There are many implications of a missed time approval deadline.  A couple items to note:

  • Hourly-paid employees include student workers paid on an hourly basis.
  • Salaried employees are paid regardless of whether their sick and vacation time has been approved, however issues are still encountered with late time approval for this group.

Employee Experience

  • Late time approval can cause multiple paychecks per pay period (see Inefficient Payroll Operations below) for employees who do not have all of their time for the pay period entered and approved by the established payroll deadlines.
    • This can cause double lump sum tax deductions, if employee has them set up.  For example, an employee who has a tax withholding status of Married, 1 allowance with an additional $25 per pay period deducted will have the $25 deducted from each separate paycheck.
    • This can cause double deposits to bank accounts, if employee has flat amounts set up.  For example, an employee who has a direct deposit set up with $50 to be deposited into a savings account each pay period will have the $50 deposited with each separate paycheck.
  • Salaried employees' leave balances are not updated unless and until their time has been approved.  If time is only approved a couple times a year, it oftentimes causes confusion and inquiries to the HR Operations team which oftentimes starts with "I didn't take any vacation in June so why did you deduct 80 hours?".
  • Hourly-paid employees experience feelings of being undervalued if they are not paid timely and in full.
  • Hourly-paid employees expect and are dependent on the timely receipt of a full paycheck to manage their finances.  A short or missed paycheck will cause undue stress to employees.
  • Hourly-paid employees who do not get paid in full or timely experience feelings of frustration when they call the payroll office for assistance.  The payroll team can only refer the employee back to their supervisor and/or time manager for assistance which leads to extreme frustration for both the employee and the payroll team members who are helpless in this situation.

It's the Law

  • Maine Statute 621-A Timely and full payment of wages excerpt:  Minimum frequency and full payment.   At regular intervals not to exceed 16 days, every employer must pay in full all wages earned by each employee. Each payment must include all wages earned to within 8 days of the payment date. 

General Ledger / Accounting

  • Encumbrances are liquidated with each regular payroll; however unapproved time still hasn't been charged to GL; therefore it's a liability not accounted for in the Financials system
  • Chartfields may become inactive or change for various reasons.  When time is eventually approved, it will attempt to charge the chartfields in effect for the time period being paid resulting in suspense account activity that must be reconciled and resolved by either payroll or finance staff members.  If a project has closed, the department must provide another valid chartfield combination to charge the earnings to.

Financial Aid

  • Financial Aid is awarded by academic year - once the academic year has ended, the award is also no longer available to charge for student earnings.
  • Work study awarded but not paid causes reconciliations issues for the University.

Leave Balances

  • Vacation and Sick time does not subtract from the balance unless it's been approved and processed on a paycheck.
  • Vacation is a liability for the UMS and is not accurate unless all vacation time has been entered and approved.  Unapproved leave time can cause overpayments of vacation payouts and paid leaves of absences.
    • Note:  The payroll team will approve all vacation and sick time in June and December of each year to ensure all balances are accurate for fiscal and calendar year end.

Inefficient Payroll Operations

  • Because the UMS must comply with Maine Statute and pay employees timely, the payroll team will process any time approved after the deadline via off-cycle payroll.  But off-cycle payroll processing is inefficient and costly to the UMS.
  • Generally, the time approval deadline is end of day Monday with payroll processed on Tuesdays.  If time is approved on Tuesday during the payroll process, it creates a situation where the payroll team must go over their payroll checklist multiple times to ensure accurate paychecks - a nearly impossible task with a moving target.