Accurate time accounting



  • Okay, I'm bored again today and while catching up on DWTF posts, I thought of one that happened to me not too long ago.

     So I STILL work for the shitty contracting agency.  (Working on correcting that but the economy stinks.)  Just to catch you all up on the time accounting policy when you're a gov contractor, you're required to account for all of your time in an automated system.  No problem, it's standard in so many companies.  The thing that boggles me is that I'm a salaried, full time employee.  I don't get paid overtime.  So I don't see the use in marking 44 hours down on my time card, even if I did work 44 hours.  If I don't get paid for the extra 4 hours, why do they pretend to charge the customer for it?  (Oh, I should also say these are firm-fixed price contracts!  Not time and materials.)  So that argument is met by PHB-language explaining how they'll use the reported time for estimating future similar contracts.  Okay, whatever.  We don't actually work that way, but whatever.

    So a few months ago I had to take a trip to provide system training to a customer on the other side of the world.  (Almost, I'm in Virginia, customer in Hawaii.)  In order to show up bright and shiny on Monday morning, I have to fly on Sunday.  And in order to get home just slightly after midnight on Friday, I schedule my return flight for 7am on Friday.  It all goes pretty well, except one of my flights on Friday got cancelled and I got the old Airline BOHICA treatment.  I left Honolulu at 7am on Friday and walked into my front door at 6:30am Saturday.  It was BRUTAL.

    Project manager couldn't understand why I put 40 hours down on my timecard instead of the actual 75 or so hours including my travel hell.  Can anybody tell me what good it does the company, the contract, or future contracts to know that I didn't get paid for 35 hours that week?  Do they really think they should estimate future contracts to this customer assuming 24-hour flights home just because it happened to me?

     



  •  Use the time accounting tool in your next yearly evaluation to get a raise? If you don't get paid for your overtime, you deserve to get paid extra during the hours you do get paid.



  • To answer the original question the accounts receivable folks will use this info to bill the customer for the number of hours of service that your company provided to theirs.  The fact that you are salaried has no bearing on this.  If your company is fixed term billing, then they still need to accurately estimate the number of hours to bill the customer.  Just because they bill by the hour doesn't mean they pay by the hour!



  • @huai said:

    To answer the original question the accounts receivable folks will use this info to bill the customer for the number of hours of service that your company provided to theirs.  The fact that you are salaried has no bearing on this.  If your company is fixed term billing, then they still need to accurately estimate the number of hours to bill the customer.  Just because they bill by the hour doesn't mean they pay by the hour!

    She already said the contracts were fixed-price, though, so number of hours shouldn't come into play.  Still, I can see the advantage for real work hours in estimating future contracts, but not in time lost due to a travel fuck-up.



  •  Exactly.  Fixed price contracts.  AR has no say in what we bill, they just send out an invoice for the contract price which was negotiated up front.  The more people like Huai try to explain it to me, the more it sounds like corporate funny money.  For all I know, dept A bills Dept B for the hours I put on my timecard even though Dept A had nothing to do with the project.  Probably Dept B had nothing to do with my project, either!



  • Sometimes it can help you and work in your advantage, but it really depending on the company. I'm salaried too, but if I work 50 hours one week, and then (although not official by any means) do 35 hours the next week they can't really complain. They used to ask, I'd show them the previous weeks times and they'd just go "Fair enough" and walk off.



  • At my current company they do it in the completely opposite way.  The timecards don't record the amount of time you worked, but the amount of time you didn't work (for salaried employees). 



  • @Mole said:

    Sometimes it can help you and work in your advantage, but it really depending on the company. I'm salaried too, but if I work 50 hours one week, and then (although not official by any means) do 35 hours the next week they can't really complain. They used to ask, I'd show them the previous weeks times and they'd just go "Fair enough" and walk off.

    We have a similar arrangement here, except that company policy officially states that hours should match up on a quarterly basis. So if I work 50 hours one week, then I should work 25 hours some other week before the end of the quarter (we have 7.5 hour nominal work days, not including lunch break).

