Biweekly Payroll

Important questions and answers regarding Biweekly Pay

 

Was it necessary for Lamar to change our pay schedule for non-salaried employees?

Yes. 

Our previous system did not directly support federal requirements for tracking individual hours of work and absences for non-exempt employees. In order to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, regarding calculating overtime on a weekly basis, we needed tools to automate the calculations. We were expending significant hours of labor with manual paper tracking and creation of “one time pay” forms.  Overtime credits and payment were not being applied until a month after the fact.

              

Why was the Biweekly schedule chosen?

We gave serious consideration to two options: Semi-monthly and Biweekly.  Either system would have required the introduction of electronic time sheets and a processing period, after time sheets are submitted. Biweekly was chosen because the law requires we calculate and compensate all hours based on a weekly standard.  Semi-monthly would not have improved the weekly calculation issues.

 

Was consultation and research carried out before this decision?

Yes.

The project team for this change included university leaders and subject specialists from Lamar’s finance, payroll, human resources, benefits, I.T. departments, and Banner/Elucian. We talked to other Texas Universities and reviewed the web-posted information from major universities across the country.  We challenged the experience of our Banner consultants.  There was significant debate and analysis of each aspect of each decision.  Feedback and suggestions from employees and approvers during training were incorporated into the processes. 

 

Employees were clear that their greatest concerns were that they would forget, or their approver would forget their timesheet. Extra compliance reports and HR/Payroll intervention was built in as a result of these concerns.  Employees also gave the suggestion that comp time be available for the initial transition.  This suggestion was welcomed and adopted. 

 

Was consideration given to how this might be hard on some employees?

Probably the topic that occupied the team more than any other was: how do we minimize any negative impacts of the transition for employees? Out of those concerns all of the following were investigated and implemented.

  • To reduce the financial impact of the processing (lag) week, we offered transition pay and comp pay. We delayed the collection of benefit deductions from July to October. We adjusted other benefit schedules to make the biweekly checks as similar and predictable as possible. I.T.and Payroll prepared simulations and tests of each element of check production.
  • To communicate to all affected employees, a detailed “frequently asked questions” document and a number of tables and examples were sent via email to every affected employee and their managers. These documents were provided in paper format to employees who do not work at desks/computers. The communication program spanned six weeks, with dozens of dates for face to face training in the overall process and the specifics of submitting and approving time sheets.
  • Training was well attended and gave employees frank information about preparing for a change in the frequency of paydays, and the impact of receiving pay every two weeks, over 26 pay periods a year. 

Why was July 1 chosen as the start date?

  • July 1 presented an opportune date because it was the first day of a new month and a new two week period. There would be no hours or days to carry forward from a previous period.
  • We wanted the new system in place for the new budget year.
  • Having it start in Fall posed its own set of difficulties which included changes in our benefit providers, influx of new faculty/staff and the transition of budget years.
  • The impacted employee group is smaller in the summer, with more time available for training.   
  • January is frequently preferred for Payroll changes, but with our Christmas break, and other year end tasks, it was also less than ideal

Some employees have reported that the adjustment to biweekly is harder than expected.

  • We have checked state law to see if we could assign the longevity pay to two paychecks per month, but state law requires that it be once per month. To make the longevity money available earlier in the month, we will be moving longevity pay to the first check in a month.
  • We will offer training on financial planning and personal finance coaches via the Employee Assistance program, to help employees with planning and budgeting their finances. Look for more information on this soon.  You can contact EAP at www.4eap.com. Our login is Lamar and our password is 454. Or you can call 800-324-4327.
  • We want to know what your experience has been and receive your suggestions. Please respond to the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VXW25QX .