Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - April 2013

We talk to a lot of business owners trying to solve a variety of time and attendance problems. Many are looking for tools to help them manage employee overtime. Some want a better way to track authorized overtime, others want to prevent overtime altogether.

In this month’s ‘Tips & Tricks’ newsletter we’ll discuss how to use shift rules to help control overtime and show you an easy way to track approved overtime. Next month, we’ll cover how shift rules can help you deal with employees who forget to clock out and how to easily record salaried employee attendance.

How Shift Rules Work
Shift restrictions are a great tool for controlling overtime because you can determine exactly when employees are allowed to punch in and out. A shift rule is composed of a start time, a stop time, clock in restrictions, and clock out restrictions. Here’s how they work. You can allow employees to clock in early, but their punch time is recorded as their shift start time. This is great when using stand alone time clocks because you don’t have employees just hanging around waiting to punch in or clocking in before their work day begins. You can also completely prevent employees from clocking in before their shift starts. Combined with a grace period, you can completely control when the time clock is available for recording time. Clocking out works the same way. Employees can clock out after their shift ends but have their punch time recorded as their shift end time, or you can prevent them from clocking out late altogether.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Managers and time clock administrators can override any shift rule restriction from the Administration window.

How to Set Up Shift Rules
Setting up shift rules is a two-step process. First, create the new shift rule and set your restrictions. Second, assign the shift rule to your user schedules. Turn on administration, click Configure, go to Schedules & Shifts and then click Shifts Setup. Let’s talk about a couple of other settings in the Shifts window we didn’t mention earlier.

Differential - this setting is used when including the gross wages option on employee timecards. To enter employee wage information, go to Configure and choose Users.

Auto clock out - this setting is used to record a stop time for all users still on the clock after their shift ends by recording the shift end time as the stop time. We’ll talk about some great ways to use the auto clock out feature next month.

Now close the Configure Shifts window and select a user from the list to assign a shift rule for each day of the week. Each day that’s left without an assigned shift rule will be “Unscheduled” and not allow the employee to clock in on that day.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Even if you don’t set clock in restrictions, the shift rule is still used for tracking employee tardiness on the Late Arrival report based on the shift start time.

Tracking Approved Overtime
So what do you do with employees who need to work overtime either before or after their shift ends? If overtime is a regular and expected part of your business, here are some ways to keep track of what overtime has been approved when using shift restrictions. If you’re using courtesy clock in and outs, then you can create an activity called something like ‘Approved Overtime’ that’s good for manual entries only. Since courtesy clock in and out restrictions will automatically record the shift time as the recorded time, managers can just add a manual entry for the approved overtime. This also makes the approved overtime hours clearly distinguishable on employee time cards. Another method would be to prevent clocking in early or late without manager approval and just have managers override the shift rule restriction by clocking the employee in or out from the Administration window.

Here’s a quick Tip:
The new activity can be created by choosing Activities from the Configure menu.

Monitoring Overtime
We get asked quite often about ways to monitor overtime when not using shift restrictions, so I thought I’d mention it here. The easiest way is to just view employee timecards for the current week. The current work week will always start with the day of the week you have defined in your configuration settings. The timecard will instantly total all hours that have a stop time. This means you’ll have current hours worked through the last status or change in activity. So if you need to the total of all hours worked up to the present time, then clock out, view your timecard, and clock right back in.

Here’s a quick Tip:
The work week start configuration settings can be found in Overtime Preferences by choosing Overtime from the Configure menu.

I hope this newsletter has given you some helpful ideas for managing employee overtime.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow