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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Employee-Managed Time Tracking


Encouraging Employee Accountability with Time Clocks

Executive Summary

Accurate time tracking offers obvious benefits and significant challenges to every organization. And because organizations—as opposed to employees—benefit most from accurate time tracking, employers typically bear the burden of managing time tracking activities. However, with the right time clock, employees can be empowered and encouraged to better manage their time-related activities including addressing errors, reviewing schedules, requesting leave time, and taking breaks and meal periods of the appropriate length. Additionally, the right time clock offers benefits to supervisors as well by streamlining time tracking activities and employee management.


The Benefits and Challenges of Time Tracking

 Accurate time tracking is crucial to every organization employing workers because it offers a number of benefits, including:
• Correct, timely payroll
• Ability to track and predict labor trends
• Better labor cost budgeting
• Automated leave accrual
• Accurate historical records
• Government compliance
• Avoidance of wage-and-hour litigation

But accurate time tracking also comes with challenges:
• Incorrect time entry
• Adequate length on lunch periods or breaks
• Missing punches
• "Buddy punching" (where an employee punches in or out for a co-worker who is not present)
• Accurate time accounting among workgroups or departments
• Provision of individual leave time balances
• Coordination of leave requests, including requesting, granting and tracking them

Shifting Accountability for Time Tracking from Employer to Employee

In most cases, handling the challenges of time tracking falls squarely on the shoulders of the employer since these challenges create problems that primarily affect the organization, not the employee. In fact, from an employee’s point of view, the single most important benefit of time tracking is making sure a paycheck correctly reflects worked hours. But it’s possible to encourage employees to actively manage their own time without relying on ineffective techniques like emphasizing the organizational goals for time tracking (trained as consumers, employees are left asking "How does that affect me?") or threatening late paychecks if time is not correctly tracked (typically employees are already aware of this and do what they can to mitigate that risk).

Additionally, once employees are empowered to be more accountable for individual time tracking issues, employers will find some of the administrative burden and challenges of time tracking lifted. Freed from day-to-day headaches such as tracking down missing punches, ending early punches, thwarting "buddy punching," ensuring time is accurately assigned to appropriate workgroups or tracking leave requests and vacation time, supervisors and HR staff can focus on more strategic, long-term priorities.

So, how can employees be positively motivated to actively and accurately manage their own time tracking, taking some of the administrative burden off employers?

Increasing Employee Accountability with Time Clocks

Many employers view time clocks merely as a way to automate the punch in/punch out process. But today’s time clock technology offers significant advantages beyond electronic punching, including encouraging employees to manage their own time and attendance records.

What time clock features should employers consider to best empower employees to manage their own time?

Touch-screen technology. Time clocks with a touch-screen interface generally offer a more intuitive experience, making it less likely to confuse employees and introduce inaccuracies due to incorrect usage.
Error alerts. Most critical to increased employee accountability are alerts that indicate action or information is required from the employee. Because an employee is likely to use a time clock anywhere from two to multiple times per workday, time clocks with alerts prompt employees to take immediate action on important information such as missing punches.
Missing punch entry. Once an employee is alerted that time-related information is incomplete, a time clock easily allows the employee to enter missing punch information immediately on-screen. This encourages faster resolution of missing information.
Department transfer. Employees tracking time between multiple workgroups, teams or departments need a simple way to allocate time accurately according to their schedule or workday rhythm. Time clocks that easily accommodate department transfer encourage accuracy on the part of employee and better labor cost management since time is correctly correlated to appropriate group cost centers.
Schedule review. Time clocks that provide the ability to review schedule and work hour information make it simple for employees to be aware of when and where they are scheduled and to identify any discrepancies, errors or the need to request leave as soon as possible.
Leave balance and benefits review. A common time-related request from employees is leave balance and benefit information. Time clocks can easily make leave accrual, leave balance and leave time taken available to employees securely and at the touch of a screen.
Leave requests. Time-off requests can be a major administrative undertaking, especially during popular times such as holidays. Time clocks that offer the ability for employees to request leave through the interface encourage earlier requests (giving supervisors the ability to better plan their department schedules) and to track their supervisor’s response.
Tip entry. Employees in the hospitality industry benefit from time clocks that prompt tip entry for their completed shift since tip entry functionality encourages accurate and immediate tip reporting.
Automated employee identification. Using biometric scanning, a time clock can readily identify individual employees, protecting an employee’s personal information and making "buddy punching" an impossibility.
Break punch restrictions. Early return from government- or union-mandated breaks or meal periods puts organizations at risk for compliance violations. Time clocks with "minimum time out" punch restrictions do not allow the employee to punch in from a break until the mandatory time minimum for the break is met.

