Should I freak out over a lapse in auto-rehire?
May 15, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Its been 15 days since the termination (without automatic renewal, as is normal) of my employment at a major university (in Canada). How worried should I be, as no one has informed me that I'm proper fired?

As some background, usually I don't check up on my employment status. Being a grad student is a weird position to begin with, so I was fine leaving the title wrangling to HR. Every year (once last year in September a year after I had been hired and again now) the termination/re-hire bit kicks in, with 13-14 days between the day of termination and the precessing of the re-hire with no skipped paychecks.

Well now a paycheck may have been skipped (it was due two days ago, might still come in tomorrow). I don't feel awfully worried about the future but I'm not convinced that this whole situation is just going to disappear.
posted by Slackermagee to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Is there a reason you aren't asking this question to your department's administrative assistant? Because she/he is probably the only person who can answer this question for you. In my experience schools in Canada treat the employment status of graduate students in different ways.
posted by auto-correct at 6:08 PM on May 15, 2011

Talk to an admin ASAP. My end to grad school was rather unpleasant as my advisor took me off payroll and didn't tell me.
posted by emd3737 at 6:14 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, ask your department! If you haven't heard from someone that you're out of funding or being expelled/terminated, these are the probable options:

1. Human resources or payroll mistake - the document needed to continue your appointment has not been approved, processed, filed correctly, etc. This may be human error or (in this godawful age of PeopleSoft) computer problems.

2. Payroll check entry error - your appointment is continued but the payroll person processed your check wrong.

3. Funding problem - depending on where your funding comes from, it could be that your department has not set up the account for your funding correctly, so the check request is "bouncing" or else your mentor has done something to delay the arrival of your funding - not filed a report with the funding agency so the money isn't in yet, tried to transfer your pay to another funding source but messed it up, etc. None of these things should mean that you don't get paid, but they may have caused an error that's hanging up your check.

If your university is like mine, they should be able to fix this and cut you a rush check over the next week.

(I assume that you still have time to go on your PhD program and you're supposed to be fully funded, right?)
posted by Frowner at 6:15 PM on May 15, 2011

It's probably fine, but it's worth a call to your department or HR or payroll to find out about the skipped check. I am an HR person at a university with a similar employment-end/restart system, and I don't mind at all when people call me to see what's up. Sometimes an employee gets overlooked when we are processing reappointments and we don't find out about it until that person asks what happened to their checks.
posted by donajo at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2011

(This happened all the time to one guy in our program - he was funded from several different sources and things were always getting screwed up through no one's fault, just the insane complexity of the funding system. I would say that it's unlikely that your mentor has ditched you without saying so - emd3737's experience sounds awful but would get someone in huge trouble at my university.
posted by Frowner at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2011

People I know in academia get paychecks for all sorts of weird amounts at all sorts of weird times. It all works out in the end, usually. Talk to someone.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2011

Thanks guys! I just found out this afternoon, so I'll send the grad-sec an email tomorrow morning and check up on her in the afternoon if I haven't heard anything.

Cause, you know, food. Rent. Living expenses. Looking for a new job if the shit just hit the fan without my knowing it.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:22 PM on May 15, 2011

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