Preparing For a Disaster (Irma) and Payroll

Making Sure Employees Get Paid On Time

Friday, Sept. 1, 2017

As those of us from Lee County Clerk of Court were discussing where we were going to go to dinner, what tourist sites to visit and which session to attend at the PDS Conference in Palm Springs, a storm named Irma started getting everyone’s attention.  First it was going to hit the east coast of Florida then the west and finally the entire state as a category 4 with max winds of 145 mph!

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017

Meetings were being held in order to determine when our Hurricane Preparation Mode was going to kick in.  We received an email on Wednesday morning from our Clerk of Court stating that we were going to be closed both Thursday and Friday.  There was just 1 problem – the Payroll Department had to run 2 payrolls in order to pay 2 companies on time the following week.  It was decided to run the Clerk’s payroll too since our payroll was scheduled to run that Monday and no one knew what kind of impact Irma would have on the area.  So in essence payroll had a huge challenge in front of them – run 3 payrolls in one day for 3 separate pay companies! All while the IT department was in full Disaster mode – preparing the systems, databases and servers for backups and finalizing last minute preparations.

Emails were sent to all Clerk managers/supervisors asking that all employees add to their time cards the hours they would normally be working on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the week ending 9/8.   For the Port Authority and Court Administration, emails were sent asking employees to input their time for Wednesday ASAP.  And all managers/supervisors were asked to approve all time cards by 10:00 am and email Payroll when they were done.

Payroll was off and running by 10:00 am and of course we came across an issue or 2 that we were able to quickly resolve.  Backups for Vista were held off until all processing was completed.  And by 8:06 PM payroll had completed a first – 3 payrolls for 3 different companies in 1 day –   a great accomplishment by the entire payroll office.  Employees were thrilled to know that they would be getting paid on time even if the storm was going to hit.

Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017

Irma hit the Fort Myers area pretty bad and the Clerk’s office was closed the entire week of 9/11/2017.

Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

When we returned to work payroll had another task ahead of them – run payroll for over 2400 employees of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners so that they would be paid on time in 2 days – Wednesday.  It was decided to run a ‘disaster’ pay where everyone would be paid their base hours and any fall out would be cleaned up in the next payroll(s).  Since all of the employees are ‘time card required’ a sql script needed to be run to set the column time_card_ind_code in table empcomp to a ‘0’ for all active employees except for on calls, interns and temps (as more than likely they did not work the prior pay period).  Once the payroll was completed another sql script was executed to change the ‘time_card-ind_code’ back to a ‘1’.

Update empcomp
set time_card_ind_code = 0
where company_code = ‘CNTY’
and hr_status <> ‘Y’
and time_card_ind_code = 1
and def_earn_code not in (61, 64, 21);

But then we realized that we needed to create ’07 No Pay’ records in timeth for the above employees (earn code of 61, 64, 21) so that payroll would balance correctly.  These were created using their default biweekly hours for the ‘time’ column.  So I created a Crystal Report that produced the necessary sql scripts to upload into timeth for 251 employees.

Next we were asked by BOCC HR if we could pay the employees who worked OT during the disaster so that they could receive the extra money in the ‘disaster’ payroll.  Another Crystal Report was created to point to a spreadsheet that contained person_id and OT hours.  These were uploaded into timeth with an earn_code of ’22’.  A total of 300 rows were updated.

Once again the payroll department proved they are the best around as they completed the task and the BOCC was paid on time.

Irma Aftermath

Was there clean up to do?  Absolutely and it did take a couple of payrolls to iron out all of the issues.  Plus to throw in a few more twists it was also the end of our fiscal year and the BOCC had their COLA uploads that had to be completed for over 2400 employees.  However, without prior planning for a disaster where different scenarios are discussed and planned, over 3400 employees would not have been paid on time.  You know that payroll’s phone would have been ringing nonstop!

So is your company ready to pay your employees if a disaster were to happen?   And have you thanked your payroll department lately?  I know I have.

Barbara Cobb
Lee County Clerk Of Courts
Application Architect
Fort Myers, FL