Thesis advisers, panelists facing salary cuts given ‘less burdensome’ repayment plans

Reforms eyed to prevent honoraria payment blunder

NEW REPAYMENT options that are “more convenient” and “economically less burdensome” are being offered to over 100 Artlets faculty members to be affected by a salary deduction that stemmed from a thesis honoraria miscalculation.

UST Arts and Letters Faculty Association (ALFA) President Rene Luis Tadle said several modes of deduction and repayment plans have been introduced for those who were overpaid by half their rate due to a clerical error from the finance office.

“Further, a procedural change will occur to prevent such incidents’ recurrence: The Office of the Dean will now determine and prepare the request for payment for those eligible to receive the amount. This process will undergo further checks and validation by the accounting office,” he said.

Various payment schemes range from an immediate payment to a 36-month plan. Other options are deductions from either their retirement pay; December 2024 pay; cash conversion of sick leave; or from their thesis defense honoraria. They also have the option to pay through the UST Department of Treasury or through wire transfer for those abroad.

Last year, the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance (OVRF) mistakenly used the second term rate in calculating the thesis honoraria of thesis advisers and panelists of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) for the first term of the academic year 2023-2023. The applied rates, which were P1,400 for supervisors and P1,750 for panelists, should have been P700 and P1,050, respectively.

READ: Over 100 Thesis Advisers panelists to face salary deductions due to clerical error

Affected faculty members received their thesis honorarium around August and September 2023 but were only notified of the computation error in December 2023.

Thesis panelists and advisers were given reply slips to reimburse their excess pay either through a one-time full payment or a 12-month return payment plan, while a one-year salary deduction would automatically apply for those who fail to provide the reply slips by Jan. 15.

According to Tadle, the Office of Financial Planning and Business Development is planning to start the salary deductions on April 15 this year and would follow the selected deduction mode of involved faculty members.

AB Dean Prof. Melanie Turingan said the miscalculation has prodded the OVRF to improve its templates to monitor the number of students per adviser and their respective roles as different payment schemes would be used for the thesis colloquium and the defense.

The AB office would also be tasked with computing and requesting the thesis honoraria for faculty members to prevent miscalculations. However, the dean said the plans set for repayment and procedural changes may still be subject to changes.

“It’s because they (OVRF) are still the ones tasked to do the encoding. But just to ensure that units would be informed of (the amount) they would receive or be deducted for, at least we would know those from our end,” Turingan told The Flame.

“Because of the overpayment that happened, it also became a wake up call for the finance office to develop or devise a template, not just for AB but for the rest of the other academic units,” she added.

The dialogue between University officials and affected faculty members began at the start of February this year. F

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