Feedback Requested on Discontinuation of Mailed Paychecks and Auto-Deposit Advisories

The individual mailing of employee paychecks and auto-deposit advice was discontinued beginning with the April 4 paydate. According to an announcement printed in the January Statewide Voice (reprinted below) this is a cost-containment effort. Staff who would no longer be receiving paper checks were also sent multiple e-mails to inform them of the change. The HR Offices at all campuses have been involved in this move as well. Communication and outreach may have varied by location.

This cost-containment move did not receive the usual vetting through governance and had only minimal public notice. As your elected staff representatives, we want to provide you with an opportunity to provide your feedback on this transition, report any problems with the process, share suggestions for improvements, ask questions and otherwise report back on how this change has affected you. If you would rather not use this blog to provide feedback, please contact your local governance representative or Human Resources office.

Thank you,
Staff Alliance

Paychecks No Longer Mailed Beginning April 4
As part of ongoing efforts to reduce costs, individual mailing of employee paychecks will be discontinued beginning with the April 4, 2014 paydate, Human Resources has announced.
UA currently spends more than $26,000 per year in postage to mail employee paychecks to individual addresses. Once implemented, campuses will receive all checks for their physical location in a single shipment. The campus will then distribute the paper checks to employees.

In addition, paper copies of direct deposit advisories also will no longer be generated.

To further help in the systemwide cost containment effort, UA’s Human Resources strongly encourages direct deposit and the elimination of paper paychecks whenever possible. Conservative estimates place the cost of generating a manual paper check at approximately $6 per employee, per pay period. More liberal interpretations that add in labor costs put this estimate as high as $50 per check, per pay period. Electronic payments are estimated to cost only 30 cents by comparison.

There are multiple additional benefits to using direct deposit:

  •  It is safe, secure and convenient.
  • Direct deposits can be divided across up to six different banks per pay check.
  • Money is deposited in your bank (or banks) on payday, whereas manual check delivery may be hampered or delayed due to weather, avalanche or other circumstances.
  • Direct deposit saves money for the system and helps EVERYONE.

If you have any questions about the process of setting up direct deposit, please contact Human Resources.



Filed under Benefits, Compensation, Staff Communication

23 responses to “Feedback Requested on Discontinuation of Mailed Paychecks and Auto-Deposit Advisories

  1. I am not a good candidate to comment in the sense that I have not received hard copy paychecks or auto-deposit statements since arriving here; this does not impact me. We look at our statements online at UAonline.

  2. CB

    I understand the direct deposit only, but I say open a registration period where people can opt in to receive their check stubs. I was still getting my stubs via USPS. Most banks and I’m guessing the IRS won’t accept something printed off of a website that looks like something I could do myself at home.

    • Walker

      Banks already do accept information provided by UAOnline. I’ve gone through a couple of mortgage lenders and this was always good enough for the banks. I don’t understand why the IRS would need a copy of your pay stub or check when they require a copy of your W2 (only if you are filing a paper return) which is also directly available from UA Online. I’ve been using what is made available at UA Online for as long as I can remember ( approximately 10 years ) and not once run into an issue.

  3. Jeanne Laurencelle

    I worked for the state in 1995/1996 when they lost a significant amount of employee data. Boom, all gone. Employees had to bring in their paystubs to prove they had worked for the state, and to get credit for retirement. As a result I have saved 14 years of pay stubs in my files. I want to keep the paper backup.

  4. RB

    I have had direct deposit with no paper stubs for over 15 years (here and elsewhere) and have no issues at all with banks, the IRS, proof to travel vouchers, etc.

  5. TA

    We are transitioning to a paperless society, to fight this is futile. This is a good thing; paper costs money, something that is harder to come by now a days in our current economic and political environment. Everything should be a digital copy. If an organization will not accept something printed off an official site, requests can go to Finance for those specific situations, as needed. My guess is that the requests will be few and very far between.

  6. Walker

    In general I think it is a good idea. I’ve been doing direct deposit (for at least a decade) so that I no longer had to fight the lines at the bank on payday to get to my money. The pay stub report was just another reason that I had to check the mail and wasn’t particularly valuable compared to the summary data I could get electronically from where I wanted and whenever I wanted with few exceptions.

  7. KR

    We have several employees that speak poor english and are virtually computer illiterate. Not having the option of getting a paper pay stub is troubling for these types of employees. Keep in mind that not every job at the University requires you to be able to operate a computer. If employees are required to get their pay information via computer (electronically) that should be built in to job descriptions and verified during the hiring process. There really should be an opt-in option for receiving paper pay information.

