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.