Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - May 2011

When the first employee time clock was invented in 1888, it had but one purpose: to record the time an employee entered and left the factory. This first ‘time card’ gave the factory owner an actual record of the hours worked by each employee. This protected the business owner by making sure employees worked the number of hours they claimed, and protected employees by making it much more difficult for employers to try and cheat them out of their wages.

Even though employee time clock software has greatly reduced the amount of time needed to prepare time cards for payroll processing, it still protects business owners and employees for the same reasons as that very first punch clock. Since time cards continue to play such an important role in employee time tracking, we’re going to spend the next couple of newsletters looking at some of the Virtual TimeClock settings that affect the way employee time cards are calculated and displayed.

Overtime Rules
Virtual TimeClock allows you to set the rate of credit that is given for every hour worked. If no overtime rule is assigned to a worker, then all daily and weekly hours are calculated as regular hours. You can configure your overtime rules to have two different overtime break points and two overtime rates. The second overtime break point is typically referred to as double-time. The different overtime columns that are displayed on your worker timecards are dependant on the overtime rule that is in affect for each employee. That’s why if you also have salaried workers using the time clock (check out last month’s newsletter for a list of reasons to have salaried employees use your time clock software), you won’t see any overtime columns displayed on their timecards. However, if you print a timecard for an employee that should receive overtime and you don’t see an overtime column, then chances are an overtime rule hasn’t been assigned to the employee.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Since a different overtime rule can be assigned to each individual worker, it’s easy to place your employees on alternative work schedules. To assign overtime rules, go to the Lists menu, choose Users, and click the Wages tab for each worker.

Time Deductions
Time deductions allow you to automatically deduct a lunch from employee timecards without requiring them to clock out. This feature was originally designed so employees in a manufacturing warehouse didn’t have to stand in line at the time clock when the lunch buzzer went off and the factory equipment was shut down. Time deduction rules allow you to set how much time gets deducted after a certain number of hours are worked. For example, you may want to automatically deduct 30 minutes after 6 hours of continuous work from your warehouse workers, but require your administrative employees to clock in and out for their lunch beaks. The amount of the automatic time deduction will be displayed in the unpaid column of the worker timecard. If you have employees that are using activities to track different projects or jobs, be careful when using time deductions because the automatic lunch deduction will be taken from the activity they were working on when they reached the hours worked threshold, which may impact the number of labor hours you’re billing out.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Like overtime rules, time deductions are assigned from the Wages panel in each user record.

Time Calculations
There are two settings in the Time Calculations window that I want to cover in this newsletter. We’ll hit the others next time. The Daily & Weekly Overtime settings control when overtime totals are calculated for multiple daily shifts and paid leave. The first setting determines how much time a worker needs to be off the clock before a new shift is started. Here’s what it means. Let’s say this is set for 4 hours and I work a morning shift from 4:00am to noon. If I come back and work a later shift on the same day that starts anytime before 4:00pm, then Virtual TimeClock will recognize that punch in as part of the same shift and I’ll immediately start to accrue daily overtime. However, if I punch in for my second shift after 4:00pm, then Virtual TimeClock will treat my punch time as a completely new shift, which resets the total hours I need to work for daily overtime to kick in. If you change this setting to ‘0’ (zero), then all timecard entries are treated as an individual shift, which means you’re restarting daily overtime calculations each time you punch out and back in.

The second setting controls whether paid leave is included in hours worked when calculating weekly overtime. We don’t find this setting used very often because it causes all leave hours to be treated as either regular or overtime hours. This means Virtual TimeClock will no longer display leave in a separate column on your timecards. Here’s how it works, let’s say an employee worked 35 hours Monday through Thursday and then took an 8 hour paid vacation day on Friday. Many companies would expect to pay this employee for just 43 regular hours. However, there’s an extra generous handful of you out there who want to pay the employee for 40 regular hours and 3 overtime hours for the week. Well, this setting was added just for you.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Even though the separate leave column will be removed from your time cards when you include leave in weekly overtime calculations, you can still include a leave summary at the end of the report so you can see a separate breakdown of your leave hours.

Next month, we’ll continue our discussion on Virtual TimeClock settings that affect the way employee time cards are calculated and displayed. If you want to get a jump on next month’s discussion, I think you’ll enjoy the riddle of the missing dollar.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow