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Separation Leave Update

In the last OWLS newsletter, we reviewed changes to the Employee Separation Payment Authorization (ESPA) process. Beginning July 1, 2011, a new central budget is now used to fund separation leave payments.

While we hope the ESPA form will be updated to automatically fill in the new central budget number to be charged, until that happens please continue to complete the ESPA form for payment of annual and sick leave as follows:

  • If the effective date of the separation is prior to July 1, 2011, the charge will be assessed to the individual budget(s).
  • If the effective date of the separation is on or after July 1, 2011, the charge will be assessed to the new separation leave budget for payment of sick and annual leave only (Payment Types 1, 2 and 5 on the ESPA form). The central budget number is 12-2500.

Information about the ESPA form and the reserve budget number can be found on the OWLS User Guide ESPA information page.

Job Class Code Discrepancies Part Two

In the near future, the OWLS Support Team will contact departments to correct job class code discrepancies between OWLS and the payroll system. Reports currently show almost 600 discrepancies.

Why do these discrepancies exist?

Job class code discrepancies occur when an appointment change is made in the payroll system (OPUS) but a new record is not created in OWLS. Reasons for discrepancies in job class data might include promotions, reclassifications, and voluntary demotions that are entered in OPUS without creating a new record in OWLS.

What's the big deal?

When OWLS records aren’t updated to reflect job class changes, information pertaining to and affecting employees’ leave accruals, leave plan rules, and separation reasons may result in significant errors. OWLS records are UW's official leave records and it is important that they contain accurate, up-to-date information.

What should I do?

If you are notified that job class codes in some of the records you maintain are out-of-sync with data in the payroll system, existing records will need to be audited and ended before a new record can be created. You can find more information in the OWLS User Guide. Please contact AskOWLS if you have any questions.

Chicken Soup for the Timekeeper

The OWLS Support Team and HR receive an array of questions. Every now and then, we hear from a timekeeper who has made a transaction in OWLS that leaves them frantic. We've seen a lot of "unexpected outcomes" and want to assure you that nothing is as bad as it seems.

In this issue, we are introducing, "Chicken Soup for the Timekeeper," a new feature, that we hope will provide answers to some commonly asked questions and seemingly scary OWLS events.

The Event:  A panicked timekeeper calls HR just seconds after 8 a.m. One could barely understand what she was trying to say! Finally, after she took a few deep breaths, she clarified, "Oh my gosh, I just changed an employee's FTE retroactively and I lost everything after the date of the change. What happened and how can I get those entries back?!"

Resolution:  We hear ya, timekeepers — this is an unfortunate event, but here's the good news: you don't need those lost calendar entries anyway because they would no longer be accurate.

Here's what happened: When a retroactive FTE or schedule change is made, OWLS automatically deletes all calendar months after the effective date of the change because OWLS knows that they would likely no longer be accurate in terms of the annual leave accrual rate, work schedule, leave use, etc.

If you run into the same problem, you will need to re-enter all data from timesheets and leave requests submitted since the FTE or work schedule change. In addition, the payroll coordinator should be notified in case the FTE had not been adjusted in OPUS.


The Myth: It doesn't matter if an OWLS record is started or ended on the wrong date.

BUSTED! Wrong, it is a big deal.  The beginning and ending record date must be accurate and reflect the OPUS start and end dates.  If you begin or end an OWLS record on the wrong date, please email AskOWLS.  The record will either be deleted or re-opened so that it can be set up or ended correctly.

The Myth: A full time employee is eligible for 24 hours of bereavement leave.

BUSTED! Bereavement leave is not measured in hours.; it is measured in days, regardless of the number of hours an employee is scheduled to work on the day(s) they use bereavement leave.  For example, if an employee misses 4 hours of an 8 hour scheduled day due to bereavement, that day is considered to be one day of bereavement leave.

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