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Controller's Office Policy Manual

  1. Hours of Operation

Administrative offices of the University are required to be fully staffed and operational from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Regular work hours for all employees of the Controller’s Office shall conform to that requirement (See Summer Hours for exceptions). Employees are expected to be punctual.

Supervisors must staff their respective areas to provide coverage during the Office’s regular work hours. Varied work hours for individuals within a supervisor’s area may be established as long as University required coverage is maintained for that area.

The Office will participate in approved University Summer Hours program as appropriate. Supervisors will be responsible to ensure appropriate staffing levels are maintained within their areas at all times.

    1. Attendance

Controller’s Office employees are expected to be on the job timely and ready to work at the start of each assigned work period. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that work is being done in accordance with their directions and expectations and that the office policies are being adhered to. Supervisors also have a responsibility to point out to employees when they are not satisfied with an employee’s adherence to those policies. A person who does not comply with the office and campus policies may face disciplinary action.

Each employee is assigned a work schedule that defines the start and end of their workday as well as breaks during the day. It is expected that employees will be at their workstation and ready for work at the beginning of their assigned workday and that breaks will be taken in accordance with the established work schedule. Deviations from the established work schedule must be approved in advance by the supervisor.

Attendance is recorded on an exception basis. An employee who is not working his/her normal daily work schedule must fill out an attendance card indicating the type of leave to be charged (vacation, sick leave, jury duty, etc.). Leave must be authorized by their supervisor and given to the receptionist in advance of the time off. Time off of less than one day may be requested the same day, however, an attendance card must be authorized and turned in before leaving. Emergency sick leave is an exception to this policy.

Requests for leave should be requested as far in advance as possible. Supervisors will grant leave requests when possible, however, it should not be assumed that approval will be granted and approvals should be obtained before commitments such as travel arrangements are made. If it is necessary to schedule a dental or medical appointment, every effort should be made to schedule an appointment after work hours or at least as near to the beginning or end of a normal work schedule as possible.

Attendance cards should be filled out completely by the employee indicating the date of absence, proper code for that absence and the employee’s name and ss/emp#. All attendance cards must be signed by the appropriate supervisor.

The employee should not fill out more than one attendance card per week. If it is necessary to add time (worked or taken), the employee should add it to the existing attendance card for that week and have their supervisor initial that day. The cards are held by the receptionist for the week until they are reported to payroll and recorded in the attendance record. All attendance cards are required to be submitted no later than 2:00 PM on Friday or Thursday if it is early payroll that week.

Whenever an employee leaves the office, the supervisor and front desk should be notified. This is necessary to ensure all contacts are properly directed. When leaving the office for an extended period, the supervisor and/or the front desk should know the approximate time of return and where the person can be reached in case of emergencies. This notification is particularly important when all or part of a section is not available (e.g. unit meeting or attending a special luncheon). Coverage for an entire section for such occasions is the responsibility of the supervisor.

If an employee does not report to work but contacts their supervisor to report time off, the employee should call before 9:00 AM and the supervisor or the receptionist will fill out an attendance card for that day to be signed by the employee upon return to work. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to inform the receptionist when an employee will be out for the day. Voice mail is acceptable only for sick leave. Employees must talk to their immediate supervisor or designee for other types of leave.

  1. Rest and Lunch Breaks

Rest breaks of fifteen (15) minutes are authorized for employees in each one-half day of duty. It is expected that supervisors will schedule breaks throughout the workday to ensure adequate coverage of the unit(s).

It is suggested that persons leave the office work area when taking breaks. However, breaks may be taken outside the office or at the person’s work area. If a person chooses to take the break at their desk, the office business decorum must be observed. Actions which may appear to persons as not work related (e.g. reading a newspaper) may reflect negatively on the office and will not be permitted.

It is expected that supervisors will schedule lunch breaks to ensure adequate coverage of the unit(s). Unused time for lunches or breaks do not accrue or carry over.

  1. Paycheck Distribution:

a.  Employees:

Payroll checks for staff in the Controller’s Office are signed out from the Mail Room, by the Controller’s Assistant or Receptionist. They are sorted and distributed on Friday morning usually between 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM and given to each individual personally by the Controller’s Assistant, Receptionist or their designee. Payroll checks will not be left on an employee’s desk or put in an "In" basket. No payroll checks for an absent employee will be given to another employee without written authorization from the absent employee. Payroll checks for absent employees are held by the Receptionist and locked in her desk until they are picked up. After two weeks unclaimed checks are returned to the Payroll Office.

Memoranda pertaining to payroll policies and/or procedures, University information, or employee benefits, etc. are often distributed with payroll checks. Please be sure to read these items.

    b.  Students:

All student employees must sign a Student Payroll Log upon receipt of their payroll check. Checks are never given to another student without written authorization from the student named on the check. Checks are locked at the front desk until they are picked up. After two weeks checks are returned to the Payroll Office.

