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Author's profile photo Volker Ruof

Successfactors Time Management – new features in H2 2021

Time Management Folks,

this kind of blogs get each release a quick traffic number of around 7000 visits. This is amazing. When I started this blog series 2015 there was a page visit of around 200 per release. The strong increase of page hits shows the growing interest in our time management solution. And I just re-read what I have written back 6 years ago. We have gone an impressive path since we started – and we keep on going as you see in this blog. Here a big thanks to each of the engineering team members who in the end make all this happen and work on serving our customers.

This release we got a couple of Early Adopter features. What does this mean? This means it is not yet available for every customer. An Early Adopter feature needs to be switched on from us upon your request. Why do we do this? We develop incrementally, and often a full blown feature cannot be developed within one release. Hence we cut it into pieces and deliver parts of it in one release, and other part in the subsequent release. Not each customer has the same grade of complexity in his business process and some customers might even be already fully happy with the first part of it. Hence we release it as Early Adopter. You benefit cause you can use it earlier and give us direct feedback if there is something missing from your point of view and we benefit from your feedback to enhance and improve the feature in the next release.

But we also have lots of cool new feature that are general available. As usual, first a small summary of what we deliver. You can then navigate to those topics that are of interest for you, or if you want to read through the whole blog you can do as well – but bring a bit time with you ;-).

What do we deliver in H2 2021?

1 New Time Sheet User Interface

  • Call for action: switch to new User Interface !
  • Hiding of calendar, reduction of new time sheet UI from 3 to 2 columns

2 Clock in out Integration (Time Tracking)

  • Integration of clock in / out events into the timesheet
  • Possibility to edit / create new clock in / out events in the time sheet
  • Mobile punch clock and web clock

3 Notification mail in case yesterday has missing times

  • Ever wanted to send a timely notification mail if employees have forgotten their time recording?

4 Cross midnight Time Sheet (Time Tracking)

  • General availability
  • new enhanced filter categories for time valuations to create the correct premium pay when employees work in night shifts into a public holiday or out of a public holiday
  • Sample configuration to handle Germany specific §3b core night handling
  • Flextime bandwidth and cross midnight

5 Additional Quick Approval Cards and Quick Action cards on new homepage

  • Quick action card for web punch in / out clock and team absence calendar
  • Quick approval cards for time sheet, manual clock in / out recording, single time sheet record approval, purchase and payout leave approval

6 Team absence calendar permission

  • enhanced permissions to enable the team absence calendar

7 Time Off / Time Sheet Reporting Dashboard

  • Quick information for managers on teams absences, attendances, time collectors, overtime, approval status of time sheets, configurable thresholds for overtime or time account balances

8 Concurrent absences for Netherlands, UK and Spain (Early Adopter)

  • allows employees to be on sickness leave and have other overlapping absences like for example vacation

9 Termination end handling in Time Off (Early Adopter)

  • allows a better handling for termination and rehire

10 Edit-disabling of external time data records in time sheet (Time Tracking)

  • allows to have imported external time data records read only in he time sheet so that employees can´t edit it

11 Cancellation instead of deletion of leave payout requests after approval

  • allows to cancel payout requests instead of delete to keep full history

12 Permission enhancement to reduce absence type read access on target group basis

  • you can now create more sophisticated permission roles for viewing absence time types

13 Defaulting of continued pay dates (Entgeltfortzahlung) and sick pay supplement dates            (Krankengeldzuschuss) for Germany (Early Adopter)

  • delivers default values for end of continued pay and sick pay supplement date fields

14 Mobile Time Off permission enhancement on custom field level overwrite

  • allows to set read only permissions for custom fields in mobile time off

15 Rule function for allowance recording validation in time sheet

  • rule function that returns the number of allowances in a period

16 Enhanced time integration to SAP onprem Payroll (Early Adopter)

  • good news for onprem customers: we provide same Time integration capabilities for onprem payroll as for EC Payroll

 

Even the list to read takes already lots of time ;-). As usual, fasten your seat belts, we dive into the details:

1 New Time Sheet User Interface

Call for action: please switch to the new time sheet User Interface

As already announced via various channels: for non Time Tracking customers using the old time sheet UI please prepare yourself to move to the new Time Sheet UI. The old time sheet UI will be phased out with H2 2022.

This is how the old time sheet UI looks like:

And this is the new time sheet UI:

 

I have introduced this new UI and elaborated on the benefits in my H1 2021 release blog and described how existing time sheet customers can switch it on (via the upgrade center). Please start your change process now, we plan a mandatory switch with H2 2022 release.

And please note: This does not mean that current Time Sheet customers need to move to our new Time Tracking product ! If you are happy with the current functionality of the time sheet, all is good. You don´t have to move to Time Tracking. You just have to switch to the new user interface. The rest stays the same. And this is switch is only relevant for non-time tracking customers, cause in Time Tracking there is only the new UI available.

 

New feature: Two column layout

But we have enhancements in the new UI as well. We reacted on customer feedback saying that the new time sheet UI looks a bit too overloaded with information. We reacted by hiding the calendar control that consumed quite a lot of the space behind a button. So, only when users really need to have the information in the calendar at hand or need to navigate in the calendar they can now call it with this specific button. This in turn changes the column layout of the new time sheet UI from three to only two:

After pressing the calendar view button you get the old calendar with same information and possibilities as a pop-up:

(as you can see, my employee Emma Dorn was a bit lazy with time recording, that´s why there is so much red in the calendar).

