This policy provides guidance to all non-exempt employees, employees who are eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and their Time Approvers regarding the reporting and approval of hours worked and absences.
Reason for Policy
Timely and accurate reporting and approval of hours worked and absences taken are important for a variety of reasons. First, it helps to ensure that employees are paid the correct amount timely and in accordance with wage and hour laws. If time isn’t properly entered and approved by the stated deadline, the employee may not receive the correct wages. Employees are inconvenienced and may suffer financial hardship if their full paycheck is not received on time. Second, employers are required by state and federal law to retain accurate payroll records. Third, late time entry and late approval, although occasionally unavoidable, is generally unnecessary, resulting in additional administrative burden and processing costs for the University.
Who Must Comply
This policy is specific to all non-exempt employees and all time keepers, approvers (typically managers and supervisors), adjusters and administrators employed by President and Fellows of Harvard College.
All Harvard University schools, tubs, local units, Affiliate Institutions, Allied Institutions and University-wide Initiatives must comply.
- Understand fundamental rules for employee time and absence entry
- Employees who are non-exempt must report (either electronically or on paper, per local guidelines) their hours worked and absences on a weekly basis by the deadline stated on the Central Payroll Calendar. Generally, the deadline is by 5 PM on Thursday for the week that ends the following Saturday. If local policies or procedures state that you must enter time and absences by earlier deadlines, then follow the local policy. See also “holiday weeks” and “late changes” below.
- All hours should be reported in .25 hour increments. For example, if the employee works seven hours and fifteen minutes, the time should be reported as 7.25.
- All non-exempt staff must report all of the time they work each week. Late time entry could result in a delay in receiving paychecks.
- Detailed instructions for time and absence entry for employees who use PeopleSoft Time and Labor can be found at Reporting Time and Absences.
- Detailed instructions for entering Massachusetts Earned Sick Time for weekly employees can be found at MA Sick Law PeopleSoft Instructions.
- Employees in units that use a time entry system outside of PeopleSoft should contact their local HR or Payroll office for instructions on time and absence entry.
- Some departments choose Time Keepers to enter time on behalf of employees. Time Keepers must adhere to the same deadlines as employees. For instructions on entering time as a Time Keeper, see Rapid Time Entry (Time Keeper Page).
- Approve absences timely
- When Time Approvers approve time, they are certifying that to the best of their knowledge the employee did work the reported hours and no more or less time than was reported.
- Absence Approvers must approve by the deadlines listed in the Payroll Calendar. Generally, the deadline for approving Weekly employee absences is 3:30 PM on Thursday for the week that ends the following Saturday. The deadline for approving bi-weekly employee’s absences is Friday at 3:30 pm for the week that ends the following Saturday. These are system-wide deadlines requiring absences to be approved prior to running the “take cycle” which feeds approved absences into the timesheets. Absences approved after 3:30 PM on Thursday/ Friday respectively may not be reflected in the current period’s paycheck. If local policies or procedures state that you must approve absences by earlier deadlines, then please follow the local policy.
- Detailed instructions for absence approval for the PON, POU and PFX pay groups which use PeopleSoft Absence Management can be found at Approving Absences.
- Detailed instructions for absence approval for the WTM MA Earned Sick Time can be found at Approving MA Sick Law Requests.
- Time Approvers in units that use an absence entry system outside of PeopleSoft should contact their local HR or Payroll office for instructions on absence approval.
- Approve timesheets by deadlines
- Time Approvers must approve the employee’s timesheet by the deadlines listed in the Payroll Calendar. Generally, the deadline for approving timesheets is 5 PM on Friday for the week that ends the next day (Saturday). If local policies or procedures state that you must approve absences by earlier deadlines, then please follow the local policy.
- Detailed instructions for time approval for the PON, POU, WTM, WTP, WRT and SPC pay groups who use PeopleSoft Time and Labor can be found at Approving the Timesheet.
- Time Approvers in units that use a time entry system outside of PeopleSoft should contact their local HR or Payroll office for instructions on time approval.
- Observe special deadlines for holiday weeks
- The deadlines listed above are related to standard work weeks. When there is a University Holiday during the week of a scheduled payroll, the deadlines may shift. For example, Martin Luther King Day falls on a Monday, so the time and absence reporting deadlines shifts to the preceding Wednesday and the approval deadline shifts to the Thursday.
- Deadlines may shift significantly during extended holiday breaks, such as Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Please refer to the payroll calendar for actual deadlines. Users will generally receive system generated notifications regarding changes to deadlines.
- Manage nonstandard time and absence reporting/approvals
- Late Time and Absence Reporting: Employees should make every effort to report time and absences by the deadlines listed in the Payroll Calendar, however, employees may occasionally be unable to predict their future hours or may be unable to enter their time and absences by the deadlines. In this event, wherever possible, approvers (typically managers and supervisors), should enter time on behalf of the employee. Time must be entered and approved no later than 5pm Monday in order to be paid in the current pay cycle.
- Time can also be entered and approved up to two weeks in advance, if an employee is aware when they will be out of the office. For example: If an employee will not be in on Friday, with no access to a computer, they can enter their time early.
- Retroactive Time and Absence Reporting: Employees do not have access to change their own time and absences after Saturday at midnight. If an employee needs to make retroactive change to their time and absences, they should contact their manager or the local HR department depending on departmental policy.
- Late Time and Absence Approval: Time Approvers should make every effort to approve time by the deadlines listed in the Payroll Calendar. If the Time Approver is aware that (s) he will have trouble approving time by the deadline (such as when the Time Approver is out of the office), then the approver should make alternative arrangements to get the time approved, for example, by using a back -up approver.
