Common queries (HR Self-Service)

The content of this page is aimed at staff with HR responsibilities. For general FAQs aimed at all staff, click here.

This page covers common queries received from staff with HR responsibilities and employees relating to HR Self-Service. We hope that the information below will help you to answer many of the questions received from staff in your department. Please also refer to the HR Self-Service go-live guide (670kb) for further information.

1. Access

1. Will HR Self-Service be available to casual staff in the future?

HR Self-Service will be provided to all employees with a CMS University contract of employment. There are no immediate plans to make the system available to casual workers but this will be reconsidered once the service is well-established.

2. Will University employees based in colleges be able to access HR Self-Service?

HR Self-Service is accessible via the University network. This means that all colleges and departments using the centrally-provided internet resource (the network provision managed by IT Services, known as Odin), can access HR Self-Service.

Non-University buildings that use internet provisions from other suppliers will be required to use the IT Services VPN service to access the system.

3. Can staff access HR Self-Service at home?

Initially, HR Self-Service is available via the University network only. However, staff can access the system off-site using a VPN connection (note that access to VPN  is via local arrangements and will not be facilitated by the project).

Following a system upgrade in early 2019, HR Self-Service will be accessible from any location, on any device with an internet connection.

4. What are the options for staff who have limited, or no access to a computer at work?

During the current phase of the project, paper payslips will continue and departments should retain their existing processes for making personal data updates (via CoreHR back office) for those staff who cannot easily access a PC at work. Guidance will be provided to departments on how they can enable these staff to check their data in accordance with GDPR requirements.

In readiness for the withdrawal of paper payslips in early 2019, departments will be asked to consider ways in which they can support staff who do not have their own work PC to access Self-Service and retrieve their payslips. The project team will shortly be contacting departments to provide technical advice to those who are considering setting up hot desk PCs or 'kiosks' for this purpose.

5. Do all staff get an SSO?

In most cases, University staff are issued with an Oxford Single Sign On account. For more information about SSO and eligibility, visit https://help.it.ox.ac.uk/iam/registration/service_entitlements.

6. Is HR Self-Service compatible with Apple Mac devices?

Yes, HR Self-Service is browser-based and can be used on an Apple Mac device.

2. Bank details

1. An employee has noticed that their bank details are incorrect in ESS. What should they do?

Unexpected bank details may appear in ESS for a number of reasons:

  • Some bank names may be out of date as a result of a bank having changed its name or having merged with another bank, since the original details were supplied by the employee.
  • Some bank addresses may be out of date as a result of a bank having changed its location since the original details were supplied by the employee.
  • Some employees may be seeing a different bank name because a smaller bank may either use a larger bank as its ‘clearing bank’ or may be owned by a bigger banking group.

Provided the bank account number and sort code are correct, then no action is required. An incorrect bank description will not effect on the payment of salary.

2. How will changes to bank account details be verified in HR Self-Service?

The process to verify changes to bank details made via Self-Service is not yet finalised. The HR Self-Service Project Team received some useful feedback at the briefing sessions and work is underway to refine the process. An update will be shared in the coming weeks.

Note that CoreHR have been asked to make an enhancement to this area of the system and, consequently, it is expected that the ability to update bank details via Self-Service will be available shortly after the initial launch.

3. Communications

1. What is included in the communications toolkit?

A communications toolkit will be shared with communications contacts and key HR contacts in each department prior to go-live. This will include

  • Text for local newsletters/bulletins
  • Email text for local onward dissemination
  • Presentation slides for departments to deliver to staff (optional)

4. Data in HR Self-Service

1. What is being done to improve the quality of continuous service data?

We are aware that there have been a number of queries raised following the launch of ESS, relating to incorrect Continuous Service data. In the August 2018 HRIS Bulletin, the HRIS Support Centre released guidance on how this can be corrected. If you have any questions relating to Continuous Service data corrections, please contact the HRIS Support Centre at hr.systems@admin.ox.ac.uk.

NB Continuous Service and long service leave are separate terms, with different implications. Some staff may confuse the two when reviewing the continuous service data displayed in ESS.