 

 

2 Clock in/out integration enhancements (Time Tracking / Early Adopter)

I am really happy to announce that we took a next big step in bringing our clock in / out solution to a profound and many business use cases covering solution.

Integration of Clock in/ out punches into the time sheet

From this release onwards employees can see their clock in / out punches in the time sheet UI. Whether they come from time recording terminals, digital mobile clock or via web clock. So, you got all time data of an employee in one place, in one UI. Not only absences, attendances, breaks, on-calls, allowances, but now also the external performed clock in / out events. And for better transparency you get two sets of information – a day view of all time events of the day and if you click on a time record only those those paired time events that led to this time sheet record based on the pair formation.

When you click on an imported time sheet record, you get the time event pair that led to this dedicated record:

 

Or, if you simply want a list of all clock ins / outs aka time events per day, you just click on the tab “Time Events” and you get the full list:

 

In the right day panel of the time sheet we show all time events (clock in / outs) for this day. An employee has hence the full overview on his daily recorded times, as well as which time events led to which time record based on the pair formation. You most probably say: hey, that´s nice. That´s what I awaited for since long in this solution. But what if an employee has forgotten his punch ? A display only is then not really much worth.

Yes, you are right.

And that´s why we also provide the feature to create (or delete) a manual time punch in the time sheet for those folks who forgot to punch in. Or the terminal at that time did not work properly, was out of order…. or any reason why you need to create a manual time punch. The employee just needs to click on the create button:

 

A pop-up appears where the employee can choose the time event type, the clocktime and also choose a reason code (reason codes can be configured and are optional. You might have different reasons like: punch forgotten, terminal out of order) and a comment:

 

But that´s not yet the end of the story. Wouldn´t you also expect for this manual time punch recording a dedicated workflow? Cause if employees can delete a terminal clock punch and create manually a new time event unnoticed in the time sheet then there is not really a control of accuracy possible. Hence a workflow for approval would be good. That´s why we also provide a workflow ;-). And the workflow is not just a workflow. As already mentioned above, the comments and reason fields are  optional But if you use “reasons”, then you can use this reasons in your workflow rule to decide based on the reason if a workflow needs to be triggered or not. So, you are able to define for example that when an employee has chosen a reason “terminal out of order” there is no workflow triggered, hence an autoapproval, but when the employee chooses the reason “punch forgotten” then a workflow shall be triggered.

Now, where do you configure if reason codes and comments shall be mandatory? You do all this kind of configuration for the clock in / out  handling in the admin center, “configure clock in / out” page:

 

And of course do we display all of this information like pairing status, reason code, comment, the workflow approval status, the origin of the event (manual event, web clock/ mobile app, terminal) in the details section of the time event in the time sheet:

 

And this information is also available for time administrators on the manage manage clock in / out page as well. This screenshot shows the manage clock in/ out page for time administrators:

 

Again, you might say, all nice and good. But do you think your company is too complex? There are many employee groups within one location, some are allowed to record a manual time event, others don´t. Some are allowed to delete a punch coming from the terminal, others not. Let alone when it is a global company having different rules and regulations in each country. But to cater for all this different requirements within a company we provided very fine granular permission configuration options to set up what a user is allowed to do on clock in / outs in the time sheet.

These are the new clock in / out permission options that you can use for a “self” target group:

  • View Time Events – Allows you to view time events in the time sheet

  • Create Manual Time Events – Allows you to create manual time events in the time sheet or in case a punch has been forgotten

  • Delete Time Events created using Terminal – Allows you to delete time events uploaded from a time recording terminal. This might be necessary when there are “double punches” in the system, cause you swiped your card with the same reason code within a short time

  • Delete Time Events created manually – Allows you to delete time events created in the time sheet

  • Delete Time Events created using Clock Time – Allows you to delete time events created via “Clock Time” quick action card or mobile app

 

And of course this new permissions can be used for roles like time admins and employees. It has however to be mentioned that the configuration of this clock in / out permission roles is a bit different than what you are used to know.

To configure the permissions you navigate in admin tools, manage permission roles to the dedicated clock in / out permission section:

You get then to a page where you can define for example roles for an clock in / out administrator and for an employee role. Afterwards you tickmark the permissions that you want to set for each role. For an admin this could look like this:

Whereas for an employee it could look like this:

And afterwards you need to maintain the assignment and the target group for this role. This is done on the next tab of this page:

 

You might ask: why is this role setup different than what I am used to know? The answer is: the whole clock in / out pair formation machinery is running outside Successfactors, it runs on a different platform. And that´s why the permission setting is a bit different, but it is still done from the admin tool. But these are technical details you don´t need to bother with.

In the end it´s the same: you define permissions, set target population and afterwards you assign this role to users or permission groups.

But let me end this small excursus on permissions. It is all pretty self-explanatory once you set it up and at the end of this chapter you find anyway a link to a blog with more detailed information on the overall set up of clock in /out.

