Lehigh announced on March 1 the university payroll system will be moving from semimonthly to biweekly payments, occurring every other week, for all employees who are eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay.
Steve Crouch, the university’s controller, said the new payroll system will implement best industry practices while also aiming to alleviate major “pain points” in the system.
Crouch, who oversees aspects of university finances, worked closely with many departments as well as the heads of every college during the last year to collect feedback from students and staff.
“In my job, the most important things are aligning the people, the process and the technologies,” Crouch said.
Streamlining the payroll system is just part of the process as the university aims to keep its system up to date and improve the quality and efficiency for its employees.
Caterina Black, ‘24, a Gryphon in Dravo House, is one of these students affected by the change. For Black, the old system was confusing.
“I just get a call randomly, and suddenly there is money,” Black said.
Since these checks are not her sole source of income, not knowing the exact date the check is ready does not affect her, Black said. For some students, an inefficient system can be a challenge for their budget and spending.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Pat Johnson, who oversees all fiscal departments, agrees with Crouch that both confusion and calls to the payroll office will be cut down after this switch.
Johnson said semimonthly pay often causes headaches for employees who work overtime because the overtime pay could be split into two different weeks.
“Because the payroll office was so busy, it took longer to fix (incorrect pay) and give (employees) the new pay,” Johnson said.
With the biweekly system, employees will submit their time card after two weeks and then be paid for that time exactly two weeks later.
Additionally, the university has used Banner, which is a software system designed for universities, and will be utilizing an updated version of the software, as well as new features, to modernize Lehigh’s payroll system. One of these smaller updates is setting up direct deposits online instead of manually — which sometimes resulted in human errors.
However, with every change in leadership, there is bound to be hiccups in the system, Crouch said. So, the university will roll out the biweekly system based on employee class, starting with non-exempt employees in August 2022 and then student workers at the beginning of the next semester. Exempt employees are individuals who receive a salary rather than hourly pay and will not be affected by this switch.
“It is all about serving the university community,” Crouch said. “We want people to be able to get their pay, look at their pay stub, understand their pay and move on with their lives.”