Easing Administrative Tasks for Supervisors with Time Clocks

The right time clock offers significant benefits to supervisors and managers, helping to streamline administrative tasks associated with managing employees’ time-related information. Useful functionalities include:
• Adding missing punches to employees’ time cards when necessary
• Crediting dollars or hours to individual workers
• Marking lunches as paid
• Enabling or disabling punch restrictions
• Transferring employees between workgroups or departments

These features are designed to make typical administrative tasks easier and faster for supervisors, but ultimately the right time clock puts error detection and correction at the fingertips of the employee.



To assume time clocks are simply a tool to automate punching in and out is to sell short today’s multifaceted, multifunctional technology. The right time clock can be a robust tool that encourages accountability and empowers employees to better manage time tracking to the benefit of the individual worker and the overall organization. Allowing employees to address time-related issues individually frees supervisors and HR staff from many day-to-day time administrative tasks and ensures the organization has ready and ongoing access to accurate time-tracking records.

About Attendance on Demand, Inc.
Attendance on Demand employee time and attendance service supports the labor management needs of thousands of companies with more than a half million employees across North America. Launched in 2006, Attendance on Demand is a rapidly deployed, cloud-based solution that minimizes a company’s risk and technology investment while providing advanced features for securely managing labor data – calculating pay rules, scheduling employees, budgeting labor, and automating recordkeeping for labor law compliance. With standard uptime over the industry average of 99.995% and above average customer retention rates, Attendance on Demand removes the worry of maintaining expensive infrastructure. An extensive North American distribution network helps organizations use Attendance on Demand to reduce labor expenses and improve decision making.

IntelliTouch 70
IntelliTouch 70, the latest in time clock technology from Attendance on Demand, puts information at employees’ fingertips. From missed punch alerts to schedule review, leave requests and more, IntelliTouch encourages employee accountability and makes accurate time-tracking as easy as a touch of the finger.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Manage your employees more effectively and without bias!

Attendance on Demand logo

Eliminate Attendance Issues and Boost Productivity with Points System

Staying competitive means streamlining operations and maximizing productivity.
old fashioned time cards
But one of the largest threats to productivity—and your bottom line—is attendance issues. Attendance issues pack a triple-threat: they derail productivity, lower morale and increase labor costs.
Using an attendance points system to reward positive attendance behavior (or to call attention to infractions) is a powerful tool to encourage employees to consider the impact their attendance has on your organization.
Discover the benefits of attendance points and how to implement your own points system--download the white paper Managing Attendance with Points Systems: Reduce Absenteeism, Control Labor Costs and Improve Workforce Management to:
  • Discover how attendance issues directly affect your bottom line
  • Learn the five most useful features in a points system
  • Implement your own points system quickly and effectively

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Thank you all!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Time and Attendance/Payroll Integration....How easy can it really be???


4 Factors of Headache-Free Payroll Integration

Facilitate no-fuss system integration for 2013

As we enter third quarter, now is the ideal time to consider integrating payroll, HR and time and attendance systems to have them up and running and thoroughly tested by January 1st.

Payroll system integration offers several advantages, including faster data-sharing, up-to-the-minute reporting, easy information updating and enhanced interdepartmental collaboration.