Like already mentioned, each time event in the time sheet (and on the admin manage clock in / out page) comes with all details that are available for this record. Like for example approval status of the manual recorded time events, terminal number for those time events coming from a time recording terminal (if your terminal can provide this data via our API), pairing status…And we also provide for time administrators and employees an indication if the pairing status of time events was not successful. Cause this really helps employees to identify if they need to correct data in the timesheet. And you will also see a fundamental change and improvement compared to SAP ERP Time. In SAP ERP Time the time valuation stopped when there was a time pair that was not successfully built. It just stopped. Even when there was a clock out missing for tuesday and the employee has correct time data on the subsequent days, the SAP ERP Time valuation still is stuck on Tuesday. No further time data processing from RPTIME. Hard stop in time valuation on Tuesday. Bad luck if your payroll was due to run and there was on Tuesday a clock in missing but not yet corrected and the employee has lots of other records for the whole week. No data for payroll for the rest of the week. Only when the error on Tuesday was corrected, time valuation did process this day. But bad luck when there was another punch missing on Wednesday as well. The ERP time valuation now runs Tuesday successfully but stops again on Wednesday. And again no processing of the rest of the week.

We handle this better. In our world only those records are marked as faulty that really could not be paired. But our time valuation is processing all other records and even can feed payroll with wage types resulting out of the other correct records of the week. This is only one of many benefits of the new world.

But of course this error needs to be corrected as well – cause something is missing and wrong. But it does not stop time valuation. And to better identify that in the pair formation something went wrong we highlight those records in the admin Ui and even in the employees time sheet in a specific manner.

For administrators we indicate in our Manage clock in/ out console those records that could not be paired with a red color code – at the very beginning of each line and even the content of the field “pairing status” is red:

 

Reasons for no successful pairing can be multiple, but most often it is that an employee has forgotten a time punch and you have a single time event remaining that cannot be paired. And this kind of visualization is also done for the employees time sheet. I used some big arrows to visualize this:

You see on day level on the very left side an indication that something is wrong. By clicking on it you get the error message, like:

And in the day panel on the right side we indicate which time pair led to this red status:

This visualization of unpaired time records to an employee is a big relief for time administrators. Cause now an employee can see on a glance in his time sheet if during the day or the week unpaired events exists – and correct this. And they see on a glance on which day, which record. Hence time admins do not have so much correction work any more. But what if the employee can´t correct his missing punches, cause he went right on the last day on vacation or got ill or you simply don´t want to give him permissions to create manual time events? No worries, as you saw above: the time admin can see this kind of red indication in the manage clock in / out page as well and delete or create new events so that the time pair can be created. 

But remember: the upload of events from terminals can happen nearly real time. So you might say: if we upload in a minute interval and the pair formation is real time, then immediately when an employee punches in the time event is marked red ?? But the employee is still on work and the clock in can only be paired with a clock out when the employee leaves office or goes into break hence employees and time admins would be swamped with lots of unnecessary alerts and red time events?? Does this make sense? No worries. We thought on this as well: You can configure an “overdue time event” period that needs to elapse before so-called “start” time events are shown red and alerts triggered. This can again be done in the time events configuration page:

With this setting a time event is only indicated red when 17 hours have passed and it is still unpaired. As mentioned above, this setting applies only for start events – cause we don´t know how long an employees shift is and how long he is expected to work to hard code this, hence you can adapt it as you like. But so called “stop-events” are treated differently. “Stop events” are the logical stopper of another start- event. A clock out is for example a “stop event” that is the end of a clock in (which is a start event). But an “end break” event for example is not a stop event – yes, it stops the break-start event, but it simultaneously starts a similar status as if the employee has clocked in. But don´t get confused with this ;-). You will find more info in the already mentioned blog on the secrets of start / stop events and in the end it´s not really complicated. Here we just need to know that a stop event which cannot be paired turns immediately into error, regardless which period you have defined above. If a stop event cannot be paired it means a clock in is missing and this is immediately a clear error. Whereas start events consider the above mentioned “overdue time event” period

But lets have again a concrete example to illustrate this:

Compare the following two screenshots, same employee, same time event from October 15th. One is taken as the 17 hours not-paired threshold has not been reached – the status still says Not paired, but it is not red, cause I took it on 15th October:

 

And now, on 19th October, same time event looks like this: red. And via the details link you even get the real-time information how long this event is in the status “not paired”:

Now lets come to the next real cool new enhancement for clock in / out:

Mobile Clock in / out app and webclock

This might be interesting for you if you don´t use clock in /out hardware terminals but you want to give your employees the possibility to nevertheless “clock in” when they get into office, when they work from home or when they work at a customer site. This can be enabled either with our mobile punch in application or even with a web clock that is running for desktop applications.

This is how the mobile app looks like:

This App does not only provide you the possibility to perform clock in / outs, but you see also the already performed clock in / outs per day. And when you have punched in it shows you the elapsed time since the last punch. Very nice feature. You can easily see how many hours you have worked since last clock in – and derive easily how many hours you still need to work to fulfill your daily planned hours.

Upon pressing the “Clock Time” button you get the selection possibility which kind of punch/ time event type you want to perform. This is of course configurable and depends on the settings that are done for the “clock in/ out group” that each employee is assigned in job information. Hence you can choose if there are only simple clock ins and clock outs, or even a dedicated time event type that starts a break, or that starts another attendance type like “short business trip” when you for example need to leave a building to go a long way to another building and this time shall be considered as working time.

What we do not yet support in general for the clock in / out scenario is however creating automated absence types with a clock out. This means you cannot clock out with the reason “doctors appointment” and expect that this creates automatically an absence record in the system. You would need to create a normal absence record either via the time sheet UI or via the time off Ui and perform then a normal clock out. So, currently clock in / out pair formation can only create attendance or break records for the time sheet.

