Employee Workday Help


Last updated Monday, April 8, 2024

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An underpayment occurs when you receive less than your correct pay.

Not all underpayments require your department to submit a request for an underpayment payment to be issued; once a corrective transaction and/or business process has been completed and approved in Workday, run your Earnings and Actuals report during the Payroll Calculation Window to confirm the retro payment is included in the employee’s pay results.

If the retro payment is missing, a request for an underpayment can be submitted by your department for the Payroll Office to issue payment. Depending on the circumstances, underpayments are corrected by issuing either:

  1. a Retroactive (“Retro”) Payment to the employee, included in their next, regularly-scheduled paycheck
  2. an On-Demand Payment to the employee, in the form of an emergency check or off-cycle payment.

The process for requesting either of these payment types is described below.

Retro Payments

To help prevent delays in issuing payment to an employee, all Retro Payment requests must be submitted via the Retro/On-Demand Payment Request form, linked below.

Submit a Retro Payment request

Retro Payment requests received by 1:00 pm on the Additional Payroll Request Deadline (visit the Payroll and HCM Calendar) will be processed and included for that payday. Any Retro Payment requests received after the deadline will be processed the following payday.

Reminder: Since a Retro Payment is often triggered by a Workday transaction or business process, remember that the corrective transaction or business process must have been entered and approved in Workday before the payment can be issued.


Most changes will be reflected in the employee’s paycheck. In general, changes made using HCM or Time and Absence processes will cause Workday to correct any existing overpayments or underpayments retroactively. Workday adjusts the gross pay amounts based on the changes and also adjusts the appropriate gross to net items (taxes, dues, retirement, etc).

Yes, usually, corrections are “automatic,” meaning Workday will make the appropriate adjustments to pay after retroactive entries (eg, absence corrections or FTE changes) are made and approved.

However, in some instances – referred to as “unsupported retro transactions – Workday cannot make corrections automatically. “Unsupported retro transactions” include processes that have an effective date prior to Workday go-live (June 16, 2017), and transactions completed on employees who are either terminated or on leave. Some transactions can also be “unsupported” due to complexity, such as when an employee has had multiple changes to their job, FTE, or other elements of their worker data. If you think your retroactive transaction will be “unsupported,” please read below to learn how to ensure your changes are successful.

When you complete a retroactive transaction, the resulting pay adjustments will appear on your Earnings and Actuals reports, which you can start running once the Pay Calculation Window opens – refer to the Payroll and Workday Approval Deadline Calendar. If the adjustment doesn’t show up on your reports, please follow the steps outlined on this page for overpayments or underpayments.

Once the Payroll Office is notified of the issue, the Payroll Office will monitor that employee throughout payroll calculation, and will resolve your ticket when the adjustment is successfully completed. Departments should check their Earnings and Actuals after receiving the confirmation email from the Payroll Office to confirm the employee was paid based on the transaction and business process submitted by the department for the pay period.

Costing Allocations do not function retroactively in Workday. This means that changing a Costing Allocation on wages that have already been paid will have no effect on your budgets. Similarly, you cannot backdate Costing Allocations in anticipation of a retro payment.

For example, if you were to enter an FTE change on June 1, 2020 with an effective date of February 1, 2020 increasing a worker from 75% to 100%, the employee would be owed retro pay for the previous four months. That pay will always be costed based on the Costing Allocations that were effective during the period in which the retro is paid. If an employee is paid from an incorrect budget, you will need to complete salary transfers in order to correct the error.

On-Demand Payments (Off-Cycle Checks)

The Payroll Office can process an On-Demand Payment request in the following scenarios; all other requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis:

  • If the employee has not received pay for the current pay period
  • If the employee is missing 15% or more of their paycheck (15% refers to missing 15% or more of hours worked in a pay period and does not include: salary rate adjustments, exception time or supplemental earnings)
  • For student employees (GSA or otherwise), the gross amount of the check request must be $75 or more
  • In an emergency situation such as: the employee will be evicted, unable to pay medical bills, unable to support family, pay for childcare, or similar situations (these will be qualified on a case-by-case basis)

The Payroll Office cannot process an On-Demand Payment request for:

  • Excess compensation and other similar supplemental payments
  • Exception time (i.e., O/T, S/T, shift differential)
  • Standard retroactive salary increases
  • Separation payments

To request an On-Demand Payment, complete the Retro/On-Demand Payment Request form, linked below. To help prevent delays in issuing payment to an employee, all On-Demand Payment requests must be submitted via the form.

Submit an On-Demand Payment request

When submitting your On-Demand Payment request, please note the following:

  • Requests must be submitted on behalf of an employee; employees cannot request an On-Demand Payment for themselves.
  • Emergency checks will be issued to the employee either as a direct deposit using their payment election on file in Workday, or as a paper check, mailed to the employee’s designated Mailing address in Workday.
  • Checks cannot be issued before the payday in which the hours were worked. The University of Washington does not provide cash advances of payroll funds.

Please allow 72 hours processing time for On-Demand Payment requests. You, and anyone you add to the “Additional Recipient” field(s) in the request form, will receive an emailed response from the Payroll Office when the payment is processed. You can track the progress of your case online at My Requests.