    Finnish laws are a bit funny in this way, as they don't allow an employee to work too much even voluntarily. If you do too much uncompensated overtime, you can be forced to take a (paid) vacation to balance it out. My dad had a six-month vacation that way.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    I'm a salaried, full time employee.  I don't get paid overtime. 
     

    Wut?

    I'm a salaried, full-time employee. I get paid overtime.



  • @dhromed said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    I'm a salaried, full time employee.  I don't get paid overtime. 
     

    Wut?

    I'm a salaried, full-time employee. I get paid overtime.

    My company doesn't offer overtime as a rule either. I do get time off in lieu but like most people I then often forget to take it before it expires.



  • The THEORY is fairness - company X says in its proposals that they're working you 40 hours but really work you 80 hours - their costs are (roughly) half what a real company could bid, and they win every contract.

    The REASON is your company said in the contract they would account for every hour and running afoul of DCAA or its equivalent is a HUGE pain in the hiney.

    The government has an interest in fair contracting - the TRWTF is saying that with a straight face.

    The TrueTRWTF is that the rules end up wrecking any pretense of professional responsiblity in the people who have to live under them.



  • @dhromed said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    I'm a salaried, full time employee.  I don't get paid overtime. 
     

    Wut?

    I'm a salaried, full-time employee. I get paid overtime.

    In the United States there are two types of "Salary" pay definitions.

    Salaried Exempt -- Do not get paid overtime.  Salaried - Non-Exempt - Recieve overtime pay at 1/2 their nominal hourly rate.  There are also some loose definitions of what types of workers and what salary levels are required for an employee to meet the definitions.  This is to prevent companies from just saying "Ok, You're now salaried at $10.00 per month, but we expect you to work an 80 hour workweek" .  A loose rule of thumb is that the salary must be at least equal to "minimum wage" for a 40 hour work-week.

    Salaried Exempt employees must also be paid their full salaries for any pay period during which they worked, regardless of whether they worked 1 hour or 100.  This can be pro-rated based on hire/termination date.  For example, if the pay period is May 1 through May 15th, assuming that the employee is in the companies employ during the entirety of the period, If they work for 8 hours on May 7th they would still expect a full paycheck for that period.

    Also, if a company "requires" time-sheets or time-cards for salaried exempt employees, as in the example above, they could be viewed as treating those employees as hourly and forced to pay fines as well as back dated overtime ( at the non-exempt rate of 1/2 pay for each hour). YMMV depending on the specific labor laws of your jurisdiction. And it usually looks bad for an employer to require time-cards for hourly employees up until the date the labor investigation starts, and then tell the "salaried" employees to stop keeping time cards.



  • @Medezark said:

    Recieve overtime pay at 1/2 their nominal hourly rate
     

    half the rate?

    That's a typo, right?



  • @dhromed said:

    @Medezark said:

    Recieve overtime pay at 1/2 their nominal hourly rate
     

    half the rate?

    That's a typo, right?

    There's an aphorism that seems appropriate here:

    Euopeans work to live

    Americans live to work



  • @dhromed said:

    @Medezark said:

    Recieve overtime pay at 1/2 their nominal hourly rate
     

    half the rate?

    That's a typo, right?

    Just poorly worded.  They receive overtime pay in addition to their hourly rate for overtime hours.  Or, in the vernacular, they get time-and-a-half.



  • @bstorer said:

    Just poorly worded.  They receive overtime pay
    in addition to their hourly rate for overtime hours.
     

    Phew!

     

    @OzPeter said:

    There's an aphorism that seems appropriate here:

    Euopeans work to live

    Americans live to work

     

    Bunk. Total bunk.

