Time & attendance software is more than just another hr tool
A comprehensive Time & Attendance software is an invaluable application for organizations of all sizes. It allows you to simplify scheduling, approve and review hours worked, and collect time according to your organization’s policy.
This guide will highlight timekeeping methods and policies, the ROI of Time & Attendance software, how it can integrate into your payroll processing, and much more.
1. What is Time & Attendance?
Time & Attendance software is a digital application designed to track the hours worked by employees and keep accurate records of wages and salaries paid. A single-source Time & Attendance software solution means your hours flow directly into payroll, eliminating any dual entry between platforms so you can trust that wages are paid accurately. Time & Attendance dramatically improves scheduling, the ability to review and approve hours, and provides multiple methods of tracking hours worked.
2. Timekeeping Methods
The phrase “time and attendance” can be applicable to virtually any job, but what does it mean exactly? Time and attendance is the process of tracking hours worked. Until recently, this was a manual system; employees would complete a time card by hand or with a punch machine. The information would then be recorded separately for payroll processing and benefits. However, due to the advancements in technology over the last decade a variety of methods are now available that tie in with business payroll systems seamlessly.
Some Time & Attendance methods are more effective than others depending on the nature of your business. Choosing the right method of timekeeping for your company requires the consideration of a number of variables. For example, mobile punching and PC entry might seem like the most economical alternatives since they don’t require the purchase and installation of separate time clocks. However, these options might not be so economical when the cost of time theft is taken into account.
Related reading: The 5 Most Common FAQs about Dominion’s Time & Attendance software
Below are a number of tools used for tracking employee hours, some pros and cons to each, and the percentage of time theft that occurs annually for each device.
Online Web Portal
Allowing employees to document their hours via an online portal certainly saves your company the cost of purchasing time clocks, but employees can easily fudge their hours worked and ultimately supervisors have no way of verifying accuracy. Web portals actually make up almost half of all time theft that occurs every year. (40%)
Mounted Wall Clocks
As the second highest perpetrator of time theft, mounted wall clocks allow the employee to punch in using a passcode. While these generally are less expensive than other devices, it is easy for “buddy punching” to occur. “Buddy punching” is when a coworker punches in for another worker to falsify the actual hours worked. (18%)
Paper forms work in a similar manner as the online web portal, but the information is written by hand and turned in directly to a supervisor rather than inputted online. While time theft occurs in this manner less than half as often as when done online, the numbers are still pretty high, and it adds significantly more work for all parties involved. (17%)
The benefit to punching in with a mobile device is also the drawback: employees can clock in from anywhere. This is really effective if you have employees who work from multiple locations, provided that they are honest about where they are when they clock in. Be sure you only offer this feature to employees you trust. (10%)
Paper Punch Cards
Paper punch cards are fairly efficient in the time theft department, and is a relatively inexpensive option. However, they reduce productivity in the amount of time it takes to gather and input data, and in the corporate world that can affect productivity significantly. (5%)
Although the cost of the biometric clocks are more than the alternatives, it can be the most cost efficient option. The clocks work seamlessly with your Time & Attendance software, and it has a very low time theft rate. (3%)
There are other more obscure methods of tracking employee hours, such as employees calling a hotline to clock in and out, but these are used infrequently and are often more work than they are worth. (7%)
Is your business located in Michigan? 3 Components to Consider When Tracking Time and Attendance in Michigan.
3. Timekeeping Policies
No two businesses are exactly alike, so there isn’t one method of timekeeping that will work for every business across the board. What is considered “late” for your employees? What are your rounding rules? What holidays do you recognize? How can employees punch in and out? These are all questions whose answers will be vastly different between companies. That is why Dominion offers a variety of options that can be catered to suit your company’s needs. Each policy is decided by your company administrator and can be adjusted at any time.
Some of these policies include:
Paid Time Off (PTO), Vacation Time, Sick Days, Volunteer Time Off, Personal Days - these are all variations of Leave Management. Some companies choose to categorize them individually while others lump them together in one single quantity. Our hybrid system allows you to set up your employees in our system to receive the exact amount you’d like, in the delegations classified by your administrators.
Depending on your method of tracking employee hours, you may wish to implement rounding rules for your staff. This feature does exactly what it sounds like - it rounds your employees’ punches to the nearest hour, half hour, quarter hour, or five minute interval. Though the advancement of technology has made this practice somewhat outdated, many companies still use it to simplify the hours recorded on their payroll reports.
