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The University of Massachusetts Boston Did Not Ensure That Some Individuals Were Hired and Compensated in a Timely Manner for Work Performed.

The audit shows the university did not add over one thousand newly hired individuals to its payroll system within the required timeframe.

Table of Contents

Overview

During the audit period, some University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston departments allowed some individuals to work without completing the hiring process, including being added to UMass Boston’s payroll system, so they could be compensated in a timely manner for hours worked. From a list of all 11,814 newly hired and rehired UMass Boston employees, we identified 1,465 occurrences of delayed hiring (representing a total of 1,083 employees).4 According to the information in UMass Boston’s campus payroll system, these individuals’ action dates (the dates they were added to UMass Boston’s payroll) and their effective dates (the dates they began earning compensation) indicated that they were added to the payroll system from 1 to 537 days beyond the maximum 20-day timeframe allowed by the law, and therefore they could not have been compensated in a timely manner. The five departments with the most occurrences of delayed hiring were (1) Performing Arts, (2) Continuing and Professional Studies, (3) Biology, (4) Academic Support Programs, and (5) Undergraduate Studies. Delayed hiring results in an unanticipated financial liability for UMass Boston and makes it difficult to manage payroll budgets and forecast their effect on the overall budget.

According to the Massachusetts General Laws, each person is to be paid within 6 days of the end of the pay period. UMass Boston employees are paid biweekly; therefore, each pay period is two weeks, or 14 days. To calculate the maximum timeframe, we added the 6 days required by the law to the 14-day pay period, for a total of 20 days.

Although we did not find a decrease in total occurrences of delayed hires/rehires from fiscal year 2018 (when there were 810 occurrences) to fiscal year 2019 (when there were 830 occurrences), UMass Boston officials provided calendar year data reflecting a 20% decrease in delayed hires/rehires from calendar year 2018 through calendar year 2019. However, there was still a significant number of total occurrences (677) during calendar year 2019 (see Appendix).

Authoritative Guidance

According to Section 148 of Chapter 149 of the General Laws,

Every person having employees in his service shall pay weekly or bi-weekly each such employee the wages earned by him to within six days of the termination of the pay period.

Reasons for Delayed Hiring

UMass Boston officials told us this issue occurred because the employees who were responsible for hiring in some departments did not fully understand the importance of completing the hiring process in a timely manner. The officials added that further training for these employees was needed.

Recommendations

  1. UMass Boston should cease the practice of delayed hiring.
  2. UMass Boston should ensure that all employees who are responsible for hiring are trained to fully understand and follow established hiring timelines.

Auditee’s Response

UMass Boston Human Resources implemented a training program, monitoring controls, and periodic communications to academic hiring managers and others involved in departmental hiring to stress the importance of promptly initiating the hiring process, that resulted in a calendar year-over-year decrease in delayed hiring instances. The training program will be reprised, and monitoring and periodic communication maintained as the campus continues to emphasize the necessity of ensuring that employees are appointed in a timely way.

Auditor’s Reply

Based on the above response, UMass Boston is taking measures to address our concerns about the hiring process.

4.     One employee can have multiple positions in multiple departments and be hired/rehired multiple times during a given period, so one employee identification number could be associated with multiple occurrences of delayed hiring.

Date published: January 19, 2021
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