Tuesday, 30 January 2018

January 2018 Information Session Materials

HRS hosted an online information session in mid-January for HR practitioners on campus. Thank you to everyone who attended and gave feedback on the session. We recorded the session for those who weren't able to attend and have compiled answers to questions that came up during the session.

The recording of the January 2018 HRS Information Session can be accessed through the following link: https://connect.srv.ualberta.ca/p8eq3ccxf1w/

Questions & Answers

Questions Regarding Payroll

When I see $125 off-cycle cheque processing fee in my speed codes, does that mean there was no direct deposit information?

When a department requests a payment outside our normal payroll processing cycle (referred to as an off-cycle payment) an administrative charge/fee ($125) to cover the additional cost of running a special payment within an off-cycle schedule is required.

Off-cycle costs/fees are charged only when an off-cycle payment is requested. Typically, this fee is charged against the department, funding source or project grant where the employee is set up. The off-cycle payment processed is direct deposited into the employee’s bank account.

Why is the tax on Personal Spending Account (PSA) much more expensive than salary/overtime pay amount? 

The PSA is a taxable benefit. When processed on your pay-cheque with other earnings, it is included in the calculation of gross earnings and increases your Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI).

It is difficult to do the prior year payroll adjustment after year-end. Is it possible to upload the March 31 payroll earlier, or give the department few days to reconcile and clear the suspense account?

The year-end schedule posted by Financial Services will provide the cut off dates for payroll adjustments.

Is it possible to notify Departments when the payroll cut-off dates change?

All departments are notified of any changes that affect their pay processing. 

How are work permits that are about to expire managed? What does the department and employee need to provide?

Payroll notifies the individual, via email, the visa will soon expire or has already expired. The department is rarely involved in this process, unless we are not able to reach the employee. Please remind staff and students to update their work/study permits in time to avoid immigration or payroll issues.

How can I ensure that a direct deposit is entered in time? Sometimes a staff member tries to enter direct deposit information, but their appointment is not yet in the system.

If the employee’s appointment is not yet entered in HCM, please submit the banking information via email or drop it off in person at HRS. Banking information must be entered through Bear Tracks prior to pay-confirm to ensure payment is direct deposited in the employee’s bank account. You can also contact your HR Advisor to confirm the status of the form.

Direct deposit is available on the student and employee side of Bear Tracks. The employee section under Bear Tracks is not accessible by the student until a payment is processed through payroll.

Currently we pay people 4% vacation rate and 3.46% stat. holiday pay; are the percentages expected to change? 

At this point, we do not anticipate changes to the vacation pay percentage for staff excluded from the NASA or AASUA agreements. We are reviewing the holiday pay percentages based on the new Employment Standards Act (ESA). In addition, we are in the process of validating against ESA and other similar institutions in the region.

When a student has another appointment on campus, our department is charged some of the benefits deductions (i.e. EFAP). During monthly reconciliation, we have to ask our Payroll Assistant to do an Salary Benefit Adjustment (SBA). When is this fix expected?

A technical enhancement is currently being tested to resolve the problem. The target date for implementation is the week ending February 2, 2018. Although this enhancement will fix this issue, it will not address processed transactions prior to the implementation date. Faculties and departments must continue using the interim workaround using SBA to correct benefits/tax distribution errors.

In the Information Session, we were told to check the pay-period schedules since it would be updated. The updated month and year in the corner of the Monthly and Combined schedule sheets shows December 2017. Does the month and year change when the schedule is updated? Also, it is not indicated on Semi-Monthly schedule. Could we have consistency on all of the schedule sheets?

Certainly. We will add the date when it changes to the header or footer of the document to let you know it’s the most recent version on the web page.

Questions Regarding eForms

Do I have to verify the SIN on the eForm even though it was previously entered in the system? Is it necessary to "verify" an employee even though it is not necessary to check SIN every time that employee is renewed? 

You must confirm the SIN with all new hires. If you have a rehire, who has the same SIN, it is not necessary to validate. If the SIN does not match in the system, you must validate the correct number.

Why do you ask citizenship status? Do you check to see if Permanent Residency status is updated?
Citizenship status is important for determining if a student/staff is eligible to work. Supporting documentation such as work/study permit is required.

If I initiate an eForm and the eForm is recycled or the approver lets you know changes are needed, is it possible to have a co-worker make the change?

If the coworker shares the same security role as an initiator or has a role assigned in the workflow approval process, they are able to make changes to the eForm.

Can an eForm be changed after it is submitted, for instance, by a supervisor who approves the form? If so, how can I tell what changes were made?

Yes it can be. Any changes made by the approver are not identifiable on the eForm. Once an eForm is loaded by central HR, changes can no longer be modified.

Questions Regarding SBA

Regarding salary and benefit transfers, the RSO in July 2017 informed departments that we are restricted to doing salary and benefits transfers to the current fiscal year. Departments need to be informed of deadlines with respect to fiscal year. When is that information expected to be released?

We are working with Financial Services to review processing dates/timelines for fiscal year-end. Once fiscal year-end schedules are finalized, they will be shared with the SFO’s through the FS Bulletin. 

Should we process online SBA for these transactions?

You can process SBA transactions for the current fiscal year within the timelines identified in the year-end schedule.