Blog: Understanding Time & Attendance and Awards

Employee awards are constructed to clearly set out certain rules and entitlements for employees.

The award rules specify the span of hours worked, the length of hours considered to be normal hours and what hours are consider overtime. Hourly rates, penalty rates ,weekend rates and allowances are also defined in an award.

However, when a payroll is prepared either manually or automatically there are other elements in the calculation which are not defined in most awards.

Some examples of these rules are rounding and grace times and they mostly come into play when your employees move from a manual time sheet system to an electronic time clock.

Typically, when an employee completes a manual time sheet they enter the exact start of the shift (even if they were a little late or early) and the exact finish and perhaps exact break times. By comparison, and electronic time clock records the exact time the employee clocks in and out over the course of the day and these clockings must be first adjusted by rounding and grace rules before the award rules are applied.

As an example, if an employee is rostered to a 7am start clocks in at 6:55  an adjustment must be made to round the clocking event to the start of the shift. Alternatively, if the employee clocks in and 7:08 then perhaps company policy may be to round the employee clockings to the nearest 15 minutes. Different rounding rules may need to be applied to each clocking event during the course of the day.

These rounding rules are unlikely to be written into any award so they must be clearly defined when you invest in an automated time and attendance system. Interestingly, these rules are rarely clear in any organisation or at least not applied in a consistent way.

If your company is considering a new time and attendance system the configuration of the awards will be based to some degree on the award, EBA or Workplace Agreement but also very much on the discretionary  business rules you apply.

Another misconception in this area is the actual dollar rates that apply to employees. Time and attendance is based on producing payroll hours. That is a summary of hours in various different pay categories such as normal time, time and one half and double time along with perhaps time based penalties.Converting these payroll hours in their various categories is the job of your payroll software.

The message here is that when you introduce automated time and attendance you are going to have to take a close look at the rules you apply to employee working hours outside the definitions of the award.

If you require assistance with the transition from a manual attendance system to an automated system you can contact the Time & Attendance Consultant