Having difficulties scheduling and calculating hourly employees? We’ve got you covered: 3 Tips to Help You Schedule Hourly Employees Better
An employee’s grace period is the time before and after the start of their shift in which they are allowed to clock in. A grace period is typically five, ten or fifteen minutes, and is put in place to prevent employees from either showing up too early to increase their hours for the pay period, or consistently arriving late - both of which decrease productivity. Any employee who clocks in outside of this grace period will be flagged, so both the employee and the administrator can monitor how often this occurs and adjust their behavior accordingly.
Read on to establish the perfect Time & Attendance policy for your organization.
4. ROI Of Time & Attendance Software
Calculating employee hours manually, through any method, has the potential to be fraught with errors. Even the most detail-oriented people are prone to make mistakes. The slightest error or miscalculation can cost your business hundreds or even thousands of dollars. An automated timekeeping process nearly eliminates the possibility of human calculation errors, and with it the time spent trying to fix these errors. Instead of wasting time trying to identify mistakes, your staff can run reports to track employee behavior and find new ways to save your organization revenue.
Properly tracking time for employees also reduces time theft. Nearly half of all employees participate in some form of time theft, which accounts for massive amounts of lost productivity and revenue. Read how to prevent time theft and improve your bottom line.
An integrated and automated Time & Attendance system provides measurable ROI - return on investment - as soon as its implemented. Once the software is live administrators can see who is clocked in, from where, and run useful payroll reports, like who is close to reaching overtime. Let’s examine a few categories Time & Attendance software can help you monitor to provide real ROI:
Overtime: Unplanned and unforeseen overtime payouts can be a huge payroll cost. As mentioned above, Time & Attendance software can be utilized to monitor employees who are close to reaching overtime and send alerts to employers in order to find a suitable replacement or to send the employee home.
Absence: From planned vacation time to surprise sick days, employee absence makes up a large amount of payroll expenses. Managing absences with a Time & Attendance software allows employers to track accrued time off accurately and make appropriate adjustments.
Accuracy: All too often companies pay employees for the time they’re scheduled to work. In some cases, this policy works fine, but what if certain employees are always late? Or leave early? Maybe take a two hour “business” lunch? These people are time thieves and still receive payment for hours not worked. By automating the collection of time actually worked, organizations can guarantee employees are getting paid for the work they’re actually performing.
Additionally, an automated timekeeping system drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to calculate hours worked. A properly integrated Time & Attendance software can apply company policies (like overtime rates, accruals, and job title rates) to every employee.
“We’ve been able to increase our efficiency with Dominion. Managers and staff understand the software, which has made HR’s life easier. It empowers the staff to take care of their own stuff and not have to wait on us.”
Megan Anthony of Adventure Credit Union. Read their success story.
5. how dominion's timekeeping feeds into payroll and aca
Dominion runs on a single database; each product within the platform utilizes the same employee information, so there is no dual entry required - not only will this save you time, but it will ensure accuracy and eliminate excessive opportunities for human error. The Time & Attendance and Payroll features are integrated to flow seamlessly together, so multiple logins are not required. Furthermore, our headquarters house our entire Client Solutions team, so if you call with questions about payroll, our team can also assist with any other product within our software.
Time & Attendance gives administrators the ability to approve or decline employee PTO requests on the Time Card Authorization page, streamlining processes that may currently be an inefficient use of time, and therefore, money. The electronic requests tie directly into our scheduling and payroll portal. This greatly reduces the amount of lost PTO requests, and maximizes scheduling efficiency. Storing much of this timekeeping data is required by certain mandates in the Human Resources world. These require businesses to hold on to documents for an allocated period of time, so you can easily keep records of time punches, etc. and not have to worry about keeping track of them separately. Our system will do all the work for you.
A huge issue for businesses over the last year is staying in compliance with the guidelines for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Having the ability to track time and attendance with ease will largely reduce the workload on your end when it comes to determining who is eligible for insurance. With Time & Attendance you can easily see who your full-time and part-time employees are. This information will then flow into the ACA portion of the software and clearly state who is eligible for health care coverage.
“Having the ability to track time and attendance with ease will largely reduce the workload on your end when it comes to determining who is eligible for insurance.”
6. Exempt vs. Non-exempt Employees: Understanding the Difference
There are two classifications of employees: exempt and non-exempt. An exempt employee is not entitled to overtime pay by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), even if it takes 55 hours to finish their weekly workload. Exempt employees must earn a minimum of $455 per week. Non-exempt employees are protected by FLSA regulations and are paid overtime. Regardless whether or not they’re paid hourly or a salary, they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. For a detailed explanation and examples fo the differences between exempt and non-exempt employees, read on.
