At the moment, most of the salary information can be transferred to the incomes register on time. However, correcting months of incomes register errors is challenging due to their large volume and the characteristics of the salary payment system.
Employees have been added to the incomes register team of Talpa, the body responsible for salary payments, and the team is making a concentrated effort to ensure that the information in the incomes register is correct. The aim is to have all of the information in the incomes register corrected by the deadline set by the tax authorities so that the pre-completed tax forms include correct information when the employees of the City of Helsinki receive them. Contingency plans, support measures and communications plans are being prepared in cooperation with the Tax Administration with attention paid to a situation in which the attempt to correct all the information by the deadline is unsuccessful.
Additional investments into the corrective measures for issues in salary payments
In the city’s budget for this year, EUR 6 million have been earmarked for correcting the issues with salary payments. According to the allocation scheme decision made by the City Manager, a maximum of EUR 3.3 million would be used for the additional personnel costs caused by the stabilisation of salary payments. Additional personnel costs are caused by things such as the temporary support services provided to supervisors and the additional personnel in the payroll unit. Of the EUR 6 million, up to EUR 0.8 million has been earmarked for consultation support and EUR 0.5 million for delay penalties.
Of the delay penalties, EUR 1.3 million was recorded for 2022. The city estimates that, in 2022, the issues in salary payments caused about EUR 4 million of additional costs. In addition to the delay penalties, EUR 1.7 million of the sum concerned Talpa, i.e. the salary costs of the additional personnel in the payroll unit and EUR 1 million in consultation support. The penalties of the Tax Administration were EUR 30,000 and the damages paid to employees amounted to some thousands of euros.
The Sarastia support service of Talpa to expand to cover form consultation for supervisors
One of the support services for supervisors is the expansion of the city’s own Sarastia support service so that it includes form consultation. The consultation service will begin on 13 February and it supports filling in particular Sarastia forms. At first, consultation will be offered to the supervisors of the largest divisions, i.e. the social welfare, health care and rescue services division and the education division. Later on, the service will expand to cover other divisions and the persons preparing the forms. The form consultation concerning Sarastia forms is a temporary service that will operate in 2023. The expectation is that the service will alleviate the workload related to Sarastia and enhance the competence in using the system.
The consultation service requires making an appointment. Supervisors can request the service for assistance in filling in forms related to employment relationships, performing other tasks, family leave and changes in working hours. The forms must be filled in correctly for the payment of salaries to be correct. Consultation for forms related to family leave and changes in working hours will be available from 20 February onwards.
In addition, there is a new Sarastia secretary team that can assist the early childhood education supervisors of the education division in 2023.
Errors in payslips are decreasing
New salary errors continue their downward trend. In 2022, errors were reported in only 5.4 per cent of payslips and, of them, 4.3 per cent were actual salary errors in the payslips. The data from December and January has not yet been confirmed, but the trend is clearly downwards. The number of new errors is lower than when the previous pay system was in use.
After September 2022, the number of uncorrected and completely unpaid salaries has remained below one hundred at the monitoring period checkpoints. Completely missing salaries can be corrected in two days if Talpa has all the required information.
Helsinki continues the concentrated effort to correct the salary errors accumulated in 2022. The aim is to have them corrected by the end of March.
Payroll customer service is still receiving a high number of contacts. However, the number of contacts was at a lower level in November than it was in January 2022, before the introduction of Sarastia. In December and early 2023, the number of contacts started to increase again, which was due to matters that normally relate to the turn of the year and confirmations related to the organisational change in the social welfare, health care and rescue services division.