The Top 10 Favorite Features of Time and Attendance Systems
A 2011 research study showed that more than 60% of organizations were using automated time-keeping. In just the last few years, that number has gone up even more due to the Affordable Care Act, budget pressures and an emphasis on improving efficiency in operations.
So how are districts using their time and attendance systems?
We took a look at the data we had from the time and attendance management tools (formerly VeriTime) in Frontline Absence & Time, and picked a few of the most popular and useful features to share. Here are some of the favorites!
Top Features of Time and Attendance
1. Timesheet Approval
Want to improve the accuracy of your employee time-tracking? Of course you do!
To accomplish this goal, most districts with a time and attendance management system are using a timesheet review and approval process. Most districts, at the very least, require a manager to approve timesheets before they go to the payroll department. Your system should allow you to set this process up just the way you want, determining the levels of approval needed. Managers can review employee time and then approve or reject the time.
Some districts are also using email notifications to remind managers to approve time each pay period, and others are using digital authorization options to eliminate unnecessary paperwork.
2. Weekly Overtime Rule
Districts love the ability they gain with a time-tracking system to accurately track overtime worked — and accurately pay employees for that time.
In your time and attendance management system, you should be able to create specific rules for handling overtime pay for time worked over the schedule, such as if employees earn time and a half, double time, or comp time (or a combination of these).
3. Master Calendar
Everyone has to manage district-wide events — holidays, days off, calamities, delayed openings, early dismissals — that impact employee schedules and pay. That’s why a Master Calendar is a popular feature of time and attendance management systems.
With a district Master Calendar in your time-tracking software, you can create your own events and apply them to everyone or to specific groups of employees. These events automatically show up on the appropriate employees’ schedules. That means the district doesn’t need to enter the events for each individual employee, and the employees don’t need to submit an absence for that day. Based on the rules you set up, the system will automatically apply the correct payroll rules for the event.
A K-12 time and attendance system should also handle days you have to unexpectedly reschedule. For example, if your district runs out of school days due to snow (something we’ve seen a lot of this year), you can create a “rescheduled day” on the calendar — a makeup day that is outside employees’ normal schedule (like a Saturday or day tacked onto the end of the school year).
4. Custom Payroll Report
One of the best benefits of a time and attendance management system is sending the accurate data you’ve collected to your payroll system.
The majority of districts with time-tracking systems are using a payroll extract report to pull employee time for payroll — including employee names, job types, accounting codes, wage options, locations, absence reasons and more.
A flexible system will offer pre-built reports and let you create your own custom reports based on your needs. These custom reports allow you to sort, filter and group data to easily view overtime and exception pay and to verify data for payroll.
Extracting and importing this data saves hours of manual data entry into payroll and reduces the risk of mistakes.
5. Tracking Substitute Teachers
Did you know you can track your substitute teacher hours with a time and attendance system, too?
While an automated sub-calling system tracks the assignments that substitutes accept, a K-12 time and attendance system captures the actual time worked by each substitute. School districts are using this feature to verify the time substitutes worked and to report on hours worked for the Affordable Care Act (especially for substitutes working multiple jobs or locations).
6. Employee Kiosks
With a time and attendance system, districts can capture time in a number of ways, including electronic timesheets and web clocks. One of the most popular ways is through a central kiosk where employees can clock in and out.
With a flexible electronic time capture system, you can choose your own hardware and set up the kiosks just the way you want them. Many school districts are using an internet-enabled computer or tablet (like an iPad) to let employees enter in their ID and PIN to sign in and out. Others use scanning devices for employees to clock in/out with barcodes, magnetic stripes, proximity cards, fobs — or even barcodes on their smartphones (with a special scanner).
7. Clock-On Portal
Some districts also like the flexibility of letting employees clock in and out right from their own computers rather than at a kiosk.
With a time-tracking “Clock-On Portal,” you can give your employees a URL or create a special shortcut for them to easily clock in and out with their ID and PIN.
8. Work Schedules
We discovered that almost everyone is using work schedules to manage schedules assigned to groups of employees or positions.
With this feature, you can set the start and end times and break times for specific schedules. Those schedules could include the same hours every day or different hours on different days of the week. You can also decide whether or not to auto-deduct scheduled unpaid breaks so that employees don’t have to clock in and out for them.
9. People Locator
Want to know exactly who is where and when?
With a real-time “People Locator” report in your time and attendance system, you can view a snapshot of where your employees are on that day. You can quickly identify who is missing, who is out for a scheduled absence, and who has already clocked in or out. Districts consider this feature one of their favorites because of the visibility and accountability that it provides!
10. Shared Absence Data
Another important benefit of a time and attendance system is having it connected to your absence management system. For Frontline Absence & Time users, for example, the sharing of select data is already built into the solution.
Specifically, Frontline Absence & Time applies absence data directly to the employee’s work schedule. Based on the absence type and reason, this time is matched on the schedule to the correct payroll rules to determine if the time is paid or unpaid.
The shared data also streamlines comp time tracking and leave balances. If an absence should be paid out of comp time, Frontline Absence & Time will associate the comp time wage code with the leave reason and will update the employee’s leave balances in both systems.
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.