COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri corrected an error on custodial staff payroll, according to a MU spokesperson, after a $1,000 retention incentive was displayed on the employees’ payroll advice.
Approximately 180 university custodians received notification of the error.
A custodial staff member, who chose to remain anonymous, said they were disappointed to see the incentive removed.
“It hurt,” they said. “We were expecting it and had things to do with it.”
The employee said they first noticed the $1,000 incentive last Thursday, Oct. 8.
The payroll advice is posted once per pay schedule by the university. Employees saw the incentive listed under hours and earnings, which led to the confusion.
MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the incorrectly listed incentive occurred because of a “communication error.”
“We realized it after it had been listed,” Basi said. “We apologize for the confusion that it caused.”
The error was fixed on the payroll, and no incentives were paid to employees.
The employee said they haven’t received any kind of extra payment, apart from overtime pay, after working over 40 hours per week.
“I thought, finally, we’re getting a bonus after working the whole pandemic,” they said. “We weren’t expecting one, but we were excited about it.”
Employees weren’t informed about the change until an email was sent Tuesday by Vice Chancellor of Operations and Chief Operating Officer Gary Ward.
The email said the university was “reviewing a possible retention incentive payment” for MU custodians, but the amount on the paycheck sent Wednesday would only include regular hourly and overtime pay.
The employee said they thought workers deserved the extra payment for the increased hours they’ve worked to keep dorms and buildings sanitized.
“That wears you out, that tears your body down,” the employee said. “It’s been pretty rough.”
The employee said they sometimes work 12 days in a row, only getting every other weekend off.
Basi said custodians have also worked four to six hour shifts during weekends to accommodate custodial staff shortages.