But coming back to the mobile app and web clock.

What if you say: well, nice. But we don´t allow business apps on private mobile phones and not everyone has got a company mobile phone. Or the usage of mobile phones in your company is completely forbidden? Not each customer can due to security reasons allow mobile phones in the company, and neither are all employees out there yet digital natives. And you don´t want to invest in time recording terminals neither. We have got a solution for this customer segment, too. Just use our web clock that runs on the desktop:

Mobile web clock

You can navigate to the web clock via so-called quick actions right from the homepage:

Just click on the card for “clock time” and you get this:

The functionality of the web clock is similar like the mobile punch app. There is an elapsed clock running starting from the last clock in (or to be precise: last “start event”), you get the list of already performed time events per day and you can choose out of the time event types that are assigned to the employees “clock in / out group” in the job information. Plus you can easily navigate from this card into your time sheet if you want. Cause an edit of an already performed punch in the webclock or even a delete is not yet possible – neither from the mobile app. For this you need to navigate to the time sheet. Currently only a create of new time events – or clock ins / outs- is possible. But we plan to work on this.

In order that employees and even time administrators can distinguish which clock in / out came from a terminal or from web/mobile we even store this information and visualize it in the administrators clock in / out console and in an employees time sheet:

 

And when you say – yes, this is. The web clock or mobile app thats exactly what I need but only for one dedicated location or only for one employee group and others shall not be allowed to use the mobile app or the web clock, than we cater also for this. Just configure the new permission option for mobile /web clock and assign it to your permissions groups. This is done in the already mentioned new permissions and comes under the user permission section:

 

 

That´s more or less it. This chapter turned out to become a bit longer than planned, apologies. But I tried to explain a bit all the various business cases we now support with our clock in/ out application. If you now ask yourself, how is the overall configuration of this done, how is terminal software fed with a mini-master set of the relevant employees, what´s this “clock in/out group”, then let me direct you to an excellent blog of my colleague Steffen Dubetz. You will find all information you need to set up the whole scenario in this fantastic Clock in / out blog.

And if you ask yourself why this wonderful solution is still in Early Adopter mode and not General Available – the answer is quite easy: The microservice that handles the pair formation is not yet rolled out to all datacenters and we can make it only general available when all data centers are provided. Sydney, Rot, Amsterdam, Arizona, Ashburn, Singapore are the datacenters where this is already enabled, the rest is to come soon.

And let me now come to the next topic, it fits nicely into the clock in / out story, but I spent and extra chapter for it, cause many customers are looking for this possibility:

 

3 Notification mail in case yesterday has missing times

Especially in the positive time management area, and especially when you have clock in / out terminals integrated, you expect your employees to do a timely and correct time recording. But it can happen that employees forget their daily time recording. Many customers ask hence for a possibility to push in such cases notification mails to the employees. But you don´t just want to send each day a generic reminder to all employees. If you send to all employees each day the reminder function get´s lost. It´s like spam mails.

So, you probably just want to send a notification if yesterday was a planned day. Cause it makes no sense to send a reminder on Monday that employees have not recorded their times on Sunday ;-). And you don´t want to send notifications if yesterday was a full absence day. So, there needs to be a bit of logic to do this in a smart way.

With the help of the integration center you can create this smart notification mails. Neelesh from the Best Practice team described very detailed what you need to configure to achieve this:

Notification mails when yesterdays time recording is missing.

 

4 Cross Midnight for Time Sheet (Time Tracking)

General Availability

I am glad to announce that we move the cross midnight for time sheet functionality out of the early adopter status into general availability. So, each time tracking customer can use this functionality from H2 2021 onwards. Please find all necessary information on cross midnight in chapter 4 of my previous blog. In this one I don´t repeat the overall topic, but just describe the new features around cross midnight handling.

New filter options in time records filters

Determination of the correct premium for an employee working in a night shift can be quite complicated when it comes to constellations where an employee works “into” or “out of” a public holiday or into / out of a Sunday. In many countries you usually get when working in the night into a public holiday or into a Sunday from 00:00 onwards a higher premium instead of the normal night premium. Cause the employee then works physically on a public holiday or Sunday. And mosten often this higher premium is not only paid for the hours on the public holiday (or Sunday) itself, but even till 06:00 in the morning of the following day. Working into our out of Sunday was already covered in last release, now we deliver an enhancement to detect the correct premium pay when working in or out of public holidays.

Not so much theory, lets face a concrete example:

Todays shift day starts at 22:00. On the next calendar day (which is from 00:00 onwards) there is a public holiday. The start time of the planned working time determines the shift day, hence all hours “today” are not on a public holiday, but the hours after 00:00 are performed on a public holiday. This is what we means with “working into a public holiday”. And in many countries in Europe the employee gets for the times from 22:00 a night premium, but for the times from 00:00 onwards a public holiday premium. Hence time valuation needs to be able to look into the next days public holiday definition in order to generate the correct premium pay.

Another example for working out of a public holiday: Here the employee does not work a night shift, but a very early shift on Tuesday starting at 04:00. And remember those countries where a public holiday premium is paid not only on the public holiday itself, but till 06:00 in the morning the following day. For this the time valuation needs to look onto yesterdays day definition: yesterday was Monday and this was a public holiday. The employee performs on Tuesday an early shift starting from 04:00. So, our early shift employee receives when working his normal shift on Tuesday the time from 04:00 – 06:00 a public holiday premium, although the public holiday was yesterday (but spanned till 06:00 on the day after). And for this it is necessary that the time valuation is able to check tomorrows and yesterdays public holiday definition.

