’t know students aren’t getting paid until they come tell me. Then what can I do? My hands are tied. Many of the students could be suffering from basic needs issues. They rely on that paycheck. Gone are the days of finding a mistake and having a check ready the next day. It’s ridiculous and my rant could go on for days on end. Those of us who process payroll should indeed be given complete access to UCPath and get rid of the middleman. I’m so done.

  • Maria Luisa Irigoyen

    UCPath at UCR is an absolute disaster. They messed my payroll and accrued leave days during my maternity leave and, after a year, I’m still waiting to get it fixed. I have never seen such an ineffective system. If you call the customer service, you will talk to somebody different every time, they don’t know about your case and you have to explain everything from the beginning every single time. Even staff at UCR can not talk directly to them, they have to create those tickets. As I said, after a year, I’m still waiting for a solution.

  • Michelle Snyder

    While I completely support your concerns here, you really should fact check before you publish. There is seriously erroneous information in this article. ALL payroll is handled at the UCPath Center, which is located in Riverside, NOT at UCR. Additionally, UC Merced only handles it own location’s transactions and NOT all payroll for Northern California Campuses. Information related to the UCPath Center and the program in general can be found here.

  • Michelle Snyder