    • Karin

      Paper paychecks are still an option. Only the method of delivery has changed.

      • KR

        Which is still a problem if they need to be picked up on campus if you work at an off campus site. If they need to go pick up a paycheck on their own time, that costs gas and time and if they do it on work hours that also costs work and time. This whole process doesn’t appear to be well thought out to me.

  8. David Withoff

    I would like some notification, paper or otherwise, that the university has direct-deposited a check. Currently I get nothing. For pay stubs I can check UAOnline, but for other checks, like travel reimbursements, the only notice I am aware of is the money appearing in my bank account.

  9. Linda

    I’m very upset about not getting my paystub–I have auto deposit. The paystub has all the useful information, such as the year-to-date tax information, leave balances, etc, whereas to look on line, you have to jump thru all the hoops and windows, and still don’t get the ytd tax info. And then to require a person to have a bank account in order to get paid is ignorant and assumes a lot. People should get paid in cash anyway, but a check is the next best thing. Oh, and then required to have a computer at home, or can they get paid to do all that banking stuff while working? That is not being a good steward of the money the State gives the University.

  10. SG

    While I think this is mostly a minor inconvenience to the many regular, year-round employees, this is potentially a much larger problem for the summer temp crew (especially on the research front where they come and go frequently, and there’s hundreds of them in the Fairbanks system alone) this is potentially a huge mess!

    The biggest issue by far is that as late as last week, there was still NO DEFINITIVE PLAN for where paychecks will be going! Conventional wisdom says they’ll go to UAF HR, but UAF HR doesn’t know when or for how long. Rumors say that checks might have to be picked up by TKL by appropriate department HR/PPA personnel to distribute to employees on a department level, and other rumors say that checks will be delivered to the Office of the Bursar and can only be picked up by employees with ID. Regardless of which route is chosen, the fact that its STILL NOT CLEAR is leaving some of our recently hired temp employees in a panic to get a paycheck. Sure, many of them are getting direct deposit set up, but that still takes a couple pay periods to actually go through! This leaves new employees in a lurch to get paid, and with the complete and distinct lack of information about where to pick up a paycheck next week, and the weeks after, we have some frustrated people on our hands already.

    This seems like one of many lame approaches to not actually fix the system as a whole but to push costs off to another department/person to deal with and there aren’t any actual costs savings across the board. Sure, SW saves a few bucks on having to buy as much special printable check-stock, as more employees will opt for direct deposit but the rest of us were just given more work in trying to figure out where to tell people to go (I’ve made 4 phone calls already, and I’ll continue calling every couple days until two different people give me the same answer, and I’m directing new employees to call UAF HR to ask questions regarding where to find their most recent paychecks, because I still can’t tell them definitively); figuring out what the process is, why its changing and just in general helping new employees find their way to their paycheck. This time adds up! Not to mention the time of whoever will now have to hold and store and hand out paychecks after checking IDs and lecturing employees on how and why they should set up direct deposit instead.

    This is a dreadful example of cost-savings; this feels more like a knee-jerk reaction by people who aren’t going to be affected and who didn’t bother to work out the details before moving forward with a cheap and shoddy plan to pretend to save money.

    I’m all for cost-savings in the name of being more efficient by eliminating worthless steps and fixing broken or tedious processes, but cutting services without a back-up plan is bad news, and not good for employee morale or UA’s reputation.

    • Karin

      The most expensive part of printing checks is the cost of checks not getting cashed before they expire. Human Resources believes that fewer printed checks will mean less reprinting and fewer uncashed checks. Surprisingly, the number of paychecks not cashed timely numbers in the hundreds each year. Reprinting, voiding and transmitting the funds to the state are all incredibly labor intensive processes. Often, the cost of compliance with Alaska’s unclaimed property law exceeds the value of the uncashed paycheck several times over.

      Change is hard, but Human Resources felt that asking employees to participate in direct deposit and pick-up checks offered a simple way of achieving real cost savings. New processes are a challenge. We are working to improve paper check delivery.

      The availability of online paycheck information has also improved. UAOnline paystubs now have year to date pay information, filing status and payment method with direct deposit bank amounts. Human Resources is committed to continue to improve the quality of pay information available to employees online.