  1. Overtime, Allowed Time, Compensatory Time and Unpaid Personal Leave
    a.  Overtime/Compensatory Time

    Overtime and compensatory time must be approved in advance by the appropriate Assistant Controller/Associate Controller in consultation with the Controller. Overtime and compensatory time will usually be done on a volunteer basis; however, situations at times may require mandatory assignment. Approval in advance will be made on a weekly basis. Each new week of overtime or compensatory time will require additional approval. Overtime or compensatory time may not be worked during lunch or break periods.

    Compensatory time must be used within one hundred twenty days (120) of the time it is earned. An employee may not accrue more than 240 hours of compensatory time.

    b.  Allowed Time

    Allowed time for participation in work-related organizations or activities requires prior approval by the appropriate Assistant Controller.

    c.  Unpaid Leave

Unpaid leave is a practice, which places an additional burden on the office and should be used only when absolutely necessary. When such leave is necessary, a written request must be submitted to the appropriate supervisor thirty (30) days in advance when the leave is foreseeable. All unpaid leave must be approved by the Controller.

  1. Student Workers

Student workers are a valuable resource of the office. Students are depended upon for a number of support functions and every effort should be made to maximize use of their available time. Although students are assigned to specific areas, managers should be watchful for processing fluctuations, special needs, etc. which provide opportunities for temporarily relocating students to other areas to fully utilize the available student work force.

Time worked by students is recorded on a weekly basis. Student employment time sheets are completed by the students at the end of the week and approved by their supervisors. Information from the time sheets is then transferred to the official University Time Sheets received from Student Employment, and students sign this time sheet before the information is submitted to the appropriate Controller’s Assistant for final approval. An office copy is then made and filed and the original is sent to Student Payroll Office.


    1. Office Closure Policy

a.  Snow Day Policy

Campus policy requires that certain essential services must continue even though the campus is officially closed for classes or other purposes. The Controller’s Office has not been designated as an essential service area and, therefore, when it is announced that the campus is closed it is not expected that employees will report for work. Also, although essential service areas generally provide compensatory time if a person works on an announced snow day, no additional compensatory time will be issued to individuals in the Controller’s Office who choose to work.

An employee who had not been expected to work due to authorized vacations, sick or personal leave will not be granted additional excused time from the inclement weather cancellation and will need to charge the vacation, sick, or personal leave as had been originally designated.

Campus closings are announced on various radio and television stations or can be confirmed by calling (413)545-3630. It is the employee’s responsibility to determine campus operating status.


    b.  Closure for Other Reasons

Department managers have certain latitude to close operations because of extreme temperatures or other extreme conditions. The consistent practice of the Personnel Office has been to delegate to the Department Head or his/her designee, the authority to release employees due to extreme temperatures or other extreme conditions in specific work locations. Before releasing employees, efforts will be made to temporarily reassign employees to other locations where temperatures and other working conditions are normal.

In the event suitable arrangements cannot be made, employees will be released and not be required to charge leave credits for the release time. Please note, however, that an employee who had not been expected to work due to authorized vacation, sick or personal leave will not be granted additional excused time and will need to charge the vacation, sick or personal leave as had been originally designated.

The decision concerning which employees will be released or reassigned rests with the Controller and will be in line with the situation, goals and objectives of the office and the work that must be accomplished.

Unless otherwise specified, employees will be expected to report for work at the beginning of the next workday.

    1. Job Description
    2. Job descriptions should clearly reflect the duties and functions assigned to the position.

    3. Evaluation
    4. Evaluations must be done timely and should provide an accurate and clear description of an employee’s performance during the evaluation period. Where possible, specific actions should be referenced to suggest the evaluation points. Recommendations for improvements should be clearly described and presented in a constructive manner.

    5. Reclassification and Job Description Up-Dates

The Controller’s Office continually changes to meet the needs of the campus. At times these changes result in an adjustment of responsibility for office staff. These adjustments could cause an individual to become improperly classified for the job assigned or the job description to be incorrect.

The reclassification process can be initiated by either the staff member or their supervisor. All position reclassification decisions are made based upon the position’s duties and not the individual in the position.

At times a function may change enough to warrant a job description update. Job descriptions should properly reflect a position’s duties. All revised job descriptions are to be reviewed and signed by the Controller prior to being submitted to Human Resources. Job descriptions should not be filed "with the intent that if the position receives an up-grade then the functions will be performed." The most recent official job description and any proposed changes must be available in the office personnel files at all times.



Controller's Office
Room 405 Goodell Building
140 Hicks Way
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst,  MA 01003-9272
Tel:  (413) 545-0806
Fax: (413) 545-6088

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Last Updated: October 20, 2015