Recently we see an explosion in the number of customers using the Time and Attendance Management functionality in Employee Central. This goes for both the absence management (time off), as well as the time sheet.
Very often I am asked the same question: what kind of localization is offered and can be expected in Employee Central Time and Attendance Management? In my previous post I addressed it shortly, but this topic is worth more attention.
One of the driving forces behind the large scale adoption is the ability to harmonize country specific time and attendance management processes on a single platform.
Most of our customers are organizations who operate in multiple countries. They look for a solution which can accommodate this footprint. The most common benefits they aim for are:
- Reporting when the information is stored in a single place (e.g. on remaining leave balances, or overtime spend);
- Simplification of the HR IT landscape. This is particularly useful when shared service operations are supporting multiple countries.
To meet these requirements of process harmonization in one platform, they need a solution which can be configured in line with corporate agreements, (country specific) collective agreements, and local law. This means that they need flexibility and fully configurable options like holiday calendars, accrual rules, country specific fields and business rules. In this post, I will show examples of how Employee Central addresses that.
Particularly in absence management there are complex requirements, and they are often unique per country. In order to meet these requirements all employees in Employee Central will be linked to a certain profile. This profile determines for example which absence types are available to them, including the specific accruals and balances, and what information needs to be filled out per absence.
Since there are different country requirements when it comes to taking absence this means that the application can look a bit different based on the country employees operate in. The screens are automatically adjusted to the local standards and processes.
Here is the standard screen for an absence:
The employee can select the type of absence they want to take, the period of absence, a recurring pattern, a comments and add an attachment. For example a doctors certificate in case of illness. You notice that there is also an available balance visible. This is optional per role. For example in Singapore remaining sick leave balances are not shown to employees, but are visible to HR and potentially managers.
In countries like Germany, more information is required for illness registrations around continued pay. Often this is administration done by HR, or managers. So when they logon the absence management screen looks like this:
Another example in Europe is that for Dutch employees the absence screen cannot show an end date. In The Netherlands employees are ill until they report back in. So it’s an illness with undetermined end date. Therefore, for the Dutch employees the screen looks like this:
In for example Spain there are specific requirements when it comes to maintaining long-term history for sick leave. Therefore, the screens will look slightly different for Spanish employees.
You notice that there is additional information available on the screen which can be filled out to link historical illnesses. This means that the employee can easily create a longer term illness pattern him/herself. And because all is workflow approved HR can keep close eye on what is happening.
Linking illness records
Next to the screens for employees and managers, also HR has an application which ‘behaves’ per local requirements. HR can easily track from their Time Administrator Workbench what the type of accrual and frequency is, what the remaining balance is, what historical and future events have been taking place.
And based on the country dependent time account type they can link records together so that long term history can be proven in case the employee is absent over a longer period. See the following image:
These are just some examples of how the application is designed to be flexible so that the appropriate information is filled out, which ensures that the organization operates in line with country compliance standards.
Collision of Absences
In some countries it is regulated that when employees get ill during their holidays, this is not deducted from their leave balances. The vacation record needs to be automatically split up or delimited based on the newly recorded illness record. This is controlled in Employee Central by collision groupings.
Here is how this looks like in the application:
The employee has a vacation booked for April 24 until 26:
The employee enters an illness record on the 25th:
The yellow warning informs the employee that the existing Vacation will be cancelled and replaced. That means that the existing holiday is cancelled automatically and split up in 3 records:
- 24th = vacation
- 25th = Ill
- 26th = vacation again
See the following record:
When the employee would be ill for the 25th and longer the vacation record for the 25th and the 26th would be automatically cancelled, and the 2 days automatically flow into the vacation balance again. That means that the vacation record would not be split, but would be delimited on the 24th.
Accruals and entitlements for Australia and New Zealand
Accruals and entitlements are always highly country dependent, and therefore the configuration options we offer take that into account.
