How to Build an Effective Time and Attendance Program

Your time and attendance program is a valuable tool for understanding when employees are working, taking time off, or out on an extended leave. It also offers a way to improve the employee experience. When done right, time and attendance tracking can help you offer employees the flexibility they need to achieve a healthy work-life balance and be more productive at work.

How to Build an Effective Time and Attendance Program

November 5, 2021

Your time and attendance program is a valuable tool for understanding when employees are working, taking time off, or out on an extended leave. It also offers a way to improve the employee experience. When done right, time and attendance tracking can help you offer employees the flexibility they need to achieve a healthy work-life balance and be more productive at work.

The Value of Time and Attendance Tracking

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about three percent of your workforce can be absent on any given day. But if you don’t have a complete picture of who is out and for how long, you can end up paying employees for non-work time or giving them more time off than intended. A time and attendance program helps you avoid these complications by providing a framework for tracking employee time off, accruals, working hours, and any overages or exceptions.


Time and attendance tracking can also help you to stay in compliance with federal and state labor laws. For example, it can help you track employee hours and overtime per Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements. It can also help you approve and track federally-mandated employee leaves and return-to-work dates as required by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


Lastly, your time and attendance program helps employees request and keep track of their time off from work. For example, a tracking system makes it easier for them to plan vacations, request time off for the birth of a child, and record the overtime they work during a pay period. In fact, by providing employees with time off and an efficient way to track it, you are supporting a positive and satisfying work experience. In a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), 93 percent of employees said paid time off was an important contributor to their job satisfaction.

Tips for Building an Optimal Time and Attendance Program

A comprehensive time and attendance program can be configured to help you manage hours and time off for your entire workforce, whether employees are salaried, hourly, or both. You can also establish rules regarding the types of available time off and when employees can use them throughout the year. 


Follow the below tips to build and maintain a time and attendance program that supports your employees and culture:


Develop a comprehensive time and attendance policy

Managing employee time and attendance requires a policy that tells employees how you track working hours and time off throughout the year. Therefore, make sure you clearly outline the following time and attendance guidelines in your policy:

  • Time-off eligibility, accruals, and limits
  • Time off request procedure
  • Available leaves, including vacation, sick, FMLA, and workers’ compensation leaves
  • Overtime tracking procedure
  • Flextime and comp time approval processes


Use cloud-based time tracking technology

Cloud-based time and attendance technology offers the flexibility to create processes that fit your culture, whether you offer several time-off options or lump them into one large bucket of PTO time. As an effective alternative to spreadsheets and paper-based time and attendance tracking, a modern software solution automates a range of time and attendance processes, including the following:

  • Time-off requests and approvals
  • Real-time monthly accruals
  • Calculation of carryover days


Monitor time and attendance regularly

When you build a comprehensive time and attendance program and manage it with cloud-based technology, you can access data that helps you manage your workforce better. For example, you can run reports summarizing employee time off and how much overtime employees have worked during a time period. Reporting not only allows you to identify any overages or policy exceptions, but it can also make it easier to compare time and attendance trends year over year.

Track Time and Attendance With Ease

Amid all of your other workforce management activities, you don’t have time for confusing spreadsheets and time-off miscalculations that can cause your payroll expense to skyrocket. Instead, time and attendance should work smoothly for you and your employees. And it can, when you have access to the right resources and tracking tools. By working with a trusted HR outsourcing partner, you can get help to implement time tracking technology and efficient processes that work for you and your employees. To learn more, contact us today.

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