Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - May 2010

I enjoy working with new Virtual TimeClock users as they discover that their new time tracking software does much more than just track employee hours while they’re on the clock. It’s especially fun to see their excitement as they realize Virtual TimeClock includes a powerful, spam free messaging module that improves office communication, or the discovery of an employee leave tracking module built right into their time clock program.

There are two sides to full time and attendance tracking for your employees. Much like a traditional punch clock, time clock software is designed to keep track of the hours your employees are actually working. On the other hand, what makes your time clock program such a great punch clock replacement is that it can also keep track of time that your employees aren’t on the clock. With Virtual TimeClock ‘09, we brought you the ability to track paid leave benefits for an unlimited number of leave categories. With Virtual TimeClock ‘10, we’ve brought you the ability to track unpaid leave as well. This allows you to track all unpaid time off, such as leave taken under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or mandatory furlough. This newsletter will get you started on employee attendance and leave tracking with Virtual TimeClock.

Determining Worker Leave Benefits
If your business or organization doesn’t already have a written time off policy, now would be the time to create one. It’s far easier in the long run to have a consistent and clearly communicated leave policy rather than trying to deal with each situation as it comes up. This is especially true for those areas where you may have specific legal obligations, such as jury duty and military leave. If you already have a written time off policy, now may be a good time to have it reviewed for accuracy due to changes in business practices or legal requirements.

Virtual TimeClock software allows each employee to accrue paid and unpaid leave in different ways depending on the leave category. This gives you an incredible amount of flexibility when awarding leave benefits for different lengths of service, new employees, or part-time employees. Leave benefits can be awarded as either an annual award or a calculated award based on hours worked. An annual award is basically a lump sum that gets deposited into the user’s leave account at the beginning of the benefit year. This means the full balance is immediately available for use. With a calculated award, employees have to actually work some hours before any leave hours accrue and are available to be used.

Here’s a quick Tip:
We’ve written a time and attendance article that will guide you through adding new leave categories, adding employee leave awards, and recording worker leave entries.

Recording Worker Leave
Your time clock program allows you to add paid or unpaid leave entries for an individual employee, or a group of employees at the same time. This makes it convenient, for example, for a manager to record a paid holiday for all workers in the department. Since leave entries won’t display on worker timecards until the payroll period in which they occur, you can even enter time off requests in advance.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Enter paid holidays for the entire year each January for all of your employees at the same time, and add a note to the entry with the name of the holiday to make it easy to identify later.

Reporting Leave Taken
Attendance tracking is only meaningful if the data recorded is accurate and easily accessible. The Accrued and Used Leave Report always gives you up to date totals on how much leave time employees have accrued, how much they’ve used, and how much time they have remaining for each leave category. Run the report through the end of your benefit year to help you know how many hours are available for carryover into the next benefit year according to your business rules.

There are several built-in leave reports to help you further analyze and track employee time off. The Leave Detail and Leave Summary reports are great for looking at time and attendance data based on the leave type. The Worker Leave report will provide you with full details about the leave taken by each worker.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Create your own custom leave reports using the Timecard Report Writer. This powerful and flexible tool is very easy to use. If you need help creating a custom timecard report, I’m sure one of our time and attendance articles will get you headed in the right direction.

Probably the best thing about tracking employee attendance with your time clock software is that it puts highly sought after information directly in the hands of your employees. I’ve had business owners and busy practice administrators repeatedly tell me how much time they’ve saved by not having to separately record and lookup information on a spreadsheet just to answer simple questions related to employee time off.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow

PS – New Virtual TimeClock ‘10 R1.1 Maintenance Release is now available.
This brand new update to Virtual TimeClock '10 enhances the overall reliability and performance of your software. Virtual TimeClock ‘10 Release 1.1 is available for Virtual TimeClock Pro and Virtual TimeClock Pro Client editions. If you’re running the Network Edition, please note there is not an update for your Virtual TimeClock ‘10 Server application.