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Hello,

just finished the Customer Release Information Webinar which is a go for me to publish some words on the new features in Employee Central Time. Yes, you can also watch the recording of this session (you find them on the Successfactors Community pages) but in this kind of sessions there is only time to explain the features in a high level manner. Those who are interested in EC Time in a more detailed way need a bit more explanations than a few slides can show. Hence I write this blogs that you get a little bit more input – and I a little bit more freedom to explain in a thorough manner.

What are the mentionable new features? First an overview:

1.) Enhanced team absence calendar

2.) Automated period end processing for flexible date time accounts

3.) Enhanced time account payout permissions

4.) Ability to mark an illness absence as “original” – relevant for Spain only

5.) Display of time collectors in EC Time Sheet

6.) Hint how to make time sheet in display only mode for managers

 

Let´s deep dive:

1.) Enhanced team absence calendar

We received lots of feedback over the years on the team absence calendar. And yes, that one had really lots of potential to be improved. It was initially designed in early time off times to cater only for easy time off use cases where a manager needs to have a quick view on the team members absences upon the approval process. But customers are using in the meantime the team absence calendar in much more sophisticated ways. Not only is the definition of the “team” itself already complex, but managers need to see the real work schedule information in it and not only a standard work week from monday – friday. So we finally started with realizing some of the enhancements ideas you have forwarded to us via the Customer Influence page or those we just knew we need to provide. We are not yet at the end of further enhancing the team absence calendar, but at least we could provide some things that were urgently needed.

From a technical perspective the team absence calendar has been brought to SAP UI5 technolgoy.
From a feature perspective the team absence calendar comes now with the “real” workschedule information derived out of the employees assigned work schedule and public holiday calendar in the job information (and of course considering also those adaptations in planned time that you can record with a “temporary change of work schedule” via the time administator workbench).

Futhermore the team absence calendar now distinguishes for managers clearly between a “direct report view” and a “peer view”. The direct report view shows the absence information of those employees who directly report to the manager. A manager can see more details of his team members absences like absence type, duration, start / end times for partial day absences and time account deduction quantity. However, to answer prophylactically questions, it is not yet possible to show different levels down of team members, it is always only the direct reports.
The “peer view” shows the absence information of my peers who report to the same manager. And here we of course anomyze the absence information – but this was already in the previous version of the team absence calendar. So I can´t see what exact absence reason my colleague has recorded, I just see that he is absent.

Here are some screenshots how the new team absence calendar looks like:

Direct Report view:

 

Peer view:

The “real” workschedule information is visualized with grey / white colours. White are days on which the employee has got planned time according to his workschedule, grey are those days that are off-days according to the workschedule (and public holiday calendar).

 

2.) Automated period end processing for flexible date time accounts

First – what are “flexible date time accounts”? These time guys – always invent funny names for their stuff. But we are not yet so far as to create terms like “quota type selection rule group” – still my most favourite term from SAP onprem time – (and I happen by chance to know who the colleague was who invented that one ;-). But “flexible date time accounts” comes almost close to that SAP onprem term.

So, flexible date time accounts- we have released them a couple of releases ago. You can get information on it in my blog….. This time accounts simply allow to have a more flexible start date (or valid from date) than simply start of year or start of month or a fix calendar date. You can now choose any date field in employee central as long as it has a date format. You can even choose custom fields for this. So, quite flexible thing. However, the bad thing of this flexible date time accounts was so far that they could not be handled by our automated period end processing mechanism. A time administrator had to manually trigger the period end processing for this time accounts which was a bit a cumbersome process. Hence we brought these time account types into the normal period end processing.

This feature does not only faciliate the usability of this time accounts, but it can be seen also as a first step to cover the so called “Prima Vacacional” calculations for Mexico. In Mexico employees got this flexible start date accounts and they get for each vacation day an “entitlement” for an additional vacation pay as well. This needs to be calculate by the time management system and then transferred to the payroll system. We are not yet fully covering the full “prima vacacional” process, there are still some remaining developments to be done, but we provided with this automated period end processing the first piece of it. Rest comes soon.

 

3.) Enhanced time account payout permissions

Up to Q2 release there was only the possibility to allow time admins or HR admins to view/ create / edit / delete a time account payout or not at all. When there were no permissions for time account payout at all, the time account payout was not displayed in the time admin workbench. This has now changed. Due to customer feedback having HR admins/ Managers who need to be able to view only a time account payout but not create or edit one we introduced an enhancement in the time account permissions: you can now grant only view rights.

How is this set up? Well….., a bit tricky and we have already a backlog item to facilitate this. So, better to follow for now exactly the described procedure 😉

There are two permissions now on the time account payout. The already existing one was this one:

Under “Manage time off” there is a check box for “Manage payout”.

The new permission can be found in the view “Manage Time” and is called “Access account payouts”. When you grant this permission and de-select the previous “manage payout” permission you get the result that an user can only display but not edit / create time account payouts.

Easy when you know how to do it, isn´t it?

 

Now we come to a country dependend time off feature:

4.) Ability to mark an illness absence as “original” – relevant for Spain only

Illness handling can be quite complicated, is different from country to country and has most of all country dependent payroll effects. How long is an illness paid, who pays how much for it for how long, what if an employee gets ill due to the same cause again- within 6 months/ within 1 year, which post-payroll notifications to which authorities need to be triggered – to name only few questions. And like a lot in time management and payroll – it easily gets complicated. In Germany for example 6 weeks are paid to 100% by the employer, afterwards 80% are paid by the health insurance and the employer might or might not pay the missing 20% for some time. The basic roots to this regulations in Germany are quite old – you can trace them back to laws created in 1861 !

We cover some of the country specifics, others can be done with the “standard” capabilities and others need still to be build. For Spain we deliver now one of the country specific illness requirements:

Illnesses in Spain are similar handled like in Germany and other countries. An employee can have multiple illnesses in a period, but sometimes different illnesses can have the same illness cause. For example you have broken both legs. Your legs get fixed but you won´t be able to walk for a very long time and you get an illness certification. But luckily you recover soon. But in order to fix your legs some metal (or carbon or whatever) had to be implemented in order to stabilize your legs. After 4 months they need to be removed and you get another surgery – and you are ill in the course of this surgery for another 2 months, cause again, you barely can walk, need some cure . So, you have got 2 different illness records in the system, but they are based on the same illness cause. For payroll reasons you need to link the records together (there are regulations on how long this times are paid). And due to the fact that live is complicated there could even be more than 2 illness records that need to be linked, cause something done in the surgery caused another damage which makes it necessary to perform another surgery. I don´t hope someone needs to link illness records for you – but it happens and it needs to be documented. This was already possible in the past with the feature “linking of illness records”. The thing is that for Spain it is not sufficient to link them, but due to payroll processing reasons 1 illness record in the chain of linked illnesses needs to be flagged as “original illness”.

And this feature has been delivered. An HR or time admin can use this feature in the time admin workbench. Looks like this:

You can see in the absence list in the time admin workbench that some illnesses have already been linked. By clicking on the linked-symbol you get a pop-up that displays the linked absences:

 

The click on the link gives you this overview:

The country specific enhancement for Spain is the last column. You can see that the “is original” indicator is displayed. And you get an option to mark an illness and click on “change original absence”. You get to a pop-up where you can choose the original absence. When you do this the marked absences “original-indicator” gets switched to yes:

 

And this information is replicated in our EC Payroll replication to infotype 2001 absences.

 

Last new feature I want to spend some words on is related to the EC Time Sheet:

 

5.) Display of time collectors in EC Time Sheet

In 2017 we have released the so called time collectors and time counters. These are quite flexible daily, weekly or monthly (other periods in planning) rather technical counters where you can count whatever you want. Performed break times, performed on call times after 18:00 on weekends. Number of worked late shifts. Number of attendance hours per month, performed overtime hours per month. And.. and…and, quite flexible mechanism that of course still have room for further enhancements and we already got lots of plans with them in future releases. When you are not familiar with the time collectors please read my previous blogs where I described how to configure them and what you can do with them.

For Q2 release we brought a small, but good and important enhancement. The time collectors were up to now only visible for a time administrator. They are displayed on a specific tab in the time admin workbench. But you can now also configure time collectors to be displayed to the employee in the time sheet. Why is this useful?

Cause you might have the regulation that employees ought not to record more time than for example 180 hours per month. Your employees work flexible, they are not bound to fix shifts hence they can work shorter or longer than planned times on specific days – but they must not exceed 180 hours. You can now collect the attendance hours of an employee in a time collector and visualize this value to the employee. This helps him to see where he stands with his monthly attendance time balance. When in the last week of the month an employee is already at 170 hours he knows he ought to work only 10 hours more in this month.

This is only one business example that explains the usability of this new feature. Another one is that you want to display to employees how many late shifts they have worked in the month – cause it is only allowed to work 15 at max. Or on call times. Or you want to display how many times an employee has an illness on Monday -no, joke, forget this ;-). Don´t do it, employees won´t be happy on this and I bet there are lots of workers councils regulation that do not allow something like this.

So, overall: use this feature wisely. Not only to avoid a feeling of being tracked amongst employees, but also cause it would confuse employees when you show them too many of this collectors. Configure only those that are really essential for an employee.

The configuration is quite easy. Mark a time type group that is a time collector simply as “UI component” like you used to it with other time type groups that you want to display in the time sheet.

However, the collectors are not shown in the “totals” section of the time sheet – cause here should only be those times that the employee needs to see to understand the actual time sheet periods calculations (for overtime, paid hours, net productive/paid times less breaks for example). They are shown in a specific pop up.

When collectors are configured to be a UI component and for the existing time sheet week there have been some calculated you find an indication for this in the lower left corner of the time sheet. A link appears that shows time collectors (and how many) exist. When you click on it you get the pop-up that displays the collectors and its values:

 

Please note that the collector values shown are not dependend of any time sheet approval ! We show them just how they are calculated by our real time valuation – not considering the approval status of the time sheet. Cause it would not make sense to display only the collectors from that point in time when the time sheet is approved! This would foil the whole idea of this feature.

Now, one last thing, a kind of hint how to configure time sheet view only mode cause I got asked this lately quite often:

6.) Hint how to make time sheet in display only mode for managers

I got a second blog-series where I give some tricks and hints on how to configure the time valuation in order to achieve specific customer requirements. I don´t explain there the “normal” things like overtime calculation, but try to show how our time valuation engine can be used creativly in order to cover rather “weired” business requirements. (Although after 17 years dealing in one or the other role with time management I regard only view things as weired anymore  ;-)).

But I get often asked how to get the time sheet for some users only in the view-mode. Managers for example shall not be able to edit an employees time sheet, but only view it. Answering this question does not really qualify for my other blog-series, cause it is an easy one, hence some hints on this here:

 

You need to:

  1. Switch on via configure object definitions the security checks in the time sheet object
  2. You get a new entry then in the time management permissions and you can set the “view only” permissions for the time sheet – of course for the target group that you further define in this permission.
  3. Done. The users having this permission assigned can only view the employees time sheet, but not edit it. However, due to the fact that you switched on the security for the time sheet object you need to include in your employees roles the “edit” permission, cause otherwise they can´t record their times 😉

Configure object definition, time sheet object:

 

Permission definition:

And yes, a manager that has got only view authorization can nevertheless approve or decline time sheets – otherwise this would not really make sense 😉

This feature came with Q1 release, so take this as a kind of addendum to the Q1 feature-blog.

 

This was it. Hope this words help to understand the new features and the overall capabilities for our EC Time Product further.

Best regards- when I write the Q3 blog we all will know by then who is the next Soccers World Champion ;-). Take care, enjoy the summer (for those of you in Europe).

Volker Ruof, Product Management Successfactors EC Time

 

 

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2 Comments

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  1. Rajesh Bandi

    Hi Volker,

    Thanks for your blogs they are really helpful.

    One quick question After Q2 2018 in Managers Team calendar view can managers see different colour for different absence types. In current landscape they just see grey colour for all absences

    In one of the above screen shots i can see a red clolour for vacation and green for sick. So for all SF Customers after Q2 2018 this new functionality will be avilable

    Thanks

    Raj

     

    (0) 
    1. Volker Ruof Post author

      Hi Raj,

      no, the colour code does not represent different absence type. I know this would be nice, but in turn this would be lots of configuration then.

      The colour code represents the approval status: green= approved; red = approval pending.

       

      And it is for all customers using the new people profile.

      Regards

      Volker

      (0) 

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