<i>Dear Workforce</i> What Are Some Good Alternatives To Employee Timesheets

June 6, 2001
QDear Workforce:

Our company has decided employees no longer need to fill out timesheets andis looking for alternative ways of tracking vacation time, sick time andovertime.

We are implementing an HRIS that will allow tracking of information once itis received from another source. How can we track time at the most basic level?How do other companies manage absences?

- Human Resources manager, Mining/Oil/Gas, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

A Dear HR manager:

Your situation is not uncommon in the technological drive toward a paperlessenvironment. Most employers who give up on timesheets, especially those with ahigher number of salaried employees, feel they are unnecessary, and in somecases professionally insulting.

Keep in mind that whatever you decide to do, make sure it meets all federaland state record-keeping requirements. In the event you are audited, you want tohave a system that not only is accurate but easy to report on if needed in ahurry. Also, tracking vacation and other time away is relatively easy tocapture, while overtime requires much closer scrutiny because of FLSA laws andthe need to track exact hours worked.

With that said, there are a couple of suggested ways you can go -- depending,of course, on your organizational structure and budget. Many organizations thatdon't have timesheets utilize one of these two options:

  • Card swipe system. The good news is that you are implementing an HRISsystem with absence-management features. You may want to check with your HRISvendor to see if they also offer some type of time-entry system, such as a cardswipe or barcode scan. Some companies will have hourly employees swipe in andout to capture hours worked and overtime, and manage absences for all employeesthrough the managers. If you don't want to invest in a card swipe system, youmay have to distribute responsibility for tracking and monitoring time away toindividual managers through an interface that hooks directly into the HRIS.

  • Payroll provider. Another resource you may wish to explore is your payrollvendor, if you outsource that function. Most vendors provide direct electronicmeans for submitting information on hours worked. Again, if supervisors haveaccess to a computer, they can be set up to enter time information directly tothe HR department, have it audited and then sent directly to the vendor.

Ultimately, using technology, while an expense in the near term, will savetime and expenses down the road for both employees and payroll/HR staff.


SOURCE: Bill Dickmeyer, CEBS, Madison Human ResourcesConsulting, LLC,Madison, Wis., March 7, 2001.

LEARN MORE: Read the Workforce article "EmployeeRecordkeeping: MovingFrom Database to HRIS"

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.