Integration sounds like a headache? Look for a solution that offers four key factors to keep integration headache-free:

  • Easy integration of existing systems instead of migrating to a totally new solution
  • Seamless data reporting and sourcing for faster information sharing
  • Simplified data management so changes only need to be entered once
  • Unified interface to keep you from signing into multiple systems

Learn more about how to integrate workforce management systems by downloading the free white paper Workforce Management: Effectively Integrating HR, Payroll and Timekeeping Systems »

Contact PeopleForce Solutions to learn more about how you can integrate a powerful time and attendance solution into your current payroll software.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Comply with the Affordable Healthcare Act with PeopleForce Solutions

Why Your Time and Attendance System Matters NOW

 Beginning in 2014, applicable large employers will be required to report the full-time status of each employee to the IRS. That means the majority of employers who use a 12-month measurement period will rely on 2013 time records to make an accurate determination. The best way to capture accurate time histories is by employing a reliable time and attendance system.

The right time and attendance system will provide employers with accurate hourly calculations to determine the appropriate status of employees, as well as providing other workforce management benefits such as reducing administrative costs and driving productivity.

With the key features noted below, employers can execute an effective determination proces and make accurate decisions about employee status: 

Automatic FTE and average weekly hour calculations
Tools and reports to streamline scheduling for more effective part-time worker management
Screens for reviewing employee status
Budgeting for scheduled and actual hours
Web access, giving managers 24/7 access to reports and tools
Dashboard interface for managers with status alerts
Employee self-service, allowing employees to directly capture hours worked for accurate time reporting
Built-in reporting functionality to run custom or pre-designed determination process reports, providing a valuable paper trail of the organization’s determination efforts

Contact PeopleForce Solutions to learn more about how our Time and Attendance systems can help you comply with the Affordable Healthcare Act.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

There’s a new sheriff in town…….and it’s Time and Attendance!!!!

Police your employee’s attendance habits through Attendance on Demand’s Incidents and Points module.

Incidents & Points is a powerful optional module available for use with the industry-leading Attendance on Demand system. Incidents & Points rewards conscientious employees and flags and notifies employees who need management intervention. Each company can decide how positive or negative an attendance event is for the organization.

Attendance on Demand fully integrated Incidents & Points module offers companies consistent enforcement and application of attendance policies, and will support each company’s attendance policies.

This robust capability allows you to review reports daily, weekly, or monthly to check for trends of tardiness, missing punches, and absences.  As well as provide individual reports of these trends for reviews or disciplinary meetings.  This module can assist your management team in maintaining productive employees, and fairly policing those who may be costing the company through less than stellar attendance.

Read more about using the Incidents and Points module, and how you can really lay down the law easily, fairly and consistently!





Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthcare Reform: Smart Employers Prepare Now

Four Smart Steps 
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) obligates "applicable large employers" to provide affordable, minimum essential health insurance to full-time employees beginning January 1, 2014. Smart employers are taking steps now:
  1. Selecting a look-back period in 2013 to determine the "applicable large employer" designation for 2014.
  2. Counting employees and calculating the designation based on a current snapshot in preparation for the official count and designation after the measurement period.
  3. For applicable large employers, choosing a measurement period, administrative period, and stability period for determining and applying employee full-time status for the purpose of insurance coverage.
  4. Establishing reporting and record-keeping practices for tax purposes.
This article takes a closer look at the applicable large employer designation and the first two steps in using timekeeping to prepare for Affordable Care Act obligations.

Selecting a Look-Back Period
Applicable large employers are subject to the Act. These employers have 50 or more full-time and full-time-equivalent employees on business days during the preceding calendar year.

Most employers' designation will be evident without doing calculations--those well over or significantly under 50 employees can easily tell whether the Affordable Care Act applies to them. If the employer is close to 50 or has a combination of full- and part-time employees, it's essential to carefully calculate the applicable large employer designation.

During the transition year of 2013, employers can choose any consecutive 6-month period (rather than the whole calendar year) as the "look-back period" for calculating their employer designation. This designation applies for the calendar year 2014.

