Telstra faces payroll system issues

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Telstra faces payroll system issues

Promises "continued improvements".

Telstra has acknowledged "some transitional issues" with its People Express payroll system, which was introduced in July 2010.

Last Thursday, members of the Community and Public Sector Union wrote to Telstra CEO David Thodey to highlight their "deep dissatisfaction" with the new system.

The letter followed a December 2010 survey of "a couple of hundred" CPSU members in which 73 percent complained of experiencing issues with their pay since the system was introduced.

Respondents also complained of under-taxing, over-taxing, underpayments and overpayments, and that the new pay slips were difficult to understand.

A Telstra spokesman told iTnews today that it had already addressed "a number of issues" and had plans in place to "ensure continued improvements".

"We are a few months into the implementation of our new payroll system, People Express," he said.

"As with any new large system implementation we are aware of some transitional issues.  We will focus on these to ensure our employees receive the best possible service."

The spokesman declined to disclose the cost of the new payroll system and why it was introduced.

According to Telstra's 2010 annual report, the company recorded the direct costs associated with developing internal business software as "software assets", amortised over seven years.

CPSU assistant national secretary Louise Persse made four recommendations on behalf of the union in the letter to Thodey (pdf). These were:

  • that Telstra management provide a standard and easily understandable template for payslips;
  • that the payroll provider better acquaint themselves with the provisions of the current Telstra Enterprise Agreement, Australian tax rates, superannuation schemes and benefits;
  • that payroll staff be better trained and resourced to improve assistances, response and resolution times; and
  • that employees are provided with of details of all under- or over-payments before they are processed.

"The correct, transparent and timely payment of employees' wages is a fundamental employment right," Persse wrote.

"The union expects that employees should be able to get their correct wages on time and in an understandable format."

Telstra's spokesman said the telco would meet with the union "shortly" to discuss its concerns, declining to disclose the number of affected employees.

The union named HP EDS as Telstra's payroll outsourcer, but neither Telstra nor HP would comment on their relationship and People Express.

Last year, a failed payroll system implementation at Queensland Health was blamed for more than 35,000 payroll anomalies, prompting the State Government to consider taking legal action against its contractor, IBM.

Updated at 4.15pm to include information about HP EDS.

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