    I would have called America "employer-friendly" and europe "employee-friendly" if and only if bstorer hadn't clarified Medezark's numbers. but now, that aphorism is just unfounded stereotypical meh.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Project manager couldn't understand why I put 40 hours down on my timecard instead of the actual 75 or so hours including my travel hell.  Can anybody tell me what good it does the company, the contract, or future contracts to know that I didn't get paid for 35 hours that week?  Do they really think they should estimate future contracts to this customer assuming 24-hour flights home just because it happened to me?

    No, but a company would want to pad the cost of every flight by a certain amount to cover extra costs (both in money and cancelled meetings) arising from the ones which are delayed, cancelled or hijacked. They may not fly staff around often enough to get a good estimate of (say) how long a round trip to Hawaii is expected to take, but they are less likely to do so if they have no record of your journey.



  • @OzPeter said:

    There's an aphorism that seems appropriate here:

    Euopeans work to live

    Americans live to work

    I've got another:

    All the smart people* fled the shithole of Europe long ago and if it weren't for America constantly bailing your asses out and taking over security, Europe would long ago have fallen to National Socialism, Communism and, ultimately, cannibalism.

     

    * Except dhromed.



  • @__moz said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    Project manager couldn't understand why I put 40 hours down on my timecard instead of the actual 75 or so hours including my travel hell.  Can anybody tell me what good it does the company, the contract, or future contracts to know that I didn't get paid for 35 hours that week?  Do they really think they should estimate future contracts to this customer assuming 24-hour flights home just because it happened to me?

    No, but a company would want to pad the cost of every flight by a certain amount to cover extra costs (both in money and cancelled meetings) arising from the ones which are delayed, cancelled or hijacked. They may not fly staff around often enough to get a good estimate of (say) how long a round trip to Hawaii is expected to take, but they are less likely to do so if they have no record of your journey.

     

    I'm going to be pedantic and say that such costs should be covered under risk management for all contracts/projects that require travel.  So I don't buy this explanation, either.  No offense.  

    Part of the reason I'm unhappy with my job:  I started learning project management and got all disgruntled when I learned how things were supposed to be run, how corporate monkeys claimed were being run, and reality.

    Also, I'm still disgruntled about the un-compensated 24-hour horrendous travel day.  Even though it was my choice to take the next available redeye flight rather than camping out at the airport hotel for a night and continuing the next day.  This is one American who works to live, not the other way around.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Part of the reason I'm unhappy with my job:  I started learning project management and got all disgruntled when I learned how things were supposed to be run, how corporate monkeys claimed were being run, and reality.

    Ahh Grasshopper .. your have started to see the truth of the world

    @jetcitywoman said:

    Also, I'm still disgruntled about the un-compensated 24-hour horrendous travel day.  Even though it was my choice to take the next available redeye flight rather than camping out at the airport hotel for a night and continuing the next day.  This is one American who works to live, not the other way around.

    I used to fly internationally quite a bit and was peeved that even though I experienced 27-30 hours travel time door to door (in economy class as well), the company would only let me bill 16 hours of time per trip. Plus no matter how jet-lagged I was, I was expected to show up to work on time the day after arriving. Thats easy to do when you fly East-West but a hell of a lot harder when you fly West-East.

    yeah yeah .. snow, up-hill each way, got up 3 hours before had to go to bed etc



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    All the smart people* fled the shithole of Europe long ago and if it weren't for America constantly bailing your asses out and taking over security, Europe would long ago have fallen to National Socialism, Communism and, ultimately, cannibalism.

    Have you seen the Greece fiasco? Europe certainly isn't out of danger yet.

    On another note, this rich text edit field doesn't even slightly work in Chrome.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Project manager couldn't understand why I put 40 hours down on my timecard instead of the actual 75 or so hours including my travel hell.  Can anybody tell me what good it does the company, the contract, or future contracts to know that I didn't get paid for 35 hours that week?  Do they really think they should estimate future contracts to this customer assuming 24-hour flights home just because it happened to me?

    Here are some reasons you should put down the correct time (in order of prioity):

    1) Your boss asked you to, and you're just being a jerk by not doing it in the first place. Unless your boss is a jerk, in which case ignore this one.