Hence, the time valuation overall needs to be able to look on the weekday and public holiday definition one day ahead, and one day back. Checking the weekdays like Sunday was already possible in our Early Adopter version, but now we enhanced the time records filters in a way that you also can check the public holiday definition of previous and next day.

This is how the new time record filters look like – you see the option to check the holiday class for the previous day, for current day and for next day. With this you should be able to cover all complex night shift scenarios:

 

To get this new option don´t forget to consider it in your permissions rule. This is done in the time management object permissions, Time Records Filter.Holiday Class Filter for Previous Day. This is how the permission looks like:

 

Core Night handling – §3b Einkommensteuergesetz Germany

Let me briefly touch upon a fairly complex pure German topic. In Germany work during night shift comes along with specific tax free portions of the night premium depending on if you start your work before or after 00:00. If your work started at 22:00 for example then the tax free portion of your night premium is 25% till 00:00, but 40% in the time frame from 00:00 – 04:00 and after 04:00 it is again 25% till 06:00 in the morning. But if you started your work after 00:00 then all night hours are only 25% tax free. So, the decisive factor is if you started work before or after 00:00. Many German SAP onprem customers know this kind of regulations as “core night handling” (Kernnacht) covered by the §3b Income Tax law (Einkommenssteuergesetz).

To cut a long story short: our solution is of course able to handle this. But since the configuration of this is a bit complex our Best Practice Team created sample configuration for core night handling. You can download and adapt. This facilitates and eases your implementation projects. See it as a kind of pattern that you can adjust – cause each customer will have it´s own flavour in it. My colleague Neelesh from the Best Practice Team deserves the merits to facilitate with this pre-configured patterns customer implementations. He has furthermore written an own blog that gives you a bit more details on the configuration:

Germany Core Night Sample Configuration

Lets come to the next new cross midnight feature:

Flextime bandwidth and cross midnight

And last but not least, we enabled flextime also for cross midnight. If you are first time reader of my blog please refer to my previous blogs on our flextime (in German “Gleitzeit”) concept. During the last releases we delivered a profound solution for this business case with flextime bandwidth, working time account calculations and automated periodical processes on the working time account like for example an automated cut above a threshold.
In last release it was not possible to have night shifts AND a flextime bandwidth. This obstacle is now removed. Just assign a flextime bandwidth in the cross midnight day models as you would do it for any other shift:

 

 

 

5 Additional Quick Approval Cards and Quick Action cards on new homepage

In last release we already delivered a quick approval card and an engagement card for leave requests. We add now more approval cards and also quick action cards.

The approval and quick action cards are shown on the home page and allows a manager or a time administrator to quickly do his daily business and for employees to have a quick and fast navigation or even direct action. The approval cards get pushed to the respective person and each card has specific content to facilitate a quick approval – instead of opening each workflow item one by one to get detailed information.

A bunch of quick approval cards are added this release. Quick approval card for:

  • Approval of time sheets
  • Approval of single attendance records
  • Approval of manual time events created or deleted for clock in / out
  • Approval of purchase leave requests
  • Approval of payout leave requests

This is how the overall homepage looks like with this cards:

 

Each card contains business context information. For the time sheet card we even enhanced the context information with additional fields based on various customer feedback in the past. We have for example an indicator if allowances or on call times are recorded within the time sheet, if absence records exist and of course the working time account balance. This facilitates the quick approval process. And if nevertheless an approver needs to see more details, he can click on the details button and navigates to the original workflow item with all information on it.

I am not describing all cards here, but just take the time sheet card as an example – you can quite easily figure out how the others look like by just using them:

 

The approval cards are piled up on a stack, but you also can click on display all and you get them in a kind of overview form:

 

Let´s come to the time management quick actions cards. We deliver 2 new quick actions, one for the web clock to perform clock in / out punches and one for the team absence calendar:

 

 

On the card for clock in / out I already elaborated in previous chapter, here just a screenshot again:

 

By default the system knows that I am currently clocked in and does provide me the only logical possible next time punch event: clock out. For this employee only clock in / out events exist, if this employee would be in a “clock in group” that allows also break punches, you would see here an option to clock out for break as well. And in the right corner you also see the direct navigation into the time sheet where an employee can see / record all his time data and see working time account balances or realtime valuation results.

And the “View team absences” card does what it says: it navigates directly to the team absence calendar. The enhancement here is that it is now not only for managers, but the navigation is now also possible for employees.  To enable this we introduced a new permissions. Check the next chapter on this:

6 Team absence calendar permission

As you have seen above, we deliver a quick card for direct access to the team absence calendar. But you can even decide based on permission settings if everyone in your company shall have access to the quick card. If there is a specific employee group that shall not have access to the quick card, you can create an own permission group and not set the below shown permission.

However, this permission even gives you more. If you want to use the quick card for the team absence calendar you must set the permission. But not setting it does not only mean no access to the quick card, but it also means: no access to team absence calendar at all. Some customers wanted to have the option to disable the team absence calendar for a specific employee group. Before this was not possible, the navigation to the team absence calendar from our time off UIs was always there. Now you can remove the navigation possibility.

