The monthly payment system at Northwest has confused many student employees over the years. For those who use their income from their campus job for extra spending money on the weekends, this is largely a minor inconvenience. However, for many, this money is their main source of income.
While there certainly are reasons for the way the system operates, the University should explore all possible avenues to reduce the pay period to biweekly.
In our front page story, we heard from a few students who are seriously affected by the payment system. Admittedly, much of their frustration is rooted in their unfamiliarity with the reasoning behind the system. After hearing from Payroll Clerk Shannon Heitman though, it appeared the University has the capability to change to a more student-friendly biweekly system.
Between dealing with Federal Work Study and making sure students employees are properly enrolled, Northwest certainly has a lot to deal with when doling out paychecks. With a limited workforce and hundreds of student employees, the Payroll office likely has difficulties in processing everything quickly and properly. However, their main issue seems to be with students not submitting their time sheets quickly enough. This is a problem that could be remedied quite easily.
Apathetic students forgetting to fill out their time sheets is absolutely a factor in the University’s decision to pay employees once a month. Still, much of this can be attributed to managers who don’t stress the importance and consequences of not filling out their time sheets.
Additionally, if students were paid biweekly they would have more incentive to fill out their time sheets as soon as possible. The month-long pay period causes many students to disregard pleas from their superiors to fill out their time sheet, as they know they have weeks before it’s absolutely necessary.
One student in the article mentions that some believe the system is justified because it “helps you plan your money.” However, this “lesson” ignores the reality of student employees’ struggles with unforeseen expenses. When 100 percent of your income comes from a monthly paycheck something like a car repair could seriously affect a student’s daily life.
The reality is that many student employees’ financial security is often in jeopardy because of this system. If there’s simply no other way the University can divvy out paychecks, than the system is a necessary evil.
However, the Payroll office has clearly thought about and made steps toward implementing a biweekly system. While there’s certainly many hoops to jump through to accomplish this, it’s imperative that they ramp up their efforts. Student employees need the extra financial stability when juggling school, work and extra-curricular activities.