    2) If you're consistently working 50+ hour weeks, and can prove it, you have a lot more leverage when negotiating your next raise. Or, you can make a solid case for hiriing on more help.

    3) By putting in your actual hours, you're helping your project managers estimate costs and profitability. This could help stave off being laid off in a down economy.

    4) If you give a crap, correct timekeeping is a requirement of SOX compliance. Your company could potentially be fined if they are audited.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Have you seen the Greece fiasco? Europe certainly isn't out of danger yet.

    We need a Persian king to come in and kill all the Greeks again.  Thankfully, Ahmadjinehad seems up to the task.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Have you seen the Greece fiasco? Europe certainly isn't out of danger yet.

    We need a Persian king to come in and kill all the Greeks again.  Thankfully, Ahmadjinehad seems up to the task.

    And then it will be up to the Spartans to stop him with their perfect society of free men.  I saw a documentary about it.  They have abs of steel and will never bow to the might of the evil Persian army, unlike those fags from Athens.



  • Maybe, for various management reasons, they want an accurate picture of exactly how much work you are doing. Is that really hard to grasp?

    Maybe they bill your time out at different rates depending what project you work on.

    Maybe your 40 hour time cards make it look like you're getting off easy and they should pile more load on you. Underreporting your own effort on something is extremely damaging to yourself.



  • If I was a manager and had two employee's, one of which consistently put 40 hours on his time card and another that always had more, I'd assume the first one was doing the bare minimum to keep his job, so would be the one least likely to get a pay rise and most likely to be laid off should budget get tight. Kinda obvious, really. 

    Where I work, the more visible you are, the more likely you are of being kept (or even better, moving up a pay grade). So you make a big issue out of something and you get noticed when you solve it. Play it down or just fix it without getting lots of management involved, and your someone that can be replaced. 



  • @Mole said:

    If I was a manager and had two employee's, one of which consistently put 40 hours on his time card and another that always had more, I'd assume the first one was doing the bare minimum to keep his job, so would be the one least likely to get a pay rise and most likely to be laid off should budget get tight. Kinda obvious, really. 

    Or the employee with the minimum amount of time is the most efficient worker and can complete his tasks in the allotted time. Whereas the other employee is screwing around on the Internet all day and is spending all that extra time at work playing catch up for what he should have been during during the day. Obvious really



  • @OzPeter said:

    Whereas the other employee is screwing around on the Internet all day and is spending all that extra time at work playing catch up for what he should have been during during the day. Obvious really
     

    Oh shit

    O_O



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    We need a Persian king to come in and
    kill all the Greeks again.  Thankfully, Ahmadjinehad seems up to the
    task.
     

    >:O  THIS IS EUROPA


     

    @bstorer said:

    Spartans
     

    I'd love to be a Spartan.

    You know.

    Dead on a beach.

     

    Seriously, 300 is an awesome movie. I loved it the first time and just as much the second time.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Or the employee with the minimum amount of time is the most efficient worker and can complete his tasks in the allotted time. Whereas the other employee is screwing around on the Internet all day and is spending all that extra time at work playing catch up for what he should have been during during the day. Obvious really
    That would be kinda difficult. I don't know about your company, but where I work every web page is logged and if you don't have a valid work reason for visiting that web page it's disciplinary time. You'd also have to fake the status reports and since a large portion of the work is team work based your fooling around would be noticed pretty quickly. 



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    All the smart people* fled the shithole of Europe long ago and if it weren't for America constantly bailing your asses out and taking over security, Europe would long ago have fallen to National Socialism, Communism and, ultimately, cannibalism.

    Have you seen the Greece fiasco? Europe certainly isn't out of danger yet.

    On another note, this rich text edit field doesn't even slightly work in Chrome.

    OMG - There's TRWTF!

    It was the American banks that dropped the rest of the world down the crapper...



  • @tommy said:

    OMG - There's TRWTF!

    It was the American banks that dropped the rest of the world down the crapper...