 

7 Reporting Dashboards for Attendances and Absences

Let me draw your attention now on a very cool new enhancement. Your managers and time administrator will for sure love this feature. It´s a new reporting dashboard. Well, in fact two different dashboards. One for absence records and time account balances and one for time sheet data like attendance time types, time collectors, overtime, allowance types.

These dashboards come with People Analytics Embedded Edition. And the dashboards are only kind of templates that you can adapt and adjust. But before going into the details, lets have a look on how these dashboards look like.

First the dashboard for time sheet data:

You see figures and diagrams based on time sheet approval status, time types, allowance types and collectors.

And this is the absence dashboard:

You see figures and diagrams based on absence time types and time account balances.

The good thing here is that you easily can configure the dashboards. You can put thresholds and limits into the dashboards. An example would be for working time or time off in lieu accounts that you define a threshold of 20 hours and you easily can see then if the threshold is reached.

Or you can define a minimum duration of absences, let´s say 10 days, and only then it counts like in the example above as “long and recommended vacation” to get a figure how many employees have taken a mandatory or minimum 2- weeks vacation for example.

There are lots of business use cases possible with this kind of dashboards. You just need a bit creativity and willingness to explore the options that are available in this tool.

Let me just draw your attention on another feature that comes with this dashboard – the navigation from the dashboards to dedicated list reports:

Overall this provides managers and time admins a direct access to important facts and figures. And they can easily set filters and date ranges themself.

 

8 Concurrent absences for Netherlands, UK and Spain (Early Adopter)

What are concurrent absences?

Normally two absence records at the same time is not possible – from most business case point of view and even from system behavior point of view. Either I am in vacation or I am sick. If you try to record a vacation overlapping with an illness record this ought to be a collision and not possible. However, you might have the business case where you want to enable that an employee gets ill during an existing vacation and the vacation record should be interrupted by the illness record. This is possible with our “split and delimit” collision configuration. But having an active illness record and in parallel an active vacation record ? Not possible currently in the system. Well, it was not possible, now it is.

There are some countries where really two absences need to exist in parallel in the system, and even both shall be replicated to payroll. And we provide this with our so-called “concurrent absence feature”.

The business reasons for it differs from country to country. In Netherlands for example all illness records need to be recorded with an open end date – even when you have a doctors certificate. And only when the employee really returns to work the end date of the illness record is set. So, technically the first end date of the illness record is 31.12.9999 – and this record overwrites then all future recorded vacation records. When the employee returns to work after 2 weeks he would need to re-create all his future vacation records. Not nice.

Or there are countries where you partially go on maternity / paternity leave. You work half day and the other half day you are on maternity leave. But nevertheless you might get sick or go on vacation during this period. And here again 2 valid overlapping absences need to be in the system.

Or there are countries where you are ill, but only partially ill. You are ill at 80% hence you got a work capacity of 20%. Means for a 40 hours week you ought to work 8 hours. But yet, you can go on vacation or get another illness on this day. This is a business use case for Netherlands and to support not only the multiple absences at the same time, but also the so-called “work capacity” we introduced the country specific work capacity field which also gets replicated to EC Payroll.

So, couple of reasons why “concurrent absences” are needed. This feature is available for Early Adopters for country extensions UK, Netherlands and Spain. If you are interested in it, get in contact with us.

And due to the fact that a proper collision handling for overlapping records normally exists to prevent erroneous data entry, we inform the employee upon absence recording that concurrent absences exist in the period where he wants to create the new one – just in case he did not intend to create a concurrent absence, but really made a mistake ;-):

Let me direct you for more detailed information on this early adopter feature regarding switching on, country specifics, configuration and time sheet handling to the excellent blog from our Time Off expert Priyanka:

Concurrent Absences Detail blog

 

9 Termination end handling in Time Off (Early Adopter)

We have enhanced the process handling of termination an employee in a way, that enables you to rehire him in the same accrual period. For more information on this topic please check out Priyankas blog specific on this topic only:

Termination End Handling blog

 

10 Edit disabling of external time data in time sheet (Time Tracking)

You most probably now our external time data API via which 3rd party systems can send attendance or break records into the time sheet. This API is used when you have external time recording systems running and want to feed our time valuation, when you use our Clock in / out integration or partner clock in / out integrations.

You can now send for each record in the payload an indicator if this record can be edited in the time sheet or not. Why is this important?

Usually when you have clock in / out or other attendance systems connected then what the terminal devices send is usually the truth. You don´t want that someone edits this record. If there is an edit necessary, you usually edit the original raw data and send then the data again. Otherwise you might have an inconsistency in the data when you edit a record in a system where you have the data replicated to.

For this we provide a new field in the external time data called “correction scenario”. The default entry of the new field is “Time Sheet and External system”, this means the external data record can be edited in our time sheet UI. If you already use our Odata API and you don´t want a different behaviour, you don´t need to change anything. If you don´t give us an entry for this field, the default is handled in a way that you can still edit the record in the time sheet.

However, if you don´t want that an external time data is edited, you can now send us for this field the value “External System”. This has the effect, that the record appears in display only mode in the time sheet.

This is how the new field in the external time data looks like:

If you set this field to “External System” you can´t edit the record in the time sheet. As you can see, the fields of the record are read only then:

 

Some points worth mentioning:

If you added custom fields in the time sheet those can still be maintained. When you for example upload times from external systems and want to add a project code in the time sheet, then you are still able to do so, cause the project code would be a custom field.

