County looks at electronic time keeping system for payroll

Published 9:22 am Thursday, January 7, 2016

Carter County
Carter County may soon have a new, more efficient way to keep track of employee’s time to process payroll.
On Wednesday morning, members of the Carter County Financial Management Committee approved the purchase of a new software module that would allow the county to begin using electronic time sheets for employees.
Carter County Finance Director Christa Byrd said this would help her department in a number of ways.
The web-based program would allow employees to complete their time sheets in the program. Once completed and approved by a supervisor, the time sheet would then be sent to the Finance Department and electronically imported into the program to complete payroll. Currently, county employees fill out a paper time sheet, which is sent to the Finance Department where one of staff must manually input each employee’s time sheet into the computer in order to process payroll.
The new electronic system will greatly reduce the workload for the Finance Department and make the payroll process more efficient, Byrd said.
One of the other benefits of the program, Byrd said, will be in calculating how many hours an employee has worked over a given period of time, something that may be required under the Affordable Care Act. Under the terms of the ACA, employers who participate in insurance plans for their full-time employes must offer those insurance plans to any employee who works and average of 30 hours per week or more.
“If a part time-employe works more than 30 hours and we don’t offer them insurance we can face a hefty fine,” Byrd said, adding the fine would be $3,000 per person.
Calculating how many hours an employee works in a month with the current system can be a chore, Byrd said.
“Pay periods don’t always line up with month end and month beginning, so the only way for me to check how many hours someone worked is to go and physically pull every time sheet,” she said. “With this system, I can just run a report.”
The program Byrd is looking at is called “True Time” and is a module for the Skyward accounting software the Finance Department is already using, Byrd said.
One of the great benefits of the program is the flexibility it offers, Byrd said.
Previously, when the idea of electronic time sheets came up, many people opposed the change because they thought it required departments to begin using time clocks, something that was not a popular idea with many department heads.
“Time clocks are not required with this,” Byrd said. “You can use them if you want to but you don’t have to.”
Also, each department can make that decision on their own, Byrd said.
Department heads also have the option of having each employee log in and enter their own time or have the employees turn in a paper time sheet and designate one staff member to enter the time for all employees.
Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey made the motion to purchase the software and switch to electronic time keeping. The motion was seconded by County Commissioner Bobbie Gouge-Dietz and passed unanimously on a vote.
The request will now be presented to the Budget Committee for approval and then to the full County Commission for a final approval.

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