Continuous Service
is defined as the period of service as an employee on a CMS contract of employment with the University of Oxford (with no breaks). Continuous Service is used to identify entitlement to certain employment benefits, such as sick pay and maternity leave pay. Long service leave is a University scheme, offering additional holiday for long service. The amount of long service leave is normally based upon an employee’s length of continuous service within higher education.

2. How do I correct the employment start dates displayed in ESS?

If an employee notices an incorrect employment start date in ESS, review the employee’s record in the back office to ascertain the reasons behind the date displayed (eg could be due to an appointment change). If you believe this is a system error (in the back office), which you cannot correct yourself, please seek advice from the HRIS Support Centre.

3. How do I amend an incorrect job title and/or department displaying in ESS?

We are aware that a small number of employees have their previous job text and/or department displayed in ESS, although their data in the back office is accurate. This can be corrected in the back office by following QRG IP6 section E, to correct the error without creating a new appointment sequence. You should re-select the job title and re-enter the job text for the employee. In the comments field you can write ‘Re-entering job title to solve ESS display issue’.

4. Will HR staff be able to view all employees in their department in Self-Service?

CoreHR continues to be the primary source of information for staff with HR responsibilities. However, if you wish to view employees in your department within the HR Self-Service interface, you will need to be assigned as an HR Self-Service manager (and staff added into the appropriate work group). This will give you a different and more limited view of the same information that you can currently see in the CoreHR back office. This approach is not recommended, except where there is no other appropriate individual to be allocated as the 'Self-Service Manager'. Advice on this subject has been provided to nominated key contacts as part of the Manager Self-Service data collection exercise.

5. Will employees on fixed-term contracts be able to see the end dates of their contract in HR Self-Service?

No. Employees will be able to see that they are on a fixed-term contract (provided they have been assigned the correct employee status in the back office) but the actual end date of the fixed-term contract is not visible in Self-Service.

6. Will Self-Service managers be required to sign a data protection agreement before they have access to MSS?

Data protection and access to personal data is covered by the CMS University contracts of employment. It is the responsibility of all staff to comply with data protection law. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018. A University-wide improvement programme took place to implement changes and improvements (led by the Information Compliance Team with representatives from across the institution). More information about the changes, and related improvements, can be found on the University's Data Privacy webpages

It is also University Policy that all staff must complete information security awareness training. It is the responsibility of the Heads of Divisions, Heads of Departments and Faculty Board Chairs to ensure staff complete this training. For more information, visit the InfoSec website.

7. Why can some employees see information under ‘Allowances History’ (within the Pay tab of ESS) when they don’t receive any allowances?

Payroll record deductions under the Childcare Voucher Scheme (Computershare) and the University’s Nursery Salary Sacrifice Scheme as a negative allowance in the CoreHR system. If you currently or have previously subscribed to one/both of these salary sacrifice schemes you will see the history of the annualised figures (recorded as a negative) in this screen. For example, if you receive £243 in childcare vouchers per month you will see an annual value of -£2,916.00 displayed in your record.

8. Why can some employees see a negative value under ‘Allowances History’ (within the Pay tab of ESS)?

The Payroll team record deductions under the Childcare Voucher Scheme (Computershare) and the University’s Nursery Salary Sacrifice Scheme as a negative allowance in the CoreHR system. If you currently or have previously subscribed to one/both of these salary sacrifice schemes you will see the history of the annualised figures (recorded as a negative) in this screen. For example, if you receive £243 in childcare vouchers per month you will see an annual value of -£2,916.00 displayed in your record.

5. HRIS Data Service and UAS users

1.  I don’t have access to the CoreHR back office and usually go through UAS Personnel/HRIS Data Service to make changes. How does this affect me?

UAS/Data Service will continue to make changes on behalf of UAS/HRIS Data Service departments as they do currently, except where employees are able to make updates themselves directly through HR Self-Service.