If by any reason you nevertheless need to edit the record you can via manage data for this external time date record choose the value “Time Sheet and External System” again, and this allows you then to edit the record in the time sheet.

And please note that this feature works only for Time Tracking customers and with this only in the new Time Sheet UI.

 

11 Cancellation instead of deletion of leave payout requests after approval

Another small, but yet important enhancement. This is for time account payout requests from employees. It can happen from time to time that when an employee requests a time account payout, it gets approved but the employee then changes his mind after approval. In the past, when a time account payout request was already approved it could only be deleted in order to remove it. A deletion of the time account payout request however had the effect that the entry vanishes completely – and this does not really give you then the full correct history of employee interaction.

That´s why we exchange the “delete” functionality in the time administrator workbench with a “cancel” functionality. You can see in belows screenshot that there is no a cancel functionality instead of a delete functionality:

 

And if you cancel, the status changes to “cancelled” as well:

 

The end-to-end process to EC Payroll still works the same as for deletion: a proxy gets created which triggers a re-read of Payroll integration and the payroll might trigger a recalculation if payroll has already processed this.

If you still want to delete this record from the database, you can do this via manage data.

 

12 Permission enhancement to reduce absence type read access on target group basis

This permission enhancement goes back to a highly voted influence request on influence.sap.com. We deliver for the employee time object an enhancement that allows you to further restrict read access for absence time types. You can for example define a role where a workers council is allowed to see only absences of type “vacation” and only for a specified target group, like all employees in location x. This permission is then read everywhere – in the time administrator workbench, team absence calendar and reporting.

Please note that this enhancement is only relevant for absence time types, not for time sheet nor for time accounts.

Here is the option, it´s in the target group definition:

 

 

13 Defaulting of continued pay dates (Entgeltfortzahlung) and sick pay supplement dates (Krankengeldzuschuss) for Germany (Early Adopter)

This is only relevant for country extension Germany. In Germany there are regulations that in case of sickness 42 calendar days within a 6 month period is paid leave (or even within 1 year from start of sickness to first start of next sickness). Well, to be precise: for each own sickness cause / diagnosis a new 42 days period starts.

In SAP ERP IT2001 Absences there is an automated calculation of the end of continuos pay date which gets read from SAP Payroll engine. Furthermore, many customers pay after this 42 days a sick pay supplement which usually differs from your normal salary. And rates and periods can even vary amongst different employee groups. For sick pay supplement there are as well fields in the Absence Infotype in SAP ERP and they can also get calculated automatically based on configuration.

In the country extension for Germany we have in EC Time as well fields for end of continuos pay and sick pay supplement start / end date. These fields get replicated with our IT2001 replication to EC Payroll.  Up to now you had to manually fill those fields. However, we started to go the path to do an automated calculation. In this release we take the first step and provide a basic automated calculation which will be enhanced in next releases with further functionality. This new automated calculation does not yet consider linked sickness records (you usually link them when you get from the health insurance the information that they are based on the same illness cause). So up to now it is only a kind of initial defaulting when an illness record gets created. And when you link the absences you can overwrite the defaulted fields with your manually calculated dates. Due to the limited initial functionality is why we ship this feature only for Early Adopters, means it is not in the general shipment. If you are interested to already use this feature, get in contact with us and we activate it for you and you can give us feedback to further improve it. And if you are interested in this topic but expect a more automated calculation, stay tuned cause we are working on this.

But how does it actually work? You can set for each timetype of the category “sickness” a period for defaulting the fields “end of continued pay” and “start / end of sick pay supplement” via manage data:

If a sickness record is created, you will have an additional button “Set sick pay dates” in the absence request form:

 

After pressing the button, the defined periods are added to the start date of the absence:

If you need to change a date cause you need to consider linked absences for example, you can overwrite the defaulted values. The sickness record including this defaulted fields are replicated for Germany and SAP payroll into the Infotyp 2001 Absences.

 

14 Mobile Time Off permission enhancement on custom field level overwrite 

Another quick one: the mobile time off application did in the past not consider the permissions for custom field overwrite. If for example you have a custom field for an illness absence type where time administrators are attaching an illness certificate you usually set this field for employees to read only. However, this permission was not considered in the mobile time off app. Now it is. So, no action for you, if you have set this permission it works now also in the mobile time off app correct.

 

15 Rule function for allowance recording validation in time sheet

This rule function can be used for on save validation rules for the time sheet. It allows you to check for example allowances in general (or a specific allowance type) and to sum up the occurrence of this allowances in the period you specify. The return value is hence the number of allowances. You can prompt an error when for example a specific allowance type is tried to be recorded more than 10 times a month.

This is how the rule function looks like:

You get the new rule function in the time sheet validation rule scenario.

 

16 Enhanced time integration to SAP onprem Payroll (Early Adopter)

You might know that our integration scenarios from EC Time to EC Payroll are not only more but even more advanced then the integration to SAP onprem payroll. This double integration scenarios come now finally to an end and we can provide same integration content for both worlds.

For Early Adopters we provide for onprem customers same integration scenarios as for EC Payroll customers.

This includes daily planned working time replication into IT2003 (this makes double configuration and maintenance of workschedules on both sides unnecessary), clock-time based absence records into IT2001 with country specific fields (especially for illness records), for a bunch of countries time account balance replication into IT2006 and the time wage type replication from EC time valuation into IT 2010. All based on point-to-point replication.

