The Top 10 Best-Kept Secrets of Time and Attendance Systems
Want to get in on a few secrets?
Most people know the basic premise of time and attendance software systems: electronically capturing employee time, clocking in and out, reporting on employee time.
But we wanted to go further and find those “hidden nuggets” — little-known features that can bring a lot of value to school districts! So we pulled some statistics from our time and attendance management tools (formerly VeriTime) in Frontline Absence & Time, to see how districts are using the tools available.
The following is our list of the Top 10 little-known features that offer the biggest opportunity for increasing accuracy and efficiency in your time-keeping.
1. Integration With Payroll
Many districts, even those using an electronic time and attendance system, are still wasting effort on manual processes, especially re-entering employee time into their payroll system.
The good news is that many time and attendance systems offer the ability to integrate with your payroll system. For example, the Report Writer tool in Frontline Absence & Time allows you to export your attendance data in a format you can easily import into payroll. Most companies offer a variety of custom options, as well, that help you automate even more of the process.
Also underused, the Payroll Review report and other payroll checkpoints help you verify your data and reduce mistakes in payroll.
2. Digital Authorization
Most districts with time and attendance systems are using a basic approval process to reduce paper and improve accountability. But many are not using additional digital options that would maximize these benefits.
Some systems allow districts to require digital supervisory approval and signature — meaning supervisors must electronically approve or even sign electronic timesheets before they can move to the payroll departments. A robust, K-12 focused system will also offer many options to control visibility and set multiple levels of approval.
Some systems also provide the option to require digital confirmation or signatures from employees. This feature improves accountability from employees as they are reporting their time.
3. One-Click Kiosk
Without this feature, employees who work multiple jobs would have to go through a several-step process every time they clock in and out for various jobs throughout the day.
With a “one-click kiosk mode,” time and attendance systems allow employees to clock in once at the start of the day and once at the end — and the system automatically fills in the day’s events based on the employee’s expected schedule. This feature is an especially big benefit for employees who consistently work two or more positions per day that are charged to different account codes.
4. Rounding Rules
Using paper methods to accurately capture and pay for time actually worked is extremely difficult — and one of the reasons why many districts turn to an electronic time and attendance system.
However, even with a time and attendance system, district could be overpaying employees by not using proper rounding rules. Our data found that most districts have a rule to round time to the nearest 15 minutes, but this can result in districts paying for time that was not actually worked. For example, an employee may clock in before he or she is supposed to, have some coffee, and then begin work — and get overpaid as a result.
By using more specific rules, districts can accurately pay only for time actually worked. You can use rounding rules to do things like:
— Set different rounding rules for clocking in early or late — Set different rounding rules for shift start or shift end — Round time to the employee’s scheduled time
5. Comp Time & Leave Balances
Tracking comp time and leave balances is another very important (but sometimes overlooked) feature of time and attendance systems for K-12.
Whenever an employee accrues comp time, districts need to track that time and if it is accrued or paid as overtime. Districts also need to track absences taken against comp time and the remaining balance.
All of this can be managed electronically with a good time and attendance system. In addition, a system that integrates with your absence management system provides additional value by matching employee absences in one system to comp time balances in the other.
6. Affordable Care Act Reporting
By now, you’ve probably heard that the Affordable Care Act will require most districts to track and report on employee hours. Any employees working an average of 30 or more hours a week (or 130+ hours a month) could be eligible for benefits.
Thankfully, some time and attendance systems now offer special reports built specifically for this need in K-12. For example, the report below from Frontline Absence & Time allows districts to view employees’ average hours worked over any period of time (you can choose your own 3-12 month look-back period). It will even merge (for the report) employees who are working multiple jobs, in order to view their cumulative hours across the district.
You can toggle between both the 30 hour/week limit and the 130/month limit, and the report will show you employees who are under, over or near the threshold. Additionally, you can search for a date range in the future and review if employees’ scheduled hours will push them over the threshold.
7. Wage Options
It’s not easy to keep track of everyone’s specific pay rates. But a good time and attendance system, built for district needs, will allow you to keep all these “ducks in a row.”
A wage options feature will allow you to assign an employee or a group of employees to a specific pay rate based on job type, pay range and seniority step. This rate could be hourly, monthly or a fixed stipend.
8. Kiosk IP Blocking
Did you know that some time and attendance systems allow you to actually block users from clocking in from the wrong location?
This lesser-known feature identifies the employee’s IP address (the location of their Internet connection) and can actually prevent employees from clocking in from home, for example, when they are supposed to be reporting to another location.
9. Clock Exceptions
Do you know when your employees are clocking in early, late or not at all?
Our data shows more districts could be using the Clock Exceptions report to view anything outside the norm of the scheduled hours, whether it’s early/late clock-ins or a missed time punch. Plus, you can sort and filter by date range, location, job type and more.
10. Email Notifications
It’s hard to remember all the tasks you need to address regarding time and attendance. What some administrators don’t know is that many time and attendance systems can send both administrators and employees helpful email notifications and reminders.
For example, administrators may want to be notified when timesheets are submitted, when they are not submitted, or when they need to be approved. Employees may want to be notified when their timesheets are past due, have been approved or have been rejected.
Allison (Ali) Wert is the former Content Marketing Manager of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. She has nearly 10 years' experience writing about education topics, including best practices for K-12 strategic human capital management. Under her leadership, the team at Frontline was recognized as the Winner of CMA's 2017 Project of the Year and Best Content Marketing Program.