Labor Relations

Meeting Summary: May 27, 2014


UW affirmed its commitment to engage and collaborate with the unions representing its employees, in order to identify universal areas of concern as well as those that are unique to each union. UW emphasized the parties’ mutual interest in working together to ensure a smooth transition for its employees, and that the system meets the needs of each union’s respective contracts and constituencies.

Process: Labor Discussions and Bargaining

UW explained that the intent is not to bargain at the five scheduled informational sessions, but rather to identify any issues and concerns the unions may have. As issues are identified that are unique to each union, the parties may break out into smaller tables to focus on the specific needs of each contract and engage in any necessary bargaining.

UW Presentation

At this meeting, Cheryl Scott and Joni Kirk delivered a presentation on the topics of Biweekly Pay Cycle and Actual Time Reporting.

Biweekly Pay Cycle

Background – Until recently, state law required that UW employees be paid semi-monthly, on the 10th and 25th of each month. Pay periods are the 1st through the 15th and the 16th through the end of a month, making the number of days per paycheck variable. In spring 2014, the UW was granted statutory flexibility to change pay frequency from semi-monthly to biweekly.

Challenges with a Semi-monthly Pay Cycle – UW’s current practice of paying employees semi-monthly on fixed days presents challenges to calculating overtime and premium pay when a workweek is split between two pay periods, and creates particular confusion for employees whose schedules align with work weeks rather than semi-monthly periods.

Benefits of a Biweekly Pay Cycle – Paying employees every two weeks is a widely-held best practice with that will bring many improvements for employees, including establishing a consistent pay period with the same number of days each time, an increase from 24 to 26 paychecks per year, and more timely overtime pay.

Further Details – For more information, please read the Biweekly Pay Cycle Discussion Overview.

Actual Time Reporting

Background – All UW employees, including those who are overtime-eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), are currently paid on a salary basis pro-rated according to their percentage of full-time equivalency (FTE). Things like pay premiums, overtime hours, and leave without pay are reported as additions to an employee’s salary using exception time reporting (ETR).

Actual Time Reporting (ATR) – With this approach to time reporting, employees are paid each pay period for the actual hours worked or charged to paid leave in that pay period. Each paycheck will correspond with the time worked and premiums earned during the preceding pay period; overtime and other premiums are added to the hourly pay.

Challenges with ETR – UW’s current practice presents numerous challenges, including an increased likelihood of errors in UW payroll processes due to manual calculations and paychecks that are difficult for employees to interpret.

Benefits of ATR – ATR is also a best practice with several benefits for UW employees, including aligning hours worked with hours paid, making payment of premiums earned more timely, and providing paycheck consistency for employees who regularly earn premiums.

Further Details – For more information, please read the Actual Time Reporting Discussion Overview.

Next Steps

Questions that have arisen throughout these discussions can be found in the HR/P Labor Relations Frequently Asked Questions, and full details on the project are located on the HR/Payroll Modernizationwebsite. The next HR/P Labor Discussion is scheduled for June 10. Union participation and input in these meetings is strongly encouraged, and the University is providing paid release time for designated employees to attend.