     

    Yes, obviously it's American banks at fault for Iceland borrowing 6 times it's national GNP. Those American banks like Glitnir, Landsbanki and Kaupthing. You can tell they're American, because look at how American those names are.

    Greece isn't in as bad shape, but it owes 125% of its GDP. (BTW, for comparison sake, the US owes about 84% of GDP, which is freakin' awful. But not "government collapsing and taking everybody else with us" awful in the way that Greece and Iceland are.)

    Look, American banks screwed up, there's no doubt about that. But your assertion is freakin' ridiculous. If US banks hadn't failed, Iceland and Greece might have gained a few months... maybe... but they'd be in the same place either way. Those countries were more irresponsible with debt than even the most poorly regulated US bank.

    And if it makes you feel any better, we're paying for their fucking bailout. Since they're getting loans from the World Bank, and 20% of the World Bank funding comes directly from US taxpayers like me, the US is contributing about 8 billion dollars towards this clusterfuck. And to add some gravy, that $8 billion doesn't pay off US debt first-- if Greece can't manage to pay off its other debt (which is likely), it'll default and the US will never get paid back. It's charity at gunpoint, and goddamned un-American in my opinion.



  • @tommy said:

    It was the American banks that dropped the rest of the world down the crapper...
     

    Greece's current shit had been in the making for quite some time, with things such as lying about the books by the previous administration.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    If US banks hadn't failed, Iceland and Greece might have gained a few months... maybe...
     

    Iceland... maybe. Greece: definitely not.



  • @dhromed said:

    Greece's current shit had been in the making for quite some time, with things
    such as lying about the books by the previous administration.

    And tax evasion being a way of life. And a state retirement age of 58. And the fact that the majority of employees are actually employed by the state. And said employees getting 14 months pay a year, and get bonuses for such things as 'turning up' and 'operating a computer.' And if your're male, and die leaving an unmarried daughter, she gets your pension.



    While not endless, the list does go on a bit. Pick your own TRWTF.



  • @dhromed said:

    Greece's current shit had been in the making for quite some time, with things such as lying about the books by the previous administration.
     

    The lying was only an attemt to cover up. The real issues in Greece are corruption, corruption, and, well, corruption, so that for instance taxation is a total mess.

    On the other hand, American banks weren't completely innocent in this case.



  • @b_redeker said:

    On the other hand, American banks weren't completely innocent in this case.

    I'm unimpressed.  So, they handed Greece a loaded gun and said "be careful with this" and the Greeks proceeded to shoot themselves in their stupid, ugly, Greek heads?  Fuck 'em, they had it coming.  A few thousand mini-nukes will take care of it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Greece isn't in as bad shape, but it owes 125% of its GDP. (BTW, for comparison sake, the US owes about 84% of GDP, which is freakin' awful. But not "government collapsing and taking everybody else with us" awful in the way that Greece and Iceland are.)

    America's debt structure is a lot different than a country's like Greece or Iceland.  Additionally, our economy isn't a stagnant piece of rubbish (or wasn't before Obama) and our tax structure is different, too.  84% is not a good thing at all, but it's not an apples-to-apples comparison with the Eurotards.



  • @PJH said:

    @dhromed said:

    Greece's current shit had been in the making for quite some time, with things
    such as lying about the books by the previous administration.

    And tax evasion being a way of life. And a state retirement age of 58. And the fact that the majority of employees are actually employed by the state. And said employees getting 14 months pay a year, and get bonuses for such things as 'turning up' and 'operating a computer.' And if your're male, and die leaving an unmarried daughter, she gets your pension.



    While not endless, the list does go on a bit. Pick your own TRWTF.
     

     

    Seen this first hand - I get involved in the holiday business.  For some commercial mega holiday ships (think 1500 people onboard), one of the rules to allow them to dock into greek ports, they require a certain % of the deck hands to be greek employees.  They end up being paid just to sit on the boat as dead weight.

     



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