There are a few distinctions between exempt and non-exempt employees, but the biggest difference is overtime pay. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay by the Fair Labor Standards Act. They’re paid a salary and expected to complete their weekly tasks like other employees, whether it takes 30 hours or 60. In order to be classified as an exempt employee they must be paid a minimum of $455 per week, or $23,660 a year, instead of an hourly basis.
Your method of tracking employee hours can vary, just so long as they’re being tracked accurately.
At Dominion, our Time & Attendance software can help keep employers in compliance with these regulations in a number of ways. First and foremost, our team has been well rehearsed in the law’s constituents and the countless exceptions that accompany it, so we are an excellent resource for any questions you have. Furthermore, the seamless connection between our software features will eliminate errors and ensure all your employees are getting paid exactly what they should be. This will remove the possibility of lawsuits against your company for employees who do not get paid for the overtime hours they’ve worked.
Administrators also have the ability to generate reports so you can monitor your employees’ habits and see ensure nobody is consistently getting overtime pay who shouldn’t be. The most helpful of these reports is the Approaching Overtime option, which you can run to see which of your employees look like they might surpass that 40 hour workweek, and choose to either compensate them accordingly or adjust the schedule so they do not reach that number.
7. The Value of Dominion's Time & Attendance Software
Dominion’s Time & Attendance software gives the administrator an overview of how to track and calculate employee time. This is where you put together those rounding rules, exceptions, overtime rules, etc. As the administrator you can edit punches and create System Notes, so you can set reminders such as “forgot to punch out” or “left early for a family emergency” or whatever the case may be. Exceptions are a way to flag the approver when the employee clocks in outside the allotted time frame, or forgets to clock in all together. From there you can decide to approve the time or adjust it, and if this is a continual problem you can speak to the employee and sort out the root of the issue.
The healthcare industry is a common example of an exception to the rule for Time & Attendance policies. If you’re struggling to calculate hours for your healthcare staff, we’ve got you covered: Clarify Overtime Pay in the Healthcare Industry By Understanding the 8/80 Rule.
You can structure your exceptions and rounding rules to tailor them to exactly what you need. Dominion has a three to five week process of implementation which includes a very intensive setup call with our installations team. During this call we go through and narrow in on exactly what your company structure needs in order to calculate and track employee time accurately. We also give you the ability to run reports on system punches, system notes, ect. So you can export this data and track that for your supervisors who may not have access to that information.
“You can structure your exceptions and rounding rules to tailor them to exactly what you need.”
These rounding rules and exceptions are all based on employee schedules. You can edit them directly from the time card authorization screen, which will allow you to change the schedule at the last minute and avoid dealing with the red flags that might otherwise pop up if you call somebody off, ask somebody to come in early, or make other necessary adjustments. There are multiple ways to schedule your employees.
We have a Quick Schedule option that makes it easy to schedule all your employees. It allows you to view your employees and make sure you have the coverage you need, and if you have staggered employees you can verify that you have sufficient coverage all day. If somebody calls in sick, you can see who else is available to work, who is on vacation, or who is already working. Then when you find somebody to cover the shift, you can simply add them onto the schedule and not have to worry about that person being flagged when they go to clock in.
The Company Schedules option is a good way to schedule shifts that are pretty straight forward and don’t move around often. Alternatively, Group Schedules allows you to build in your shift needs on certain days for specific departments or locations, and then assign employees who are available to the specific shifts. This is great for retail, restaurants and home health care. All three options are available for you, so you can utilize the one that best suits your needs.
Our reporting system is very useful for collecting information such as a weekly hour summary. One of the most popular reports generated for our Time & Attendance system is the Approaching Overtime report. With the Department of Labor changes coming up, you’ll be able to use this report to keep track of your employees and see who may be consistently getting overtime. Other popular reports include Employee Exemptions and Missing Punches. All of these standard reports are available for you at any time. We can also build custom reports which allow you to put together reports that produce the specific data that you need. Once you create the template, you can rerun the report at any time.
Employee Self Service (ESS)
We discussed earlier the many options your employees can use to clock in and out of their shifts. Once you set this up in our system, the employee can then see their own activities so they can track their exact behavior and see when they’re punching in and out. This prevents them from having to bother their supervisors for information on their schedules, hours worked, etc.
They have all of this information at their fingertips. The employee also has the option to handle their Leave Management, so they can see how many hours of PTO they have available, their recent activity, what requests have been approved or are pending, and their balance after all requests are approved. If you have employees who don’t have access to a computer on a regular basis, you can have all of this information reflected on their pay stubs. This will eliminate the need for them to interrupt your day and help them keep a closer eye on the state of their paid time off.