For U.Va. Employees, It's Goodbye Paper, Hello to Online Timekeeping

April 3, 2009 — The University of Virginia is moving to a new online time and leave tracking system for staff beginning Sept. 14.

The majority of U.Va. staff will stop using paper timesheets and convert to this system, which will be accessed through the Integrated System's Employee Self-Service function.

Any employee currently required to report hours worked and/or leave taken – including classified staff, University staff, research assistants, wage employees and student workers – will use the new system.

Faculty (both teaching and research faculty and administrative and professional faculty) and research associates will not use the system to track their own time, but those who supervise staff will need to use it to approve staff leave.

"This system is the 'best practice' in the industry across the country," said Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer. "It will automatically calculate overtime, shift differential, leave balances, and more, which are otherwise manual processes. This will save staff time and eliminate opportunity for error."

The new system will standardize the pay cycle to 14 days, which means employees will be paid every other Friday, instead of semi-monthly or semi-monthly paid monthly.

A biweekly payroll results in 26 checks per year instead of the current 24 or 12. Annual salaries will remain the same, but because they arrive more frequently, the checks will be smaller.

This may change the way employees pay bills or budget monthly expenses.

"We recognize that this is a huge change for our employees and we are doing our best to make this as smooth a transition as possible," Carkeek said. "We have a number of support services lined up to assist employees." 

Human Resources will offer a series of personal finance sessions starting in late April, hosted by the University's Faculty and Employee Assistance Program and the U.Va. Community Credit Union. In early April, Human Resources will send out and post more information about specific dates, times and registration, as well as examples and Excel worksheets that will help employees understand the implications of the change to biweekly paychecks.

Another advantage is that overtime will always be paid in the pay period it is worked, since all the pay periods are consistent, and the lags sometimes created by the fiscal quarters and the end of the fiscal year would be eliminated. 

There will also be streamlining in UHR's operations.  

"The University currently runs 86 payrolls a year. In most weeks, that's two payrolls per week. With this change, we will run 38 payrolls a year, which is much more manageable," said Darrell Kozuch, director of administrative operations and support, which includes payroll. 

Employees already use online self-service for things like viewing payslips, changing an address or printing W-2 forms. Tracking time and leave is a new function using the same online tool.

Staff will log into the Integrated System Employee Self-Service program to get to an online version of a standard time sheet, which resembles the current paper time sheet. Non-exempt staff (eligible for overtime) will record hours worked and leave taken. Exempt staff (not eligible for overtime) and professional research assistants will only record leave taken. Wage or temporary workers, including students, will record hours worked. It should take about 10 minutes to fill out, but time will vary according to each person's computer experience.

For employees who don't own their own computer and are expected to track their own time, schools and units must make a computer available during business hours. Certain units use other methods to track time, such as Facilities Management, where many employees track their work by job number. In many cases, those units will maintain their current practice. Staff should check with the human resources specialist in their area to determine if they will not be switching.

Managers will approve time online rather than sign a paper timesheet. Everyone who is designated as a manager or supervisor in the Integrated System will be given access to manager self-service as of April 1. This new tool will allow managers to see employment information for the staff members who directly report to them, all in one place. Managers can use the Integrated System to approve time, or they can approve directly from an e-mail notifying them that a staff member has submitted an electronic time card for review.

In July, University Human Resources will begin training managers, staff, timekeepers and human resources specialists. In addition, UHR will offer computer basics classes. Some of the training will be online, but there also will be large-scale demonstrations of the new system. UHR will send notifications as training is scheduled, or it can be checked online.

For information, visit www.hrs.virginia.edu/sstl, e-mail payroll@virginia.edu or call 434-924-4350.

— By Anne Bromley