EMPowerSF Updates

The Corrective Action Plan

As we move from Triage (organize the problems) to Stabilize (fix the problems) we will need a fulltime, cross-functional, integrated team to work through the backlog of tickets, EMPowerSF platform issues, and address the root causes of both to stem the flow of payroll incidents; This requires a coordinated, cross functional effort to implement the immediate actions within the plan.


Corrective Action Plan for EmpowerSF

All Updates

The latest public-facing updates on EMPowerSF, including press releases, Board of Education meeting presentations, and announcements.


Check here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This section will be updated on a rolling basis.

Last update: November 18, 2022

What is an overview of the issues with EMPowerSF?

In January 2022, SFUSD transitioned to a new system for payroll, time and attendance, and other human resources’ functions called EMPowerSF, which replaced a number of workflows and processes that had been in place for 17 years. Despite extensive preparation, shifting from antiquated systems and processes to new workflows has resulted in issues that have affected payments for some employees.

As of fall 2022, SFUSD is working on two critical issues. The first is to fix long-standing structural payroll issues related to legacy systems and processes. The second is to address individual payroll issues as they emerge. Working to address both issues simultaneously is a complex undertaking that requires a substantial investment of resources.

What is SFUSD doing to fix these structural and emergent payroll issues?

Here is an overview of recent updates:

November 2022: The District has dedicated extensive resources to address all EMPowerSF issues. In November 2022, the District declared a payroll state of emergency and reallocated significant resources to fixing underlying and emergent payroll issues.

October 2022: The District launched a call center for affected employees to contact with any new payroll-related issues, or to receive updates on previously-reported issues. 

September 2022: The San Francisco Board of Education approved the District's request to hire consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to help clear the backlog of critical employee payroll issues, stabilize the overall EMPowerSF system, and build the necessary capacity within SFUSD to provide ongoing support.

Where can I get updated information about the District's progress towards fixing these issues?

To enhance understanding of progress, SFUSD and A&M will regularly publish progress towards key goals via a public dashboard.

Status presentations will also be provided at every Board of Education meeting until issues have been stabilized. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings. All recordings and related public documents are available here.

Why did the District declare a payroll state of emergency? And what does it mean?

Through the payroll state of emergency, the Superintendent reallocated significant resources to fix the EMPowerSF issues. This became necessary once new information was provided by consultants A&M, which made clear that the underlying payroll challenges were far more substantial than originally known. In response, the District has developed a Corrective Action Plan, which details the next aggressive phase of the District's response to fix payroll issues.

Why didn't the District declare a payroll state of emergency sooner?

The true scope of the issue was not understood until a recent A&M audit update. This is when it became clear that additional resources would be necessary, which is when the District declared a payroll state of emergency.

The payroll state of emergency includes a corrective action plan. What is in the plan?

The District's corrective action plan includes four key components:

  1. Creating a new Command Center with a 60-person Corrective Action Team. This team includes reassigned SFUSD staff, additional A&M and Infosys staff, and additional contract payroll specialists. The Command Center will focus on clearing the backlog of tickets, and institute long term fixes to our payroll systems to prevent new issues.
  2. Identifying Key Goals, which will include reducing the overall number of help tickets, reducing the number of impacted employees, and closing more tickets than are being opened each month. 
  3. Tracking Progress towards these key goals by monitoring the number of new tickets, whether the overall backlog is increasing or decreasing, how long tickets are open, and the average number of days it takes to resolve tickets.
  4. Creating a Public Dashboard that will be updated frequently with the District's progress towards meeting these goals.

Will the payroll state of emergency impact the Board-approved timeline for fixing these issues?

While the full scale of the emergency is still being determined, SFUSD, with the support of A&M, will continue to investigate the root causes of systems failure and take preventative measures.

What is the progress on closing EMPowerSF tickets?

Please see the dashboard for updates on the current status.

Why haven't the EMPowerSF issues been resolved?

Unfortunately, some of the problems related to payroll processing and posting pay have existed prior to EMPowerSF and were exacerbated by the system transition. The fixes are not simple and will require more time than the District would like given current staffing challenges. The District is working with A&M to institute a Corrective Action Plan to address individual employee cases and to permanently fix the root cause of widespread issues so that all employees are made whole. The District would like to thank the staff who are working diligently to address every support request that comes in as quickly as possible.

How many people are currently experiencing payroll issues?

Please see the dashboard for information about impacted employees.

What kind of support is available to employees who are being impacted by EMPowerSF issues, including for those who are missing paychecks?

Employees can alert the District to any payroll issues by filing an electronic ticket or by reaching out to the Call Center. As soon as an employee ticket is received by the District, SFUSD prioritizes and triages the ticket to ensure those related to non-payment are addressed first. The District has added staffing resources by temporarily re-assigning District staff to ensure these issues can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Staff Resources

SFUSD employees can log in with their credentials to access the full suite of EMPowerSF tools and resources, including training, office hours, live support, employee-only updates, and more.

This page was last updated on September 13, 2023