Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Mandatory Direct Deposit Procedure Change

Human Resource Services (HRS) has recently implemented changes to the UAPPOL Payment by Electronic Banking/Direct Deposit Procedure to improve service, make payments more convenient for recipients, and reduce administrative costs. Beginning May 1, 2013, the university requires that all payments made to employees, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and resident visiting speakers are paid by direct deposit. Participating in direct deposit is mandatory for all payments from the University of Alberta in the form of salary, wages, stipends, allowances, scholarships, fellowships and honorariums.

Payment by cheque will now only be available for non-resident visitor speakers and special circumstances. Individuals without active banking information on file with Payroll have been contacted individually and asked to enter their own direct deposit banking information through Bear Tracks or send the Electronic Banking/Direct Deposit form directly to Payroll no later than July 1, 2013. For individuals that do not provide direct deposit banking information before July 1, 2013, their payments may be held at Payroll Operations until enrollment in direct deposit is completed.

To ensure that the updated procedure is complied with, your assistance is requested. For all new appointments, please inform the new staff member, student or postdoctoral fellow that they MUST enter their own direct deposit data into Bear Tracks before their first payment date. In certain cases, such as providing a visiting speaker with an honorarium or one-time payment, it may not be feasible for the individual to enter their own direct deposit banking information into Bear Tracks in time to ensure payment. In those cases, the hiring department must collect the individuals banking information using the Electronic Banking/Direct Deposit form and either enter it into HR Smart Forms during the Hire Smart Form process or send the completed form to Payroll Operations before the first payment date.

The overall impact of the change to the Payment by Electronic Banking/Direct Deposit Procedure is significant. The U of A produced almost 18,000 pay cheques in 2012 with an overall cost of almost $600K. Payment by cheque is not only costly and inefficient, it is also inconvenient for the payment recipient as they must pick up the cheque, deposit or cash it and in some cases, wait for the funds. This process may also result in returned or lost cheques when they are mailed to outdated addresses and/or recipients are not aware that payments have been sent. Payment by direct deposit will result in more timely and convenient payments and save the University of Alberta thousands of dollars a year while improving the service provided to employees, students, postdoctoral fellows, visitors and departments.

HR Smart Form Changes to Enable Collection of Direct Deposit Banking Information
The HR Smart Forms application has been modified to enable faster entry of direct deposit banking information for new employees and students that are not able to use Bear Tracks before payroll payment deadlines. A new page has been added to the Hire/Rehire form to allow the department to collect and then enter the employee/student banking information. The form initiator can enter the information for those new appointments without an already existing direct deposit record but will not be able to make changes to any existing records. In addition, the direct deposit information will not be accessible to any approvers or department HCM users.

Key highlights of the Smart Form change include:
1. New banking information can now be entered directly on the Hire Smart Form

Rather than sending in a direct deposit form or including a separate attachment for banking information, initiators of Hire Smart Forms will now be able to enter the employee’s or student’s banking information directly on the Hire Smart Form.

Generally:
a) Banking information can only be entered through the Hire Smart Form for employees and students without an already existing direct deposit record.

b) Employees and students should be directed to enter their own direct deposit banking information through Bear Tracks before their first payment date.

c) Only the form initiator can enter and see the banking information that is entered. Once entered, it cannot be seen by any form approvers in the process.

d) Only one bank account can be set-up through the Hire smart form. If the individual would like additional accounts set-up for direct deposit, please direct them to go to Bear Tracks to update their own banking information.

e) The direct deposit banking information to be entered includes:
  • Account type (i.e., savings or chequing)
  • Bank (3 digits), Branch (5 digits) and Account information (up to 12 digits depending on the financial institution)
Please Note:
Entry of banking information on the Hire smart forms is not a required step at this time. Initiators can skip the direct deposit page in the form if the information is not available at the time of completing the form. Encouraging employees to enter their own banking information through Bear Tracks is the preferred method of collection.

2. Existing Banking Information Cannot be Updated on the Form
When the individual hired or rehired has existing banking information, the Initiator will be flagged to direct the individual to Bear Tracks to validate/confirm that the banking information is current/up-to-date. Smart forms cannot be used to update/confirm existing banking information. The individual should be directed to confirm this information through Bear Tracks as soon as possible to ensure that payments are directed to the appropriate account(s).

For more information about the Direct Deposit Procedure change, please contact Payroll Operations at 780-492-4555, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by email at Payroll.Operations@ualberta.ca.