Updated list of Payroll-related issues

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To read all our articles on New Core, please click here: http://uobunison.org.uk/category/new-core

 

Issues with new Core, identified over the past few months:

  • We worry that there might be many staff and students workers who don’t even know that their pay has been wrongly deducted. They might not have checked their online payslip (you have to be on campus to check it, or go through IT to set up remote access), and/or they might not even know how to do it (especially members who don’t use computers for their day jobs). We have also been told that some members that they have to keep checking their bank account and payslip makes them extremely anxious, and as a result some try to avoid doing the checks as a coping mechanism.
  • When emergency payments were made (especially to staff and student workers who had not been paid a penny for days), the amount received was still wrong.
  • Staff and student workers don’t receive hard copies of their payslips. We’ve been telling UoB that this will especially affect staff who do not use computers for their jobs. Many of our members rely on caseworkers and colleagues to log in on NC to check their payslips. Many also don’t know their log in details, or if they do, their account might be locked because they haven’t reset their password (you are required to reset it every 6 months). This means that they then have to go to IT services to request a new password.. and the saga never ends.
  • The University are offering to cover the costs of bank charges, interest etc. They have also offered some vouchers as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ – either worth £50 to spend on .. campus (so the university doesn’t lose anything) .. or £25 to spend on .. Amazon (known for their exploitation of workers). Not all those who are eligible to receive vouchers have been offered one/ allowed to claim one. Not all catering staff on campus had been told about these vouchers, so when student workers and staff tried to use them, members had no idea what they were.
  • Members are concerned that their credit scores will be affected (and that can’t be solved through money) and they have had to borrow money from colleagues and family to pay their mortgages.
  • The New Core payslips are very confusing and they do not tell you what some of the deductions are for. We have even been told of instances where staff who don’t drive have been charged for car parking! Others have been doubly charged for car parking.
  • Others have received less money in their bank account than what appears on their payslip – so the payslips are inaccurate and misleading.
  • The mispayments have been accumulating for some staff and student workers since early Summer, with some now being owed thousands of pounds.
  • Student workers have still not received the amount owed (they had been overly taxed, paid wrongly, or not paid at all for work done over the past 3, 4 months). Student workers and staff doing the same job, at the same rate, and over the same amount of hours have been paid differently.
  • There are cases where student workers did not have their timesheets set up for weeks or even months and as a result they were not paid on time. The causes for this are various, including not being able to set up a New Core account in the first place, receiving errors when submitting timesheets, or other reasons which have no immediate explanation.
  • Some full time staff were not paid at all on pay day – in Security Services, Cleaning, and the rest of the Hospitality and Accommodation department at the University. We worry there might be others in the same situation but they either are not in the union (and don’t know they could contact us), or they do not use computers for their job and don’t know how to use new core to check their online payslips
  • Doctoral stipends were not paid on time, and/or in full on payday. In some cases, the mispayment occurred repeatedly since the implementation of New Core, in other cases September was the first time for students to be paid wrongly. Most of those affected have only had 50% of their stipends through. Some doctoral students have had to chase increases to their yearly stipends. Despite being told that they would receive the rest of the money by the end of payday, they had to wait extra days to receive the money.
  • Staff did not receive their full maternity leave payment on payday.
  • Retired staff who do short-term work on campus have not been able to access their payslip and have not been paid for the work done over the summer.
  • Some staff have had more pay deducted than it appeared on the payslip, i.e. it appears on the payslip that their deduction was just a few pounds but in reality the money taken off their salary was the equivalent of a few strike days
  • Some staff did not receive their increments for months
  • Staff in the University of Birmingham School do not have access to their payslips. This can have severe implications to international staff who are applying for visa, naturalisation, or residence permit as they would need to show original payslips to the Home Office.
  • there have been issues of tax codes being reverted back after being changed by HMRC to the right one
  • staff applying for loans have said that all their past deductions show on the payslip. The sick pay deductions stay on your payslips onto future months. If you have a week off sick, it will show you had that in the year to date column even on future payslips
  • staff who left the institution earlier in September have not been able to access their payslip because their account had been deleted
  • payments to various suppliers have been delayed (imagine the institutional repercussions!)
  • train season tickets have been wrongly deducted, leaving some with losses of hundreds of pounds at the end of this month
  • bus fares have been wrongly deducted (some staff have been overcharged more than £200 repeatedly)
  • car parking fees hadn’t been taken off accounts earlier in the summer, and instead this month staff have been charged for the whole summer