If you are interested in this Early adopter program, please get in contact with us. There are certain technical conditions to be met – like 6.08 latest support package, EA-HR SP99 latest support package, PA_SE_IN 32 and the so-called BIB implemented.

 

So, puhh, this was again much to read for you and much to write for me ;-). But I managed to stay under 10000 words 😉  Hope as always that you like what we delivered and that this kind of information with a bit business context and examples is helpful for you.

Stay safe, healthy and lucky.

Volker Ruof

SF Time Product Management

 

And here a list of all the above referred blogs:

Clock in / out blog.

Notification mails when yesterdays time recording is missing.

Germany Core Night Sample Configuration

Concurrent Absences Detail blog

Termination End Handling blog

Assigned Tags

      13 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Sreekanth Garladinne
      Sreekanth Garladinne

      Very well written and very useful features.. not easy for Time Tracking kind of complex topic to convey.. Well done. thanks

      Author's profile photo baladeba behera
      baladeba behera

      Nice ONE. Thanks for sharing.

      Author's profile photo Malyadri Garimella Jwala
      Malyadri Garimella Jwala

      Very nice

      Author's profile photo ahmed ibrahim
      ahmed ibrahim

      very good see me in kuwait

      Author's profile photo Neelesh Kamath
      Neelesh Kamath

      Hi Volker,

      Thanks for the wonderful blog as always 🙂

      Best Regards

      Neelesh

      Author's profile photo Petra Rana
      Petra Rana

      Thank you very much Volker for another extremely useful blog! Couple of questions if I may please ....

      1. 7 Reporting Dashboards for Attendances and Absences - which feature number is this? Could not locate in the What's New Viewer. Thank you very much.
      2. With H2 2021 ... if we have couple of licences only and functionality for Time Tracking enabled ... users be able to record cross midnight attendance as default option? currently our users can only record the missing 1 minute till midnight in the new timesheet UI... I am concerned that with H2 2021 they will be automatically be able to record cross midnight. Thank you
      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Petra,

      the reporting dashboard is not really a "time" feature, it´s an reporting feature and there are more dashboards available. I just listed the times ones here to have one central place where time-related features are mentioned.

      Find out more on the dashboards in the help guide:

      https://help.sap.com/viewer/1a17ad0982664c629f8af7d47a631672/2111/en-US/f0746e731e914fe8b63cf71b067e962d.html

      And regarding your other question: Yes, employees can now record cross midnight - even if you don´t want it. There is nothing that prevents them from doing so - unless you create time valuation rules or maybe input validations to raise an error. But that´s then not only a problem for attendances, but also for partial day absences - even those could be recorded cross midnight. But recording till exactly 00:00 is not yet "cross midnight" and you don´t need time tracking for the recording till 00:00 .

      Best regards

      Volker

      Author's profile photo Petra Rana
      Petra Rana

      Thank you very much Volker for clarification!

      Author's profile photo Alexandra Dinca
      Alexandra Dinca

      Thank you for the explanations, Volker! Very useful blog!

      I've done quite a bit of research and I was not able to clearly understand if we can set-up rules for obligatory rest periods (e.g. at least x uninterrupted hours of rest between work shifts or previous vs. current work day end/start times). How would we achieve this?

      Example:

      we have a rest period between working shifts of 11 hours

      on Nov 1, employee starts shift work at 10:00 and ends work at 18:00.

      on Nov 2, employee wants to start shift work at 6:00 --> the system gives the employee an error message and does not allow them to book the start time

      on Nov 2, employee can start work at 7:00 (at the earliest).

       

      And, if this is possible to configure, can we use Timesheet only? (without needing to implement Time Tracking).

       

      Many thanks & Have a delightful day! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Alexandra,

      unfortunately this is currently not yet possible via time valuation rules. This is on the enhancement list for future releases.

      But coming to the business scenario of this: You really want an error for this? So the employee is in the shift at 06:00 and want to start work, but the customer wants to prevent his time recording although he actually did perform the work or even was in the shift? What is he expected to do then in your example- wait 1 hour before he can start to work?

      This is always a bit the contradiction between official regulations and "real" business life. I would rather assume that you raise for example just alerts but acknowledge the employees working time, and if more than 3 times of an alert there is a talk with the employee.... Cause just not letting him enter his working time although he has worked is not really meeting the rest rule neither ;-).

      Best regards

      Volker

       

      Author's profile photo Alexandra Dinca
      Alexandra Dinca

      Thanks for the quick reply, Volker!

      Since the feature is not yet available, then I would say we could use Reporting to extract the start/end times data and work with it outside the system (i.e. in excel), so that we calculate hours of rest between the shifts. Any limitation regards to Reports?

      You're right, the scenario was rather harsh and the system should indeed allow a real reflection of the start/end times. Raising alerts is actually something I would recommend and prefer to implement.

      I appreciate your time with this! 🙂

       

      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Alexandra,

      yes, this is probably the best approach right now. I am not seeing limitations with reporting. You have the employee time type report that gives you the timetypes and start / end time- it might be a bit difficult to sort out the last record of a day (when there are multiple) but outside of the system there can be multiple options.

      Best regards

      Volker

      Author's profile photo Alexandra Dinca
      Alexandra Dinca

      Many thanks, Volker!

      Have a great rest of your week!

       

      Kind Regards,

      Alexandra