Philadelphia public servants to be paid more to work fewer hours Philadelphia public servants to be paid more to work fewer hours

Philadelphia public servants to be paid more to work fewer hours
08 Oct 2018

The introduction of an integrated payroll system in Philadelphia could mean that thousands of public servants work fewer hours for the same salary while others work the same amount for more money.

For the sake of uniformity, city officials want the new system to classify about half the workforce, or 13,400 staff, as working 7.5-hour days. But since many have jobs that require them to work eight hours a day, this design choice could end up costing Philadelphia millions of dollars, wiping out some of the savings officials projected from introducing the new applications in the first place.

Some employees who currently work eight-hour days will be moved to a 7.5-hour schedule but paid the same salary. Others, whose jobs require them to work eight hours, will continue to do so but will be paid for an extra 30 minutes per day. Meanwhile, the shorter working day will mean that 11,000 staff who are eligible for overtime will see a 10% increase in their overtime pay rate.

City officials were unable to put a figure on how much the switch would cost as they are currently unsure of how many employees currently work 7.5 hours or eight hours.

Spokesperson Mike Dunn told The Inquirer: "We expect that many employees will continue to work 7.5 hours because they are already doing that, and that some departments will change their 8 hours worked to 7.5 hours, thereby avoiding any additional cost."

He added that there would also be some departments that “will actually work eight hours and pay the extra half hour on a regular basis. We can't, at this point, pinpoint that last group and predict how all of this will work out, or the cost of it".

The move will increase the hourly rate for many workers, thereby hiking overtime rates. If overtime were to remain the same as it was during the last record year, the city would need to fork out more than US$7 million in additional payroll costs. For an employee with a US$50,000 salary, it could mean an automatic annual pay rise of US$3,072.

The system upgrade is part of the One Philly project, which was launched in 2014 to link the city's personnel, payroll, pensions and benefits systems together and give managers the ability to keep better track of employee hours in order to reduce overtime.

By the time One Philly goes live, the city expects to have spent at least US$44 million on the changes. But even after the project is completed, taxpayers will still need to pay out at least US$3.3 million a year in order to support the new system.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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The introduction of an integrated payroll system in Philadelphia could mean that thousands of public servants work fewer hours for the same salary while others work the same amount for more money.

For the sake of uniformity, city officials want the new system to classify about half the workforce, or 13,400 staff, as working 7.5-hour days. But since many have jobs that require them to work eight hours a day, this design choice could end up costing Philadelphia millions of dollars, wiping out some of the savings officials projected from introducing the new applications in the first place.

Some employees who currently work eight-hour days will be moved to a 7.5-hour schedule but paid the same salary. Others, whose jobs require them to work eight hours, will continue to do so but will be paid for an extra 30 minutes per day. Meanwhile, the shorter working day will mean that 11,000 staff who are eligible for overtime will see a 10% increase in their overtime pay rate.

City officials were unable to put a figure on how much the switch would cost as they are currently unsure of how many employees currently work 7.5 hours or eight hours.

Spokesperson Mike Dunn told The Inquirer: "We expect that many employees will continue to work 7.5 hours because they are already doing that, and that some departments will change their 8 hours worked to 7.5 hours, thereby avoiding any additional cost."

He added that there would also be some departments that “will actually work eight hours and pay the extra half hour on a regular basis. We can't, at this point, pinpoint that last group and predict how all of this will work out, or the cost of it".

The move will increase the hourly rate for many workers, thereby hiking overtime rates. If overtime were to remain the same as it was during the last record year, the city would need to fork out more than US$7 million in additional payroll costs. For an employee with a US$50,000 salary, it could mean an automatic annual pay rise of US$3,072.

The system upgrade is part of the One Philly project, which was launched in 2014 to link the city's personnel, payroll, pensions and benefits systems together and give managers the ability to keep better track of employee hours in order to reduce overtime.

By the time One Philly goes live, the city expects to have spent at least US$44 million on the changes. But even after the project is completed, taxpayers will still need to pay out at least US$3.3 million a year in order to support the new system.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

US government to migrate payroll system to the cloud

Tackling tech: Choosing the right software deployment option

Ask the Expert: How to avoid RFP pitfalls in relation to global payroll systems

 

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