- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for UMass Boston’s Failure to Pay New Employees on Time Hinders Effective Management of School’s Budget, Audit Shows
Boston — Today, an audit of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston, conducted by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found that the school must improve its hiring and payroll practices. The audit shows the university did not add over one thousand newly hired individuals to its payroll system in a timely fashion. In some cases, it took over a year after they began working to add them to the system. This makes it difficult for the University to manage its payroll budget and resulted in individuals not being paid on time.
The audit, which examined the period of July 1, 2017 through March 31, 2019, evaluated whether the university had taken measures to address management issues first identified in a 2017 external audit conducted by KPMG. The KPMG audit also showed that UMass Boston was not adding employees to its payroll system in a timely fashion.
“One of the most basic responsibilities of any public institution is effective management of its budget and taxpayer dollars. By not placing some employees on the payroll until long after they are hired, UMass Boston could not properly project its budgetary needs. This also creates unnecessary strain on future budgets, short-changes workers, and undermines public trust,” Bump said of the audit. “Ours is not the first audit to highlight this problem, but it is my hope it is the last.”
From a list of 11,814 hires or rehires conducted by UMass Boston during the audit period, Bump’s office identified 1,465 instances (representing 1,083 people) in which individuals were not added to the university’s payroll system in a timely fashion, and therefore were unable to be compensated within the required timeframe. Under state law, employees must be paid within six days of the end of a pay period. The five departments with the most occurrences of individuals not receiving compensation within required timeframes were Performing Arts, Continuing and Professional Studies, Biology, Academic Support Programs, and Undergraduate Studies.
The audit recommends that UMass Boston end this practice, known as delayed hiring. Bump also recommends that additional training related to hiring practices be put in place for employees. In its response, the university indicated it was taking action on these recommendations.
In addition, the audit found the university had made improvements to its budgetary processes by adding regular variance reports and was conducting proper background checks on new employees.
UMass Boston is a member of the Massachusetts public higher-education system, which consists of 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five UMass campuses. As of fall 2018, UMass Boston employed approximately 3,734 employees. For fiscal year 2019, the university had an operating budget of approximately $437 million.