      • Lisa

        I find it difficult to believe that processing hundreds of uncashed checks a year takes more time than the dividing, shipping, sometimes dividing and shipping again, of hundreds of checks 26 times a year. SW HR sends checks to the major MAUs, then they get divvied up again there to go to satellite campuses. That’s a lot of touch time. And sometimes checks go to PPAs from there? And we still haven’t accounted for the time it takes for the employee to go pick up the check or the time it takes to verify the employee before handing the check over. I find it hard to believe there can be savings after all that. Does this future improved paper check delivery mean even more people will have to handle the checks to get them closer to the employee? And what happens if someone is out of the office and can’t pick up their check? How long does the employee have before the check is returned to SW and even more people touch it?

        “Human Resources felt that asking employees to participate in direct deposit and pick-up checks” is a nice sound-bite, but I haven’t heard of anyone getting asked. I have to agree with the original poster. This seems like a poorly planned, expensive way of making it easier on one group of people, and harder on a whole bunch of folks, not a cost savings.

  11. To clarify, there is no requirement to have direct deposit. If you choose to receive a printed check you still can. It is now distributed through your local HR office instead of mailed to your home address.

  12. Linda

    As with any process change, implementation details set the tone for acceptance. UA HR did not convey where to pick up a check, resulting in the perception of an unprepared institution. Payroll is a sensitive issue affecting us all, but was met with callous disregard in this process. Touting cost savings as the change reason is only valid if perceived as a savings – check distribution now being handled by multiple UA employees is very expensive and will all know that. Let’s be honest in our discussion – the change was made to be painful, to coerce employees into choosing direct deposit. Any forced ‘choice’ is never perceived as a choice, and will be remembered for falsehood long after the act has occurred.

  13. Elizabeth

    I would like to continue receiving paper statements. I currently receive paper payroll statements because at calendar year-end the UA Online statements are insufficient to determine total pay for the year. How about if UA stops sending me (and others) fancy, expensive, glossy brochures and magazines instead? And I don’t need 4-5 thank yous and/or invitations from UA for my annual donation to a UA foundation scholarship.

  14. Jeff

    It is crap. There are financial institutions that do not accept print outs of paychecks as proof for loans. When I got my mortgage at Alaska USA they required pay stubs issued by my employer. UAOnline didn’t count. The same for MAC Federal Credit Union. If this continues then I will be forced to include my employer every time I wish to seek credit or financing and that is a violation of my privacy. UA shouldn’t force me to include them in any financial transaction nor be privy that I may be seeking financing or credit. I’ve already spoken to the Union about it and I hope they roll back this change. Their pitiful savings shouldn’t trump my right to privacy.

  15. Melody

    I have direct deposit, but I want the pay stub mailed to me.

  16. I have direct deposit, but I still want the physical printed pay stub. I don’t mind going to pick it up from an HR office on campus.

    The old UAOnline pay stub did not include all the detail the printed version did ($$ that went to SS, medicare, etc per paycheck and YTD) which is why I opted to have mailed pay stubs. I checked today and the UAOnline pay stubs all seem to have been updated with the information I wanted (even for paychecks going back to when I first started working here). Nevertheless, I would still like the option of having something officially printed from UAF.

    It was my understanding that autodeposit pay stubs weren’t automatically mailed; I had to go to a physical HR office to opt in for mailings. Maybe this was a intermediate money saving step (for more recent hires like myself). If others want to go fully digital, good for them – but I don’t want to.

  17. Pua Maunu

    Digital deposits work just fine for me and are convenient. . .deposits happen on a regular basis: every other week. If I want to know deposit details, I can go to two sources: UA Online or my bank online. And if I wanted a paper copy, that can easily be done with access to a computer and printer..

    Paper copies are an inefficient use of time, space, effort, paper, stamps, gas, etc and also destructive to the environment because of the carbon footprint to mail and deliver a piece of paper that can be obtained much easier via a computer, laptop, smartphone, etc. Its like receiving the paper water/sewer bill from CBJ every month. . . information dosent’ change, just more paper and effort. I’d rather my tax dollars (for cbj taxes) be put to better use than this.

    I had no problem getting a mortgage or refinancing without paper pay stubs. It does not make sense for paper unless one does not have a bank or other institution for direct deposit of funds.

  18. Carol

    I am the Cost Center Clerk in our division. What this new policy has saved the UA system in postage costs the departments. I have several employees who will not do direct deposit. I have seasonal employees who don’t work long enough for them to start getting direct deposit. So the bottom line is that I have to mail checks costing the department money. In addition to the cost of the postage is my time having to pick up the checks and then the distribution of them. Once again more work pushed to departments when we are supposed to be working on cost savings and efficiencies.

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