Paycheck screw-up problem for student


Something curious took place last week that would normally receive little attention, but since I was the victim this time, I feel it necessary to express my concern. As every UA employee is well aware, we were to receive paychecks on Wednesday, rather than Friday. "How thoughtful of the university," I naively thought to myself. How excited I was when I realized I would have my much needed cash two days early to make my trip home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I am quite sure I am not the only student employee on this campus that is heavily dependent on that bi-weekly check. Personally, I live from payday to payday and, like many other students on campus, don't have the luxury of calling up Daddy and saying, "I need money because my bank account dropped below $200." Needless to say, I am on somewhat of a restrictive budget. So when my department didn't have my check last Wednesday, I pushed the panic button. In essence, I was without money.

I was told my check was probably delivered to another department on campus. No problem with that, except the folks at payroll operations informed my department that my check did indeed go to the correct place. My options were pretty scant. I could wait around and hope that it turned up, give my department my phone number and they could call me when my check magically reappears since it "probably got slipped into someone else's envelope" or I could wait until Monday and call my department back. I went for the last "option."

Although I was without my much expected cash, I was not upset. "Hey, the UA makes mistakes. After all, they handle so many employees, someone is bound to get 'screwed' each payday." With that I had a lovely Thanksgiving and returned home with hopes of clearing up this whole mess. Wrong. I contacted my department again and was politely told I needed to go to payroll operations and sign a form stating that if my original check is found I won't deposit it. I had to drag someone along with me as a "witness to the signing." So now it's an inconvenience for two people.

Here's the best part of this lengthy whine. The happy, smiling people at payroll operations (who received their money on Wednesday, no doubt!) kindly tell me that I will be reissued another check Right on! in about five to ten working days. Lovely policy, I must say. I'll be sure to tell my landlord, Tucson Electric Power, U.S. West Communications and Visa that they can expect to get their due payments "in about five to ten working days." If I didn't really need that dough, I wouldn't have a job!

It gets better. The reason they can't issue me my money that I'm due right then and there is classic: The UA must be certain the funds are put back into their account. And exactly what does that mean? It means the UA is worried about bouncing a check for a couple hundred bucks.

So now that I am left with no other "option" but to be a charity case, I pose this question to the UA policy makers: Why do students get charged an additional late fee if they pay their tuition bills one day late but it's "standard policy" to delay student workers their due earnings "five to ten working days?" Can anyone out there say "greedy"? Hey, the UA needs that cash in the bank so they can pay for more of those neat walls around campus!

Chris C. Chavez

Math Senior

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