The Case of the Missing Check

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Haven’t gotten paid? Bwog delves into the world of lost work-study checks patiently awaiting their owners.

The University is (hopefully) the only employer you’ll have which will tell you to wait four to six weeks before they issue your first paycheck. And, as work-studiers can attest, this is hardly a given. You might get paid only after you call and draw their attention to the clerical error that has caused payroll to have all your paperwork listed as missing (as I well know). Misdirected paychecks, an administrator in SIPA recalls, “happen often,” particularly at Butler, though the stories of abandoned paperwork, missing administrators and the like seem to cover most University departments.

If you change your campus job, the central payroll office (for reasons that remain unfathomable) does not automatically send your paychecks to the University department to which you’ve switched. Human Resources in Butler will tell you your department needs to fill out a “change of address” form, but most departments will tell you to complete it yourself. This form must be submitted or your checks will continue going to whatever office you were last working at in the University system. Of course, this form cannot be processed at all, we were told, until your employment has been terminated at your old department, which the HR representative apparently does not know how to do… even when you’re sitting in front of them. Instead, this requires yet another form that must be submitted by your old department.

In the meantime, during the weeks while you are finding all of this out and navigating this maze of offices, your paychecks are being sent to your old department. There, many department administrators have their own drawers, which, in some cases, are filled with students’ paychecks and deposit slips thrown in with papers and old receipts. The department administrator may have the acuity to notice that you no longer work in his/her department (often called to their attention when you call for the employee termination paperwork). In that case, paychecks are sent back up to the employment office at Butler, where they will be left to rot in another drawer (filed by last name this time) until you come looking. Human Resources has dozens of student paychecks. Department administrators are supposed to notify students where they are being sent, but frequently don’t, and an administrator at HR said she would have to spend “all day” sending reminder emails to the checks’ owners. So, if you’ve ever worked a campus job, stop by the fifth floor of Butler- you might just have some more wages languishing unclaimed.

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  1. OMG!!!  

    This is currently happening to me...

    I hate those bitches... but don't ask any questions b/c it's ALL online now... I'm looking for my paystubs and they don't give a shit... My old boss doesn't have them, my current boss doesn't have them, and supposedly Work Study doesn't have them... maybe i'll go to HR...

    Bitches don't do shit in that damn office... Instead of changing to online forms and applications, maybe work study should change up the damn staff...

  2. would  

    direct deposit help in these situations? or is that only for work-casual and not work-study?

    • well  

      you can have direct deposit if you're work-study. but while it would help in the sense that you don't have checks laying around that you must find to ever get paid, you still won't get the money deposited for those 4-6 weeks. your pay from that whole period will just finally get put in all at once. also, even though i've had the same job for 3 years, they manage to do this to me whenever i get switched over to casual (when my work-study runs out) and again when i get switched back at the beginning of the school year.

  3. Meh  

    My work-study earnings go straight toward my tuition, so I could care less when it all shows up.

    • Sadia  

      Exactly...I'm betting most work-study kids don't mind too much since we never actually see the cash to begin with. Work-study is less job and more like paying back a debt.

      • people  

        use the money in different ways. some choose to put work-study money directly towards tuition and get their money for other things (food, textbooks, whatever) elsewhere; others do the opposite. it becomes a big deal when you you've been living off instant oatmeal and whatever your friends give you for weeks because you're counting on that money for groceries but haven't been paid in 6 weeks.

  4. HEY  



    Ok... wait... I am WAY too excited for this...

  5. I'm not

    even going to bother pointing out the obvious fact that is a relatively legal (and hassle-free) way for the university to use slave-labor simply by never paying their students.

  6. Elna

    Direct makes life easier. I remember in my freshman year when I was told that we were not getting paid this week because it was 'our' offices turn to have the check printers fail on us.

  7. lol  

    man I'm so glad I work in the private sector now...

  8. Xavier  

    If you're confused about where your paychecks are, go to and login. Click "Login with my UNI" and then on the "Faculty/Staff" tab. You can then click on "View your paycheck" and see all of your paycheck dates and amounts, as well as where they were addressed.

  9. probably

    so the university can collect interest on it while you're futily searching for the check in order to cash it. duh.

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