  • salaries have dropped for staff month by month (without any explanation)
  • some staff have had thousands of pounds less in their bank account each month, and each month they had to chase and wait for their payments for days
  • staff haven’t been paid for overtime work. We have received reports that the overtime cannot even be inputted into the system! Many members who worked extra during Welcome Week in late September to make sure that students have an excellent experience during their first week at University, have yet to be paid. Welcome Week is an important one especially for the lowest paid staff who know that they are required to work more, and as such they plan their finances accordingly.
  • pensions deductions are still being made despite staff notifying the university in advance that they want to drop out.
  • staff and student workers on hourly paid and fractional contracts have been unable to submit timesheets for dozens of hours of work within the month at the end of which they should’ve been paid. Some haven’t been able to have their hours inputted for months.
  • deductions for (already hyper-expensive) yearly sports passes were taken twice; same with car parking
  • there have been cases where instead of being repaid for wrongly deducted sports-related fees, the following month staff have faced double the deductions from the previous month!
  • contracts hadn’t been issued in time before casualised employees’ start of work
  • there has been a plethora of issues with expenses not being paid back correctly, on time, or at all (with some being lost) which led to staff not being able and/or confident to pay for other research-related activities
  • precariously employed staff and student workers are afraid to make complaints/ to be seen to be too assertive in claiming their money back due to fears of not being offered work in future.
  • there have been serious implications to members’ Universal Credit claims
  • staff whose contracts are ‘5 in 7’ (you work 5 days in 7) have different days off each week but the New Core time card cannot cope with that. How are staff supposed to log holidays on it? There are also problems with how New Core interprets work done on bank holidays (staff are at risk of not being paid overtime, unless they use a particular way of inputting their data)
  • the university failed to inform HMRC on the last day of work for former staff, and as such the latter have faced dire poverty in October, having to survive on £56 after paying rent.
  • trans staff’s legal names can still be accessed by any staff at the University.
  • in July, a deduction for all three days of strike action (1 in June and 2 in July) were made at once, despite the University promising to split it over two months. There was no indication of how many days the deduction was based on, and it seemed to vary wildly from staff member to staff member. We are talking about staff on low pay and often part-time or term-time only hours whose deductions could leave them unable to pay bills or meet other essential expenses, particularly when they were expecting smaller deductions to be made.
  • Staff and student workers are worried about the extra NI and tax that will be taken off their account (wrongly) when the university reimburses them. While they will be able to claim the amount from HMRC, it takes months to receive everything back.
  • Many staff have been found in tears in staff kitchens, payroll, other places on campus and on public transport.
  • Academic staff are spending much more time on administrative tasks in relation to their research projects.
  • Staff and student workers have been sending complaints to the University directly and the unions have contacted the University directly on behalf of members.
  • Staff have told us that they have no confidence that the issues would be resolved soon, but they need more communications from the University and more clarity on what is going on and what is being done to preempt and fix problems.
  • Stress has been caused to student reps, colleagues of those affected by these issues, managers, and others who have done everything they could to support their colleagues. They have been collecting evidence, arranged meetings, sent letters and emails to HR/payroll etc, and this had led to them not being able to undertake their job duties.
  • Staff and student workers are unsatisfied with the ways in which complaints are being handled and their wellbeing and productivity have suffered extensively, with many reporting severe daily anxiety because of this. Members have reported not being able to sleep because of these issues, and having to go to their GP for stress.
  • Staff on secondments have had their pay reversed to their previous band/grade.
  • Staff have been paid at the wrong pay spine.
  • Staff have had to rely on (and pay for) private accountants’ services to find out the complexity of the mispayments, as the University was not able to address their queries.
  • The university has been completely reactive rather than proactive in solving these issues. Unless staff and student workers call them/complain, there seems to be little chance for them to be paid retrospectively.
  • We have been told by other student workers and staff that although they feel they should (and have grounds to) complain, they would find it too emotionally draining, given the amount of time they have already put into chasing their money, and the distress they have faced.
  • For some, it is now impossible to know which payments (and for which months) have been missed or wrongly deducted (i.e. either for overtime, car parking, expenses, or a particular job if they have multiple work arrangements/contracts).

We want to find out who (on the University’s side) has made the decision to choose this system in particular, and why they didn’t agree to delay its implementation despite unions’ warnings that things would go wrong. We don’t think they did enough testing and tweaking of New Core – rather, they went for the cheapest and fastest route to changing the old systems, without giving much thought to the implications of these changes to the entire university workforce.

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