However, we found that our standard framework did not meet country requirements for Australia and New Zealand. In Australia and New Zealand accrual can happen for example monthly, but an entitlement is formed out of this monthly accruals only at the end of a year. For specific leave types like annual service leave on New Zealand or long service leave in Australia it is required that the entitlement is given at a later date after accruals have been performed. Long service leave entitlement could for example be given at the end of 10 years accrual period, depending on state specific requirements. This feature allows such a separation of accrual and entitlement along with related use cases of advance against accruals, reducing accruals / entitlements in case employee takes leave without pay for extended periods. More information on that has been provided by my colleague Volker Ruof in his blog about specific accrual and entitlement calculations especially for Australia and New Zealand.
Time sheet approvals
Next to the localization which is worked into the absence management functionality, there are also specific developments delivered for the time sheet. One example is the specific workflow approval which can take place before overtime is added to the time off in lieu account. This is an optional feature because in some countries works councils urge to have such an approval, and in other countries the time account needs to be updated right away, so that the employees do not have to wait with taking hours off until management approved the overtime.
How is ‘localization’ configured?
The localization is delivered as part of the Time and Attendance ‘framework’. And with framework I refer to the configurable options such as the earlier mentioned holiday calendars, accrual rules, country specific fields and business rules.
All these configurable parts are designed so that they can be processed and maintained by key users in HR. This means that whenever there is a change or update required HR is in the driving seat and does not have to rely on IT or external consultancy.
The holiday calendar which can be made available to all employees in a specific country or region:
As you can see this is a simple table which can be filled with the specific public holidays for employees in a certain country or region. When this table is filled, and the public holiday calendar is linked to an employee, the employee will automatically see upcoming public holidays in e.g. their app and can plan leave accordingly.
An other configurable example is for time types. These can be dedicated to a country. In this example Germany:
The time type addresses requirements like: Are employees allowed to take only full days off (often the case in public holidays), or also half or quarter days. And if absence should not be taken in (fractions of) days, employees can take this type of absence in hours or minutes. Other things related to the time type is for example if an end-date should be offered on the screen. As discussed earlier, often these are settings which are influenced by country law and regulations.
To these time types we link other country dependent logic captured in time account types and accrual rules, so that the type of accrual and frequency can be related to a specific country or region.
Here is an example of such a country specific time account type which determines how the leave is accrued.
As you can see a high amount of flexibility is offered to configure accrual frequency: when accrual starts, what happens when someone is hired during the year, etc. Employee Central is designed to meet the global requirements our customers have.
What is the strategy?
SAP SuccessFactors does not intend to deliver localization ‘content’ for certain countries (e.g. new holiday calendars per country per year). Rather, we focus on developing the framework, which can be used in any country using the configurable options I described. Our localization strategy is to ‘Build into the time management framework” not on top. This means that we rely on customers and partners to leverage this framework and fill it with their ‘content’ to meet their requirements.
On our roadmap and in our release notes you might notice suffixes with mentions of a country for things like: ‘Accruals and Entitlement, the ability to hide leave balances, sickness with undetermined end date. That does not mean that this specific functionality is delivered only for the employees in that country. If we hear from our customers (or know from our 40 years of experience in this area) that certain functionality is required in a country, we develop and deliver it, and then it is generically available for all countries.
The list of examples which I have discussed in this post is not exhaustive. There are way more examples. The point that I want to bring across is that Employee Central Time and Attendance is a solution designed for global roll outs. The application consists of many configurable options which enable organizations to provide employees in different countries, collective labor agreements, and with different regulations the same application. But based on their local requirements.
In the area of time management, we as SAP SucccessFactors can utilize our 40 years of experience in providing global HCM solutions. But the world we live in changes fast, so we need to develop accordingly. Especially when our customers face regulatory limitations in the application during their roll out these need to be solved. These will be prioritized high in the further development of our application. As discussed in previous posts the roadmap is shaped based on customer requirements.
One great place to share these country requirements is via the SuccessFactors community: influence.sap.com (requires SuccessFactors logon). Our product managers keep close eye on the requirements which come in and will enrich the Time and Attendance Management framework with the necessary functionality.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!