For example, a company can choose March through August as the look-back period for measurement. If calculations reveal 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees, then the company has September through December to evaluate or make healthcare arrangements for its employees.

Calculating Large Employer Status

Employees are considered full-time under the Act if they are paid for 30 or more hours per week, on average, during a month. Employers can alternatively use a monthly average of 130 hours or more. The number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) is the average number of hours worked by part-time employees in a month divided by 120.
Add the number of FTEs to the number of full-time employees. If this sum is 50 or greater, then the organization is an applicable large employer.
Attendance on Demand does the work for you. It lets employers look at different look-back periods, see a snapshot in time, and document their applicable large employer status... online at any time.

Learning More

Our next Compliance InSight tackles the topics of measuring and reporting on full time employees -- the last two steps in using timekeeping to prepare for the Affordable Care Act.

Monday, December 10, 2012

3 Reasons Why Every Business Benefits from a Time and Attendance System

What is a Time and Attendance System?  

A time and attendance system serves three purposes: to capture and calculate time worked, to manage labor and to manage attendance performance.

Time Capture and Calculation
Capturing and calculating time demands efficiency and accuracy. At its most basic level, a time and attendance system tracks start and end times for an employee’s shift, calculating hours worked. Another standard feature includes tracking and calculating paid time off, which helps both the organization and the employee manage leave time. As time capture data increases, organizations can easily calculate gross pay, which is useful in predicting upcoming labor costs. Once time is captured and calculated for a pay period, the information can be provided to payroll services for processing.

Labor Management
More advanced time and attendance systems assist organizations in effectively managing their workforce through scheduling and budget analysis. Some systems feature a manager dashboard with scheduling functionalities to help determine optimal coverage for each shift and track and support departmental transfers.

Because budgets play a key role in effective labor management, a time and attendance system helps managers compare real costs to estimations. Whether it’s comparing scheduled shift to the budget, evaluating the actual budget against the planned budget, or budgeting for planned absences, time and attendance systems provide the information managers need to make smart, cost-effective labor decisions.

With a time and attendance system, managers can also analyze and report on labor hours and expenses in various ways. For example, a manager can examine labor costs by department, determine the financial effect of absenteeism, calculate the cost of overtime and other enhanced pay versus regular hours, and forecast labor costs based on upcoming scheduling and historic trends.

Attendance Performance Management
Attendance issues plague even the most efficient labor budget. A time and attendance system is the ideal tool to monitor tardiness, absenteeism and other problems. If your time and attendance system offers a points system, organizations can assign numeric value to attendance performance, rewarding positive attendance habits and uncovering and addressing negative behaviors before they become chronic. A system can notify supervisors of recurring attendance issues and generate warning or disciplinary letters to employees. Supervisors can even change employment status based on attendance performance as part of their disciplinary procedures.
Why Use a Time and Attendance System?
Even the smallest organizations benefit from a time and attendance system. That’s because, when used efficiently, a time and attendance system reduces labor costs, improves decision-making and automates recordkeeping practices, which becomes especially crucial should the organization find itself subject to a wage and hour inquiry.

Reducing Labor Costs
Automated time capture and calculation reduces payroll expenses by increasing accuracy, thereby reducing or eliminating costly errors. Labor management reduces costs by increasing efficiency in scheduling and coverage, and attendance performance management reduces costs associated with poor attendance habits.

Better Decision-Making
A time and attendance system offers valuable labor-cost analysis based on historical, present and estimated performance. Understanding the labor trends and issues facing the organization, managers are empowered to make better staffing and labor decisions, including reducing overtime and handling attendance issues. For instance, supervisors can run reports that tell which employees are approaching overtime so that an employee with 32 hours logged for the week can be asked to work additional hours versus an employee with 38 hours. Thus, overtime is minimized.