- Retroactive Time and Absence Approval: Approvers approving time for a prior pay period need to be aware that late approvals may cause all of the time for the week to be reprocessed and can result in either paying additional funds to the employee or reducing the amount previously paid for the week.
- Follow rules for clearing exceptions
- The Time and Labor system used for POU and PON employees is designed to create an “exception” in certain instances in which the employee’s scheduled time does not match the employees approved time. For example, an exception is generated when an employee with a standard schedule of 7 hours per day enters 7 hours of vacation time and 3 hours of regular time. Time Adjusters must take additional steps to investigate, address and clear these exceptions so that the employees receives the correct pay and maintains the correct paid time off balances.
- Time Administrators have 60 days to correct exceptions before the held time is paid out regardless of whether there is an amount due to employees. Repeated failure to clear exceptions within the 60 days could reflect as a performance issue on the part of the manager.
- Detailed instructions for clearing exceptions can be found at Harvard Exceptions.
Responsibilities and Contacts
Employees (Time Reporters) are responsible for reporting time worked and absences taken by the posted deadline each week.
HUIT PACT Team is responsible for running absence take and accrual cycles and troubleshooting absence management issues.
Time Approvers (typically managers and supervisors) are responsible for approving employee’s time and absences by the posted deadline each week. Time Approvers should escalate to local HR who can escalate to Central Payroll and HUIT PACT Team as needed.Time Adjusters are responsible for making adjustments to employee's time on behalf of time reporters (employees) or approvers.
Time administrators are Time and Labor “super users,” responsible for making adjustments that go back more than 30 days.
Local Payroll Offices/ Local HR Offices are responsible for designating time approvers/ adjusters/ administrators and ensuring that all time and absences for their respective units is approved.
Central Payroll Department is responsible for establishing time and absence deadlines, and for troubleshooting time and labor issues.
Time Approvers should escalate to local HR who can escalate to Central Payroll and HUIT PACT TEAM as needed.
Absence Management: the PeopleSoft module that tracks paid time off including sick time, vacation time, personal time, and Massachusetts Earned Sick time.
Central Payroll: department responsible for processing of payroll. Able to troubleshoot basic Time and Labor issues.
Harvard Exception: when an employee reports an absence and regular hours on the same day, and the sum of the reported time and absence is greater than the employee’s scheduled hours, an exception is created. The exception must be reviewed by a time administrator who can either allow the exception or adjust the time or absence accordingly.
HUIT PACT Team: technical support for the Time and Labor and Absence Management functions in PeopleSoft.
Payroll Calendar: published Calendar showing time and labor and absence deadlines.
Local Payroll Office: a unit or tub based office that provides payroll support to unit employees, issues beyond their control are escalated to Central Payroll.
Local HR Office: a unit or tub based office that provides human resources support to unit employees. Depending on the nature of the issue, there may be escalation to Central Payroll.
Massachusetts Earned Sick Time: sick time awarded to individuals in accordance with the Massachusetts Law that went into effect July 1, 2015.
PFX Pay Group: PeopleSoft pay group for exempt employees, this group uses the Absence Management module of PeopleSoft to report time away from work.
PON Pay Group: PeopleSoft pay group for non-exempt, non-union administrative and support staff, this group uses the PeopleSoft Time and Labor module to report hours worked, and the PeopleSoft Absence Management module to report time away from work.
POU Pay Group: PeopleSoft pay group for non-exempt, union (Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers) support staff, this group uses the PeopleSoft Time and Labor module to report hours worked, and the PeopleSoft Absence Management module to report time away from work.
SPC Pay Group: PeopleSoft pay group for employees in specific unions, some in this group uses the Time and Labor module of PeopleSoft to report hours worked.
Time and Labor: the PeopleSoft module that allows non-exempt employees to report, or have reported on their behalf, hours worked.
Time Adjuster: a role in PeopleSoft that allows a user to adjust reported time submitted by employees (time reporters). Adjusters can make changes to time entered for the current week and time reported in previous weeks. Allows users to approve time and adjust time up to 30 days in the past. This role is generally held by members of the Local Payroll Office or Local HR Office.
Time Administrator: a role in PeopleSoft that allows users to approve and adjust time for an unlimited period. This role is generally held by members of the Local Payroll Office or Local Human Resources Office.
Time Approver: a role in PeopleSoft that allows a user to approve reported time submitted by employees (time reporters) in a specific time reporting group or groups. This is often the employee’s manager or supervisor.
Time Reporter: a role in PeopleSoft that allows a nonexempt (overtime eligible) employee to enter his or her reported work time and time off for the current workweek. Employees have until midnight Saturday to enter their reported time for the current week.
Time Keeper: a role in PeopleSoft that allows a designated individual to enter time on behalf of employees using the rapid entry pages. If the time keeper has no other time and labor approval roles, the time keeper must adhere to the published time entry deadlines.
WTM Pay Group: a PeopleSoft pay group for temporary employees and Harvard student employees, this group uses the Time and Labor module of PeopleSoft to report hours worked, and if eligible the Absence Management module of PeopleSoft to report Massachusetts Earned Sick time taken.
WPT Pay Group: a PeopleSoft pay group for employees in specific unions, some in this group uses the Time and Labor module of PeopleSoft to report hours worked.
WRT Pay Group: a PeopleSoft pay group for employees in specific unions, some in this group uses the Time and Labor module of PeopleSoft to report hours worked.
Job Aids: https://trainingportal.harvard.edu
Payroll Calendar: Payroll Calendar
Union Contracts: http://hr.harvard.edu/union-contracts
Massachusetts Sick Time Policy and Practice: MA Sick Time Policy and Practice