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Workforce Management Automation: The time to ACT is now

Kronos Workforce Central helps University of Georgia achieve high-level accountability, compliancy, and transparency (ACT)
University Business, December 2012

Nearly 50 percent of higher education administrators feel their time and attendance systems are out of date, and 53 percent of systems in use by colleges and universities are not automated.

These findings are part of the 2012 Center for Digital Education research project sponsored by Kronos, the workforce management company responsible for systems in use by schools such as the University of Georgia. In contrast, employees and managers of University of Georgia do not tediously fill out paper timesheets. Instead, the 8,000 hourly employees use biometric time collection clocks and web entry processes from Kronos.

Using an automated solution ensures employees are paid properly and that UGA is in compliance with labor laws and university policies. “UGA wanted a consistent application of rules for rounding, leave tracking and compensatory time earning,” IT director Chris Wilkins explains. “We also wanted to offer more time-collection options to reduce paper time sheets and gain efficiencies. And we wanted more visibility into the time-collection process. We have all that with Kronos.”

Kronos first worked with the university in 2005 in the Food Services department, which employs many hourly workers and needed to replace an aging in-house time and attendance system. Food Services employees now use wall-mounted biometric terminals, which are activated when an employee swipes an ID card, then scans a finger to verify identity. The time is recorded and sent to the university server used by the payroll department. The university has 115 wall-mounted terminals, all connected to their network.

“The procedure is intuitive, so an entire shift change can be done quickly,” Wilkins says. Employees who work in a campus office can record their hours online, using a time-stamp function. Full-time employees who work the same hours daily can use the Pay From Schedule feature, which is pre-populated with daily start and end times and meal breaks, and which are deducted according to the unit where the employee works. The Paid By Exceptions function is used for time off, while manual entry is another option. Each time-collection method uses the same system for rounding and tracking leave and overtime or comp time.

They also can be overridden by supervisors, and in some cases employees, if necessary. And in every case, the employee and supervisor must approve the time card at the end of a pay period. Kronos is especially helpful with compliance because its prebuilt pay rule engines automatically track overtime or comp time – which is accrued at the rate of 1.5 hours per 1 hour of work beyond the customary 40 in a given week.

“Before Kronos, our system managed compliance at a very high level. With Kronos, we can now manage compliance at the time card level,” Wilkins says. “We wanted to make sure we were complying with labor laws and university policies, but we also wanted more details. Now we can look at trends and determine if a unit with a lot of overtime is understaffed, and make sure we are not shorting any employee of overtime or comp time earned.” Training for the intuitive system was provided on-site and did not require Kronos’ assistance.

The university held centralized classes and unit-specific sessions for its more than 2,000 supervisors and payroll staff who approve time cards. “Kronos has given us improved visibility into the timecollection process, consistent application of rules and consistent comp time tracking,” Wilkins says. “We have all our hourly employees on it, and it’s working.”

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