2. Will the forms used by HRIS Data Service users be updated to reflect the changes introduced with HR Self-Service?

Yes, all relevant forms will be updated to include the 'Work Group' field. HRIS Data Service users will follow the same new processes for requesting new manager access and work group creation as all other departments.

6. Leave and absence

1. When will the leave and absence module be available?

A second phase of the project will deliver the leave and absence module. Timescales have not yet been agreed but work on this will not commence until the upgrade has completed (currently targeted for early 2019).

2. We are planning to implement TeamSeer in our department imminently. Should we reconsider in light of the plans to introduce an absence module in CoreHR?

University-wide adoption of HR Self-Service, including the leave and absence module, presents great benefits to the institution as a whole and departments will be expected to transfer from their existing leave systems once the CoreHR absence module is available. However, implementing TeamSeer at this stage is likely to make the transition to CoreHR easier than moving from a paper or email based system so, provided you do not commit to a contract, there is no reason not to proceed.

3. If a line manager is not a 'Self-Service Manager', how will they approve leave once the CoreHR leave and absence module is available?

The system can accommodate annual leave approvers who are not the allocated Self-Service Manager but maintaining multiple roles would create an additional overhead. The options will be fully explored as part of the second phase of the project.

7. Manager Self-Service (MSS)

1. What information can managers see about their team members in Manager Self-Service?

Self-Service managers can see the following information about their immediate team members:

  • Name
  • Personal and work contact details (home address, email address, phone number);
  • Emergency contact details;
  • Contract and pay details (start date, contract status (eg fixed-term), FTE, grade, increment due date and salary history);
  • Other information; right to work and HESA staff ID.

2. Can managers view details of employees beyond their immediate team? For example, can they see details of staff managed by their direct reports?

Self-Service Managers can view basic information about staff who are managed by their direct reports, such as contact details, emergency contact(s) and right to work details. However, they will not be able to view any contract and/or pay, or diversity information.

3. Can a Self-Service Manager own more than one work group?

Yes, Self-Service Managers can be allocated to multiple work groups. These work groups can also be across different departments and divisions (see Question 4). However, where applicable, appropriate authorisations must be sought from the department/division to protect data integrity.

4. Can Self-Service Managers access a work group from another department/division?

Yes. There may be situations where someone is employed by one department but their manager is in another department, or the work group itself needs to comprise staff from different departments. The system can cope with this but you will need to liaise with the relevant department(s) in order to agree the work group allocation.

5. Who determines which staff are assigned as Self-Service Managers?

Departmental HR staff and/or departmental administrators will determine the most appropriate staff member to be assigned as 'manager' for the purposes of HR Self-Service, in consultation with senior managers within the department, where required.

6. In some cases, it is not appropriate to give a line manager access to personal data about their team. Is there an alternative?

Yes. It is not mandatory for line managers to be assigned the role of 'Self-Service Manager'. In some cases (for example in academic teams) it may be more appropriate for this person to be an administrator or HR professional. Further guidance has been provided to key contacts as part of the MSS data collection exercise.

7. Can employees see who their HR Self-Service manager is?

Yes. The Self-Service Manager is listed on the 'Contract' screen within the 'Contract(s) and Pay' tab in 'My Profile' are of HR Self-Service.

8. How do we provide updates on staff changes, once we have submitted our data to the MSS data collection exercise?

You will be asked to run a report of your team and line management structure, which will output the data that you provided during the MSS data collection exercise. You will be asked to make updates in the back office where you can, or to send these changes to the project team for action. Full details will be communicated to key contacts in due course.

9. What is the benefit to managers of being able to view their team's details?

Manager Self-Service provides managers with instant access to data that is relevant to their roles. This includes information required for budgeting purposes and contact details should they need to contact members of their team or their nominated contact in the event of an emergency.

10. Will an employee on secondment, who is a Self-Service Manager, continue to have access to their substantive team in MSS, as well as their new team? Can this be removed whilst they're on secondment?

If it is not appropriate for an employee to retain view of their team’s records (ie work group) for their substantive post, departments will need to raise a HEAT request asking for the employee’s MSS access to that particular work group to be removed. When the employee returns from their secondment their department will need to raise another HEAT request for them to be set up as the Self-Service Manager of that work group again.

11. Will Self-Service managers be required to sign a data protection agreement before they have access to MSS?

Data protection and access to personal data is covered by the CMS University contracts of employment. It is the responsibility of all staff to comply with data protection law. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018. A University-wide improvement programme to implement changes and improvements (led by the Information Compliance Team with representatives from across the institution). More information about the changes, and related improvements, can be found on the University's Data Privacy webpages

It is also University Policy that all staff must complete information security awareness training. It is the responsibility of the Heads of Divisions, Heads of Departments and Faculty Board Chairs to ensure staff complete this training. For more information, visit the InfoSec website.

8. Payslips, P60s and other pay information

1. Can staff download and/or print their payslips and P60s?

Yes, if required, staff can download and/or print a copy of their payslip or P60. The 'How To' guide for employees will cover how to do this. Once paper payslips are no longer provided next year, staff will be advised to download and save their electronic payslips and P60s.

2. Will I be able to view payslips dating back beyond 2018?

Online payslips will be available back to May 2013 and P60s back to the tax year ending 2015 (or the employee's start date if they joined the University later than this).

3. What are the options for staff who require a paper/"original" payslip for visa applications or other legal processes?

Paper payslips will continue to be provided to all staff until Self-Service is made available outside of the University network (expected to be early 2019). At this stage, we will ensure that staff are able to obtain a paper payslip in exceptional circumstances where a legal process requires it, for example, specific visa or benefits application processes. It should be noted, however, that online payslips are accepted by most banks and building societies as proof of income.

4. Will there be a charge to departments when requesting a printed payslip from Payroll?

This will be decided as part of the upgrade project, after which paper payslips will no longer be provided to the majority of staff. We will continue to involve union representatives in all decisions that impact staff.

5. Why can some employees see information under ‘Allowances History’ (within the Pay tab of ESS) when they don’t receive any allowances?

Payroll record deductions under the Childcare Voucher Scheme (Computershare) and the University’s Nursery Salary Sacrifice Scheme as a negative allowance in the CoreHR system. If you currently or have previously subscribed to one/both of these salary sacrifice schemes you will see the history of the annualised figures (recorded as a negative) in this screen. For example, if you receive £243 in childcare vouchers per month you will see an annual value of -£2,916.00 displayed in your record.

6. Why can some employees see a negative value under ‘Allowances History’ (within the Pay tab of ESS)?

Payroll record deductions under the Childcare Voucher Scheme (Computershare) and the University’s Nursery Salary Sacrifice Scheme as a negative allowance in the CoreHR system. If you currently or have previously subscribed to one/both of these salary sacrifice schemes you will see the history of the annualised figures (recorded as a negative) in this screen. For example, if you receive £243 in childcare vouchers per month you will see an annual value of -£2,916.00 displayed in your record.

9. Right to work

1. How will Right to Work processes be impacted by Self-Service?

The Right to Work screen in Self-Service is read-only and cannot therefore be updated by staff. It will show the data that has been completed in the CoreHR back office and will be instantly updated in Self-Service when a change is made to this data.

NB If residential (ie home) address details are changed in Employee Self-Service by employees who are Tier 2, 4 or 5 visa holders, there may be a requirement for the employee to report their address change to the police (subject to their visa conditions and/or their nationality). Departments should therefore remind any such employees of their responsibility to do this. Departments do not need to contact the Staff Immigration Team regarding residential address updates for visa holders, unlike changes of work address, which must be reported. The Home Office may from time to time request a visa holder’s history of address details, thus having an accurate and up-to-date record in CoreHR will enable departments to provide this information should it be requested.

10. Updating records in Employee Self-Service

1. If I make a change to an employee record in CoreHR back office, will the individual be notified in HR Self-Service?

Employees will not receive an automatic alert when a change is made in the back office to their record. However, the information will be instantly overwritten in Self-Service, and thus they will be able to view any changes made by logging into Self-Service and reviewing their details.

2. Will departmental HR contacts be alerted when an individual updates any details in HR Self-Service?

Departmental HR contacts will not receive an automatic alert when employees make a change through Self-Service. We are also currently discussing with the Equality and Diversity Unit the potential for employees to be provided with further information by email, including sources of support, if they indicate they have a disability or make a change to their gender identity. We are also considering sending automated emails to employees if they update their bank details once this functionality is available.

3. Is it possible for an employee to delete their emergency contact details?

Yes, it is possible for an employee to remove their emergency contact details. However, the key message to staff will be to review, update and maintain their data to ensure that it is as accurate and complete as possible.

4. Can employees update their home address to an overseas location?

All employees who are subject to UK tax payments must provide a UK address whilst they work for the University. This is essential for HMRC and pension purposes.

Pension eligibility: There are restrictions to pension enrolment for overseas workers. If the individual was working overseas permanently rather than on a temporary basis, they will no longer be eligible. In this instance, please notify your Payroll Office in Finance.

Mailing payslips: If an individual’s payslip needs to be posted to an alternative address (whilst paper payslips are still issued), an additional action is required within the Back Office. The departmental HR contact should setup a LABEL Address and notify their Payroll Officer in Finance so that the correct payslip flag is set manually within the Core Pay module.

5. Can employees update their bank details to an overseas account?

No, employees will only be able to pick a UK bank in the system. The University does not ordinarily make payments into non-UK bank (ie overseas) accounts. Where a department appoints a non-UK national who will also work and live outside the UK, the Payroll team should be contacted in advance for advice on payment of salary.

6. How can I monitor changes made by employees in HR Self-Service?

Changes made by employees in HR Self-Service will appear in the PERDEP20 Monthly Changes report, which will be updated to show whether the changes were made via Employee Self-Service or back office. Departments will be able to report on all editable fields within Self-Service, excluding diversity data.

7. Will the PERDEP20 Monthly Changes report show changes made to date of birth and gender (ie legal sex)?

Yes, these will be clearly identifiable in the report.

11. Work groups

1. What happens when an employee has more than one manager?

If an employee has two line managers as a result of working in two separate jobs (set up as separate appointments in CoreHR) each manager will only see the information related to that employee's role in their team. Where an employee has two managers for the same role (eg job share managers) both can be assigned as managers for that work group.

2. Can an employee be allocated to more than one work group?

Yes, provided that they have separate appointment(s) set up in CoreHR for each job. An employee can only be allocated to one work group per appointment.

3. Can we change manager allocations before go-live?

Yes, you will be given an opportunity to review and correct or update your line management and team structures as close as possible to the launch of Manager Self-Service for your area.

4. If an employee is not assigned to a work group will they still be able to access Employee Self-Service?

Yes. All employees with a CMS University contract of employment will have access to Employee Self-Service, regardless of whether or not they are allocated to a work group.

5. Will there be a report available to show work group allocations?

Yes, a report will be made available to show work group allocations and who manages each work group. Details of the report will be provided prior to Manager Self-Service go-live.

6. When an employee transfers to a new department within the University, what action needs to be taken from the approving and receiving department?

The approving department does not need to take any action. The receiving department should reassign the employee to the appropriate work group as part of the appointing process in Core Personnel.

7. If an employee works in more than one department, will they appear in more than one work group?

Yes, provided that they have separate appointment(s) set up in CoreHR for each job. Each department will allocate the appropriate work group for the appointment within their department.

8. Can a Self-Service Manager be assigned to more than one work group?

Yes, a Self-Service Manager can have as many multiple work groups as needed.

9. Will an employee on secondment, who is a self-service manager, continue to have access to their substantive team in MSS, as well as their new team? Can this be removed whilst they're on secondment?

If it is not appropriate for an employee to retain view of their team’s records (ie work group) for their substantive post, departments will need to raise a HEAT request asking for the employee’s MSS access to that particular work group to be removed. When the employee returns from their secondment their department will need to raise another HEAT request for them to be set up as the Self-Service Manager of that work group again.