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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

344.8 - Time and Attendance Accounting


OPR: Office of Administrative Policy and Services/ Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policies, responsibilities, and procedures for recording time and attendance.

2. Authority. The General Accounting Office (GAO) GAO-01-186G, "Maintaining Effective Control Over Employee Time and Attendance Reporting."

3. Definitions.

A. An account, in the Federal Financial System (FFS), the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) official accounting system, records financial data related to specific projects or tasks, or specific purposes. Each account relates to only one project or task as defined in BASIS+. Each account is designated by a unique account number. (See Survey Manual 501.1)

B. A project is a set of related activities designed to achieve a definite goal. A project may be sub-divided into tasks. Financial data for projects are recorded in FFS in one or more accounts. Projects and tasks are established in BASIS+. (See Survey Manual 501.1)

C. The standard time and attendance data are:

(1) The starting and ending times for hours worked each day;
(2) The times of day for all absences after the employee starts performing work (except for the standard one-half hour lunch break);
(3) Credit hours earned or used each day;
(4) Paid overtime hours worked each day;
(5) Compensatory time hours earned each day;
(6) The number of hours and type of leave taken each day;
(7) The projects or tasks worked on during the reporting period; and
(8) The time worked on each project or task during the reporting period

4. Policy.

A. The starting and ending times for hours worked, and the times of day for all absences after the employee starts performing work (except for the standard one-half hour lunch break), shall be recorded for each day. This information will be used in support of pay entitlement and must be recorded in the time accounting system described in (5) below.

B. When reporting time and attendance at the end of a reporting period, normally a pay period, account numbers for the projects or tasks worked on during the reporting period and the amount of time worked on each project or task during the reporting period.

C. When an employee is in travel or training status, starts or ends work at a location other than the employee's usual work location, or is absent for the entire day, the employee is to record the time and attendance data when he or she has an opportunity to access the system; or the supervisor or supervisor's designee is to record the time and attendance data on behalf of the employee.

D. Supervisors or their designees must be aware of the work time and absence of employees for whom they are responsible to ensure the reliability of time and attendance data.

E. Employees shall abide by USGS polices regarding overtime and work schedules. [Criteria for determining whether an employee is nonexempt or exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and USGS overtime policy are provided in SM Chapter 370.550.1, USGS Policy Memorandum 00.01, and New Alternative Work Schedule Policy,

F. Every USGS organization shall establish procedures for time and attendance accounting in conformance with the policy in this chapter.

5. Time Accounting Systems.

The following describes the methods for time accounting:

A. Automated, Web-based Time and Attendance System-If a USGS organization has access to an automated, web-based time and attendance system, employees shall enter and verify their own time and attendance data, including the time worked on projects or tasks during the reporting period. For employees on flexible or alternative schedules, the use of the sign in/out module is strongly encouraged instead of the basic payroll screen. If the automated sign in/out screen is not used, paper copies of sign in/out times must be maintained as the official record for legal and audit purposes of when an employee was at work.

B. Paper-Based Time and Attendance System-Employees shall enter their own time and attendance data on the Employee Attendance Record and verify them on the Employee Attendance Report each reporting period. Timekeepers shall record the time and attendance data accurately and enter them into an automated time and attendance system.

6. Responsibilities.

A. Employees shall:

(1) Record accurately exact starting and ending times of hours worked, the number of credit hours earned and used, the amount of overtime worked, and absences which should be charged to leave, charging the appropriate account numbers with the time actually worked.
(2) Verify that the appropriate project(s) or task(s) have been charged with the amount of times worked.
(3) Check entry of time and attendance information each pay period and verify that this information is correct.
(4) Request permission to work overtime in advance.
(5) Request permission for leave in advance.
(6) Protect their passwords for automated time and attendance systems to ensure security within the system. Sharing of user IDs and passwords is not allowed.

B. Timekeepers shall, if a paper time and attendance process is used to prepare timesheets:

(1) Be thoroughly familiar with the Handbook for Timekeepers and adhere to the time and attendance reporting procedures described therein.
(2) Check the entry of time and attendance information on the Employee Attendance Record each pay period and validate by signature that this information is correct.
(3) Have each employee verify, by signature, hours worked and any leave taken on the Employee Time and Attendance Report each pay period.
(4) Use the Employee Attendance paper records to enter timesheet entries into the automated Time and Attendance system for electronic certification by the supervisor.
(5) Record accurately employees' time and attendance information. Leave is chargeable in accordance with the provisions of SM 370.630.

C. Supervisors shall:

(1) Bear final responsibility for the proper recording and reporting of all time and attendance data, including the time worked on projects or tasks during the reporting period, for employees under their authority. Supervisors shall certify the accuracy of time and attendance data either manually on the Employee Attendance Record or electronically in an automated system. Supervisors shall also, whenever feasible, certify the Time and Attendance Reports themselves or have the timesheets certified by an approved alternate.
(2) Determine whether any excess time indicated on the time accounting document constitutes authorized overtime (for example, resolve possible errors in recording of hours worked). If payment should be authorized for the reported excess time, the supervisor shall ensure that the necessary documentation has been completed to justify compensation. Errors related to the recording of hours worked shall be corrected in the time and attendance system or on the time accounting document and brought to the employee's attention.

D. Managers of USGS organizations shall organize all work performed in their organizations into projects or tasks and assign at least one FFS account to each project or task.

7. Filing Requirements.

If paper timesheets are used, the timekeeper shall maintain the file of time and attendance system records, including sign-in/out sheets or any other documentation used to prepare the Time and Attendance Reports. These records may be disposed of after six years or after an audit by the General Accounting Office, whichever comes first.

8. Effective Date.

This chapter is effective October 1, 2002.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
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Last modification: 29-Aug-2017@12:09 (sc)
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