By John Michael D. Pineda
Umatuna Si Yu’os
On Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, pastors, parish representatives, administrators, business managers, accountants, and bookkeepers were invited to a meeting regarding the archdiocese’s “Centralization of Payroll – Phase 1.” There were at least 40 attendees that day.
“To address a variety of challenges regarding the remuneration of priest, the Presbyteral Council has unanimously recommended the centralization of payroll for parishes,” said Father Jeff San Nicolas, Delegate General of the Coadjutor Archbishop. “This initiative has also received the support of the College of Consultors and the Archdiocesan Finance Council.”
The meeting covered the recently approved plan to centralize payroll that applies to parish staff as well as new policies on corporate credit card use and the new loan application packet.
The desired outcomes for centralizing payroll include the improvement of practices on payroll and human resources as well as filing retention and documentation, ensuring compliance with local and national tax regulations, and to progress in auditability, accountability, and transparency.
At the meeting, the focus of the centralization of payroll was only regarding parishes for priests and parish staff. “The good thing about the centralization of payroll, we will have quality control,” says Archdiocesan Finance Officer Josie Villanueva, “There will be an increased collaboration; we can share our best practices, altogether as one.”
Listed among the positive effects regarding the centralization of payroll include auditability of records, compliance of record retention, standardization of benefits, payroll related tax reporting will be covered, automatic leave tracking as well as availability of plans such as Aflac, Cafeteria, and 403B.
A time attendance software called “Open Time Clock” was also introduced, a reliable and secure cloud-based system that tracks employee’s time, absences, paid time off accruals, and notes. It restricts employees allowing only to punch in their times on assigned network devices.
For efficiency, the new payroll calendar was also proposed, converting payroll from semi-monthly to bi-weekly, as a means to minimize costs with having only one payroll instead of having it monthly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly.
The steps to be taken by the parishes with assistance from the Chancery Office to successfully implement the centralization of payroll include notification of current third party payroll provider, completion of processing files for coming on board (On Boarding Process Checklist) and authorizations regarding garnishments, submission of completed packets to the Chancery, and continuous communication as well as improvement of the whole system. The packet of forms were distributed to the attendees of the meeting.
The responsibility at the parish level comprise of the priest retaining responsibility to manage the performance of the employee and maintain discretion on salary and benefits of the parish staff provided it is within norms while the parish office maintains a copy of the employee file.
The responsibility at the archdiocesan/Chancery level is to process the payroll in collecting priests and employee data, reviewing payroll information, collecting and reviewing timesheets, distribution of payroll slips, and responding to queries related to the payroll processing. The Chancery’s finance office will also be responsible in filing quarterly and annual tax reports to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation.
The Chancery finance team also serves a resource for the parishes when they need on-site and off-site support. Additional materials were provided to the parishes include refresher training on human resources administration and best practices on human resource management.