|January 7, 2000||Volume 7, Number 8|
This is About-US - New human resource information system went live Jan. 1, 2000
When the clock ticked past midnight Dec. 31 and all eyes were on theY2K issue, a transition with a more far-reaching impact was taking place at the U of S.
As of Jan. 1 the university went "live" with a major upgrade to the way it records and processes employee information, when the new About-US computerized payroll and human resource information system formally came on-stream.
The new system, planned for since 1997, is designed to improve the storage, processing and reporting of the university's human resource and payroll information.
About-US will support a variety of business functions beyond payroll and personnel administration including salary administration, base benefits, employment equity, and position management.
It can even extend to help manage employee learning and employee development.
One of the more visible results of this switchover will come at the end of this month, when U of S employees will notice a new look to their pay stubs.
But that's just one small part of the About-US changeover that, as a whole, gives the Human Resources Division and colleges and departments across campus a powerful new way of keeping staff information.
About-US Project Manager Bob Elliott says that as with any major changeover, the two-month November-December transition to the new system -when staff ran About-US in parallel with the old payroll system hasn't gone quite as smoothly as he would have liked.
But Elliott says it has generally gone well, and by mid-December he was able to confirm, "We will have all the essential processes tested before we go live."
"Our team worked long, long hours" to work out the details, enter data and get the new program ready, Elliott says.
The About-US project team consists of 13 people, who will carry on implementation of the new program until the end of February, at which time the team will be pared down to three or four people who will continue program rollout activities until October.
Dec. 17 Elliott said the team was sending out "college-by-college position number information" for positions in the University's regular job classification system, and that process should be completed by early January.
At the same time, he said, "We've already sent out new hourly time reports," and new forms were being supplied for reporting sick and vacation time taken, for CUPE staff.
Beginning this month there will be a new look to the paycheque stub and direct deposit advice slip.
They will occupy the top two-thirds of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet and will contain current-month and year-to-date totals for earnings, taxes, deductions and benefits.
For staff whose vacation and sick entitlements are tracked on the payroll system, the form will show balances, in hours,as of Dec. 31, 1999.
From that date forward, it will show year-to-date hours earned, hours taken and a balance.
January cheques and direct deposit advice slips will show December 1999 vacation and sick-time hours earned and taken.
To convert the hours to days, divide by the maximum hours for a regular work day (for example, for CUPE clerical staff, it's 35hours per week, or seven hours per day).
The new system does not track EDOs (earned days off), and that remains a departmental responsibility.
Elliott stresses that each month departments should submit Job Information forms as soon as they are completed, and shouldn't hold them until the cut-off deadline submission dates.
This will even out the processing workload for HRD and Payroll.
He says the cut-off deadlines for departments to submit the JIFs to HRD and Payroll in the first three months of 2000 are set a bit early, and the submission deadlines may be moved back in future months if things go smoothly.
The cut-off dates for monthly-paid staff, for paydays of Jan. 31, Feb.29 and March 31 are Jan. 6, Feb. 4 and March 8 respectively.
For hourly-paid staff the cut-offs for paydays of Feb. 14, March 14 and April14 are Jan. 31, Feb. 29 and March 31, respectively.
Elliott says data-entry staff in HRD and Payroll trained and worked the week of Dec. 27-31 to help get the system up and running.
He said January is a short processing month and while he anticipates there will be time to process all additional pay and overtime worked by university employees in December, if that isn't possible it will all be caught up by the end of February.
The About-US project manager says he still has spring as his target for extending use of the system to each college on campus.
"The on-line rollout will start with our About-US Advisory Committee, a group of 30 individuals, primarily administrative assistants, who represent colleges, departments and administrative units across campus," Elliott says.
He'll use the committee as his pilot test group.
Elliott expresses his thanks to all on campus involved in getting the new information system ready including his project team, the 30-member About-US Advisory Committee, and all those involved in helping with the extensive transition work.
The two-year project involved acquiring hardware, software, building the project team, and getting some outside expertise to help implement the new system.
More information on About-US can be obtained on the project's website:http://adminsrv.usask.ca/HRDivision/about_us/
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