Update on the Timekeeping Issues

Clock on a pile of moneyFollowing up on a previous post on this subject, I emailed Melanie Bourcier, the head timekeeper, to let her know of our timekeeping issues in this Chapter. Here is her response dated 9/30/2016:

“I am sorry to hear that we have timekeepers out there that appear to be requiring employees to submit a time and attendance sheet and report their start and stop times. Clearly, there is no “official” time keeping sheet and the only time employees are required to state their time in and out is for premium hours worked. That information can be simply an email as long as those premium hours were approved in advance per policy, dependent upon what type of premium hours are being claimed. I have attached the latest guidance that has went out FDA wide. I see nothing in the guidance that deviates from anything you are stating. The guidance clearly states “If policies or procedures conflict with Collective Bargaining Agreement(s) those agreements govern the policies and procedures for bargaining unit employees.”

“Any pay & leave training that is being given from DHRD or HQ’s level for both management and timekeepers, is very clear in the understanding that employees, are not required to state their time in/out unless of course it is for premium hours. That is a requirement but they only have to state the times they worked the premium hours, not the time they started their day.

“I am not sure where the timekeepers are getting their information, mandating employees to state “start and stop” times. I am aware of some Regions who has attempted to put a Time and Attendance sheet in place for when it is necessary to turn in a timesheet. I have reminded Management that they must bargain with their Local Union before putting their timesheets in place but again, it has not required any start or stop times to be listed for their normal work days. Then once the new guidance came out, stating if all leave was entered into ITAS and the employee verified their timecard, no Time and Attendance would need to be submitted. This would eliminate turning in a timesheet altogether. So I’m just amazed that this is happening.

“I will work on getting the message out to the timekeepers. As I’ve stated, I do not know where they are getting the information. Employees have not had to put the start and stop times for their regular day worked for some time. I’m at a loss as to why this is happening but I will develop a message to go out to all timekeepers as a reminder of what is required. Thank you for bringing this to my attention as I truly was not aware that this was going on.”

The timecard verification guidance, however, may be misunderstood. On page 1, number 1, second and third bullets, it instructs employees to not submit or submit a “separate timesheet.” Timekeepers may be interpreting this to mean a form or spreadsheet. During consultation and negotiations between FDA and NTEU, the Union suggested to change “separate timesheet” to “correction with supporting documentation.” I believe we are seeing the problem with the term the Agency chose to use in the guidance.

I hope the agency revises the guidance to clarify this issue. Otherwise, this problem will pop up all over the Agency from time to time creating a need for more training and clarification.

I welcome your questions and comments on this subject.