Tuscaloosa, Ala., government employees now clock in and out with a new tool that’s expected to save the city more than $225,000 annually.

Last summer, the city deployed a new online platform to log employee attendance. Developed by Kronos, the platform is accessible for all 1,350 of Tuscaloosa’s hourly, non-exempt, exempt and temporary employees working across the city’s 19 departments, according to Brian Butler, Tuscaloosa’s director of human resources.

The system also assists with absence management and provides a mobile application for employees to log remote hours when they are working out of the office.

“Having access to accurate, timely and auditable data is essential for today's governments, which are running on increasingly tighter budgets,” said Christine Carmichael, Kronos’ director of the public sector practice group, in a statement.

Butler said with the city’s older workforce management system, errors would surface when employees forgot to submit vacation dates. There were also times when supervisors would forget to approve such requests.

Initial projections before deployment indicated that the system would help with overtime control and reduce leave inflation – wages paid to employees when they weren’t on the clock.

“If you didn’t tell the old system that you weren’t here, it assumed you were here,” Butler said.

  

Since time punches and vacation requests are recorded more accurately on the newer platform, Butler said the city could potentially save $225,000 a year, a figure he considers to be on the conservative end.

Clocking in Remotely

While the tool can be accessed online, Tuscaloosa employees working remotely must clock in and out via a city-issued mobile device equipped with VPN connectivity. City policies do not allow for attendance to be logged on personal devices, Butler said.

Currently, about 150 employees may use the mobile capability for logging work hours, although employees in the police and fire departments do not clock in and out at all. For these departments, nonsupervisory employees can use the system to request time off, but only their respective supervisors can report their attendance on the platform, Butler said.

According to Kronos, the upgraded platform replaced a manual workforce management process Tuscaloosa employees previously used. Because individual employees now have more control over when they log hours and request time off, the tool will reduce supervisor time spent on workforce management by more than 50 percent.

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.