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Management system errors leave students unpaid
After the University failed to send her several paychecks in the past month, Claire Austin (SFS ’12), an assistant at the Mortara Center for International Studies, rushed to the Student Employment Office last Friday to take out an emergency loan for $360. “I have a job for a reason,” she said.
Many student employees have experienced problems with pay this semester, and they frequently blame the issue on the University’s new computerized payment method, called Georgetown Management System, which was introduced at the beginning of the semester. From the Library to the Admissions Office, campus employers with hourly workers have struggled to adjust to GMS.
GMS provides students all over campus with paychecks on a bi-weekly basis. While administrators and human resources staff were trained on the system up until its implementation, errors continue to plague the process, and answers are difficult to find.
“It doesn’t seem right that the people who are in charge of programming are now having to take on administrative tasks that they really aren’t well trained to handle,” Austin said.
Maddie Howard (COL ’11), a recent graduate and current staff member at the Woodstock Theological Center, has not received a paycheck all semester.
“My boss is definitely working hard to try to get me paid. But the system itself…seems like too much machine and not enough common sense,” Howard said. “You can kind of chalk it up to [it being] a new system, people are new to using it—but it’s been two months…I’ve just been starting to live off savings, and I don’t know how much longer I can do this before it becomes a problem.”
Austin said the system’s interface is difficult to operate for employees. “I don’t have any idea how to use it…in the past all I’ve had to do is turn in a time sheet and fill out the paperwork beforehand,” she said.
The Human Resources office claims that work to change the system is underway. “We are deeply concerned that student employees are experiencing problems with their payments,” Mary Anne Mahin, vice president and chief human resources officer wrote in an email to the Voice. “We are working diligently to address and fix all issues facing the University community as a result of the GMS installation. The Human Resources Department and University Information Services will be augmenting the resources of the Student Employment Office to resolve these problems.”
Another student University employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said the human resources department has been unresponsive to questions about her delayed paychecks.
“When I realized that my paycheck was zero, I emailed and called an HR representative,” the student said. “I’ve asked her questions every single time I emailed her and she never answers them. I have zero indication that they’re actually fixing the problem and I won’t have to do this every week. I rely on this money and I don’t have anything to fall back on when I don’t get it. I just keep working even though I have no guarantee.”
Antony Lopez (COL ’14), a student employee at the Gelardin New Media Center, mentioned that several of his co-workers also remain unpaid. “There have been a few cases where people did not get paid at all, so they’re having to submit hours that they did actually work but didn’t get fully paid for,” he said. “I know my boss has been having meetings [with GMS] discussing the transition to the new system.”
Rachel Hoffman (SFS ’13), an assistant at the Protestant Ministry and employee at Yates Field House, said she thinks the system struggles with her pay coming from two different sources. “They haven’t been able to give me a straight answer for what it is and I haven’t been paid for any of the hours I’ve worked so far this semester for Campus Ministry,” she said.
Not all of the problems with GMS involve students being underpaid. One Admissions Office employee says he has been exorbitantly overpaid—a check that should have been for around $70 was “in the 800s.”
Still, it seems more students are having the opposite problem. “I had a lot of patience with [GMS], but now I’m kind of losing that,” Howard said.