Bill Requiring On Time Employee Payment Passes the Senate

A proposed state bill that would require the University of California to pay employees on time was unanimously passed by the California State Senate on May 23. If ratified by the California State Assembly and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, the UC system would be held to the standard of private sector employers and would need to pay employees no more than five days after the designated payday to avoid legal repercussions.

Senate Bill 698, sponsored by Senator Connie Levya, was drafted in part to respond to a number of employee complaints against the UC Board of Regents for missing or incorrect paychecks.

UCPath, a new payroll system that aims to bring all campus pay systems into one central process, was first implemented in the summer of 2018 and is still being implemented in waves. Sarah McBride, the media and communications strategist with the UC Office of the President, told the UCSD Guardian the new system currently serves UC Merced, UC Riverside, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara.

“Data was difficult to maintain consistently across the system, preventing the university from efficiently utilizing management data,” McBride told the Guardian. “UCPath enables UC to operate a technologically advanced, unified, and improved platform for payroll processing, human resources, and data access for employees.”

Since the start of UCPath’s rollout, a number of university and student employee complaints have been brought up regarding incorrect, late, or missing paychecks. McBride told the Guardian that the UCOP is aware of the issue and is working to address new problems as they arise.

“No new systemwide upgrade of this magnitude and complexity is without problems, many of which can only be identified and addressed after the system is live and operational,” McBride said. “During this stabilization period when issues are most likely to occur we have proactively planned for additional staff and resources to support the campuses. We continue to apply lessons learned and best practices from previous implementations, and continue to do our best in quickly identifying and resolving problems.”

Thomas Hintze, the legislative outreach coordinator for the UC Student-Workers Union, said that employees currently have no legal recourse to address the issue. The proposed bill would give affected employees more agency in addressing the issue.

According to the proposed bill, “The employees of the Regents of the University of California currently have no protection under the labor code to ensure they are paid on time and on a regular payday during the rollout of the new UCPath system. This bill ensures that these employees may file a claim in state court or with the Labor Commissioner if the university fails to issue payment on time and on a regular payday.”  

SB 698 is supported by a number of labor organizations, including the California Labor Federation, UAW Local 2865, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Teamsters Union, and the UC Student Association. The bill was read in the Assembly on May 24 and is currently being held for review.

Photo courtesy of flickr.