As we’re approaching crucial deadlines regarding Affordable Care Act compliance, now’s as good a time as any to evaluate how you’re tracking your employee data. If you’re using an automated time and attendance system, this process can be easily facilitated. Here’s how.
What are the specific benefits of having an automated time and attendance system to help with ACA compliance?
Automated time and attendance systems allow for the accurate measure of how many full-time (FT) employees an employer may have over any particular look back or measurement period. The system should have the capabilities to create reports across months of pay periods to show the average number of hours worked by all employees.
In order to get an accurate measurement of this number, many companies now have their salaried employees in their time and attendance system with standard hours populated for each day of the period. They now have an accurate measure of their FT and full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
Variable Hour Employees
In addition, for those business owners who have a large number of variable hour employees, they can see alerts on their time card as employees approach a critical number of hours each week. This allows them to manage the hours of those employees and determine whether they are required to provide benefits for those employees. This can also be done with an effective scheduling tool, as the employer can see the number of hours that they are scheduling certain employees and avoid the FT status for that employee.
What are the key metrics that an automated time and attendance system can assist business owners with?
As most state of the art time and attendance systems are able to track the accruals of PTO, vacation, sick leave (especially mandatory sick leave in certain states and cities) things like hire date become really important as years of service often come into play in how the accrual policy is applied.
With an accurate hire date in place, the system can seamlessly apply new accrual rates as employees pass certain thresholds of time served. On the anniversary date, the employee will automatically start to accrue at a new rate based on years of service, without having to monitor the dates.
Overtime levels can be measured by location or department in order to see if adjustments need to be made in staffing in those areas. In addition, the system should be able to produce “approaching overtime alerts” as employees move closer to reaching overtime thresholds, allowing for adjustment where needed. In addition when overtime needs to be approved, supervisors can alert management of the approval status of that overtime with notes on the time card.
In addition, if we are tracking jobs in the time clock system, they can get a pretty good idea of “job costing” by having the employee pay rates in the system and then running reports filtered by job number.
What reports should employers be looking for when using an automated time and attendance system to help comply with ACA?
- Work week or work month reports (ACA) will allow them to get an accurate count of the FT and FTE employees for any look back period.
- Overtime reports, where employers are understaffed or overstaffed will help determine if they should reallocate their personnel based on the figures.
- Audit reports, especially if they have multiple supervisors editing time cards will allow for a quick review of all changes to a time card and who made the change.
- A punch notes report allows the business owner to recall all notes left on an employee’s time card overtime. This can be used to defend the changes made by supervisors as long as they have a policy of noting all changes made to an employee’s time card.
- Labor Distributions reports allow the business to track labor costs across locations, departments, or jobs.
By having accurate hire dates in a time and attendance system, the employer can be alerted of the date at which the employee becomes eligible for medical benefits. This will work well for companies that may not have a full blown human resource information system in place to ensure that benefits are offered to the employee at the appropriate times.
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