Recordkeeping Best Practices
Time and attendance systems automate many of the basic recordkeeping obligations for non-exempt employees required by FLSA, such as updated employee contact information, shift hours, pay schedule and hourly pay rate. Additionally, the system not only can track FMLA leave time but also track the request and approval process for employees who need to take FMLA leave. Capturing, tracking and reporting this type of information offers organizations an added level of security in the face of potential wage-and-hour or FMLA litigation.

How Does a Time and Attendance System Work?
Every time and attendance system is built for data collection, although the methods for collecting that data may differ according to each system. Data collection methods can include:

• Transactions – These can include shift activity (in-punches, out-punches and transfers) and are normally performed by employees or supervisors at a data collection device.

• Data collection devices – Time recorders (on-site physical devices) or web components (browser-based software accessed over the Internet) collect data and send it to the database.

• Reader mechanisms – Some time recorders have reader mechanisms to identify the employee entering information. Reader mechanisms include PINs (personal identification numbers), magnetic strips or barcode badges, biometrics (such as fingerprint or hand scans) and proximity devices like a badge or fob that emits a radio frequency which identifies it to the time clock.

• Time recorders – Time recorders can be stand-alone clocks assigned to a specific computer but not necessarily to the organization’s network. The time and attendance system polls time recorders, retrieving transactions and writing them to the database. Online, real-time recorders, however, are connected to the computer network, writing directly to the database without polling. Web components also write directly to the database.

Time and Attendance Concepts

Choosing the right time and attendance system is an important task. When choosing a time and attendance system that matches the needs of your organization, it is helpful to be familiar with common terminology and concepts.
Pay Period
A pay period is the amount of time covered by a single paycheck. Length of a pay period varies according to an organization’s pay schedule, but typical pay periods include weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly. When discussing pay periods, they are relative to the current date: the current pay period is the pay period in which today falls.

 Post Date
A pay period is “posted” when all changes are complete and payroll can be run. The post date is typically three to four days after a pay period ends. Payroll Export

Pay period data is exported from the time and attendance system and formatted for specific payroll services or software products. The export file is then imported by the payroll service or software to calculate withholdings and cut checks.

Time Card
A time card is a collection of transactions during the pay period, presented by shift. A “punch” is a transaction indicating the employee has started or ended work (a word taken from time clocks that actually punch a physical time card when an employee starts or ends a shift). An in-punch happens when an employee begins work; an out-punch occurs when an employee ends his or her shift.

Supervisor Edits
Also known as time card edits, supervisor edits are changes or corrections made to a time card by authorized personnel. In many cases, supervisors may edit a time card to add missing punches, credit hours or transfer the employee hours to a different department or cost center.

Pay Designation
Pay designation is a category of pay, such as regular pay, overtime or sick pay. A multiplier is used to calculate rates of pay. For instance, the multiplier for straight time is 1.0. A time-and-a-half overtime multiplier is 1.5, and 2.0 is double-time. This is also known as a pay code.

A deviation from scheduled or expected attendance is an exception. Typical exceptions include a tardy arrival, early leave, absence or a long lunch.

Individuals are defined in a time and attendance system as employees. Employees can include both salaried and hourly workers.

Work Group
A work group is a hierarchical structure for organizing employees. Commonly, a work group is three levels deep (e.g., location-department-shift or department-cost center-team). This helps the time and attendance system allocate labor hours and expenses for an employee.

About Attendance on Demand, Inc.
Attendance on Demand employee time and attendance service supports the labor management needs of thousands of companies with more than a quarter of a million employees across North America. Launched in 2006, Attendance on Demand is a rapidly deployed, cloud-based solution that minimizes a company’s risk and technology investment while providing advanced features for securely managing labor data – calculating pay rules, scheduling employees, budgeting labor, and automating recordkeeping for labor law compliance. With standard uptime higher than the industry average of 99.995% and above-average customer retention rates, Attendance on Demand removes the worry of maintaining expensive infrastructure. An extensive North American distribution network helps organizations use Attendance on Demand to reduce labor expenses and improve decision-making.

For more information, contact Sean McKenna at PeopleForce Solutions.