It’s Not That Hard
For almost four years now, I’ve been responsible for handling time cards for a handful of people in my office. I collect their leave slips, their tracked overtime forms, and their travel compensation requests. I check their claimed time against the reports and our attendance report prior to getting all their paperwork signed by our Branch Chief and submitted to D.C. I do this every two weeks, and in the nearly four years that I’ve been completing this task, I’ve only made one mistake which was 50% the fault of the employee submitting paperwork (he forgot a few things, so his leave was a bit screwy for one pay period). It’s a glamorous job, I know.
Due to some issues in the states we assist, which are insanely boring and zero fun to discuss, we have a few people who travel for weeks at a time all over the country. Their absence means that they either have to submit their time card to me while on the road or get it to me before they depart. Easy, right? The first time around, half of them completely forgot about it and had to scramble to fax everything over to me by the cut off time. I’d like to tell you that particular problem has worked itself out, but they still forget on a regular basis, and I’m currently still chasing down one time card submission from an angry guy twenty feet away from me that’s been ignoring my requests. It boggles my mind; when my time card is due, it’s signed and submitted first thing in the morning. I want to get paid on time and paid properly.
Lately, our traveling employees have been trying to be good about submitting their time cards early so I have them on file and ready to go when they are due. Unfortunately, this has also proven to be an incredible challenge. Because many of them work late hours and are still hanging around when I’m gone for the day, I’m not always at my desk when they get ready to turn in their paperwork. Most just leave it on my keyboard or in my chair, but some are less cautious to let papers with their social security number just lie around. Sometimes they give it to my boss (who often loses it, as his office is a crazy black hole filled with random papers and empty coffee cups). Other times they leave it with whoever also happens to be in the office, giving an unsuspecting person a responsibility they likely do not want.
My solution for the crowd that submitted paperwork when I was away and wasn’t comfortable leaving it out was to simply scan and email the documents to me. Every part of my office has a scanner that takes the document straight to a convenient folder on the shared drive. It takes me about five minutes to scan and email all 13 of the time cards I currently process, and that includes time waiting on Outlook to catch up and time spent naming the documents before scanning. To me, this was the best solution in keeping time cards secure while still ensuring I received them. But sadly this has proven to be impossible for one special person. She acts as if I haven’t requested she do this three times in the past (four counting today) and continues to needlessly make my life difficult and jeopardize her own pay by not ensuring that accurate information has been received.
Putting the paperwork together for each time card is very easy and takes only a few moments; I do it for my boss every two weeks. None of our employees are new to the process and confused about how things work. And I don’t care who you are, no one is too busy to take two minutes and complete a couple forms to make sure they get their paycheck on time and in full. My special case constantly waits until the last possible second to submit her paperwork, meaning that she often drops by after 4pm on Fridays when I’m already gone. This is the fourth time she has made her time card an issue by submitting it late, giving it to the wrong person (who thankfully is one of the good ones around here and kept it safe), and ignoring my requests that would ensure I received everything I needed on time.
Most of these people are old enough to be my parent, have worked here for years, and are competent enough to hold their position successfully. They have homes, bills, and other adult responsibilities. They manage to feed themselves while at work every day and always sprint down to the main office when we have a pitch-in or free donuts. And still, EVERY time and without fail, I am chasing half of them down up until the last second to get their time card paperwork so they can get paid. If they fail, I must submit either a basic card for them (80 hours straight pay, no overtime or comp time recorded) or I must submit a card with only the leave I am able to track from their leave slips, if any. This obviously leads to errors in pay that can sometimes take a month to fix. My job is complete so long as each employee has a time card, so my insistence on timeliness and accuracy is solely for their benefit.
I’ve begun to be a tad less understanding with these folk when it comes to their inability to follow simple directions. I hate to come off as bitchy, but being nice isn’t working so a more direct approach is much needed. The feedback I’ve received from my special case’s supervisor is positive, but who knows if she’ll actually have it sink in or if I’ll just be frustrated once again two weeks from now. As much as I’d love to quit playing babysitter to these people, I can’t help but go out of my way to help, as I know how pay issues can really screw a person up. Keeping my fingers crossed that one of these days, they act like they care about their paychecks as much as I do.