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September 8, 2003

Electronic Timecard System Coming Soon

Within the next three to four months, UConn employees at the Storrs-based programs will be filing their timecards, and their supervisors approving them, electronically.

"This will be a boon to the University in a lot of ways," says Jim Hall, director of the payroll office. "It will help us - there will be less paper and far less data entry. It will be a boon to employees, who will have online access to their time and

attendance records. And it will be a big help to supervisors, especially those with a lot of employees, who have to review and sign dozens of time cards."

Created on a Lotus Notes platform, the web-based, electronic time card system is clean and simple to use, with only five steps required after entering a user name and password. The system will retain all employee data, including vacation, sick, and other attendance balances, and will recalculate the balance after each entry.

For supervisors charged with signing time cards, the system promises additional benefits.

As time cards are filled out and filed, supervisors will have the option of approving all their unit's time cards simultaneously, reviewing each card separately, or selecting a few time cards for attention and "quick approving" the others. They also may return the time card to the employee if corrections are needed.

Hall and Paul McDowell, the University controller, began planning the switch in February, knowing the state was only months away from introducing CORE-CT, a statewide finance, payroll, and human resources system. Because of the way the University interfaces with CORE-CT, the time and attendance module in that system will not be used.

Hall also saw the writing on the wall when the idea of an Early Retirement Incentive Program first surfaced. As it turned out, he lost three staff to the ERIP.

Initially, Hall says, his team created an internal system using Excel, but it was not able to handle all the data entry needs. So he and Jessica Taylor, a staff technical consultant with expertise in Lotus Notes, then created a web-based system that, in tests so far appears to work well.

Hall says it will take a few more weeks to work out some wrinkles in the system, primarily involving the flow of the time cards through the supervisory ranks, before it's ready to be introduced. Once finalized, he says the department will first run trial programs with several larger departments on campus, then roll it out department by department during the following two or three months.

"Right now, it takes three people the better part of four days to enter all the data collected from time cards every other Thursday," Hall says. "This should allow us to complete the job in a fraction of that time."

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