As you know, our Electronic Time Reporting System launched successfully on December 1, 2020. Since its launch, the team has been working to enhance the ETRS and EPWS system with new auto-fill features in order to improve on the seamless, user-friendly experience. The team is excited to announce these enhancements and expected launch dates!
Use ETRS to Manage Your Allocated Extra Hours and Submit for Payment
Allocated Hours will be a brand new dropdown menu item in the ETRS system. Buckets of time will be added by Payroll to ETRS in accordance with each Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for each union group. These buckets will be updated in real-time and frontloaded at the beginning of each school year or whenever new allocations are allowed per the CBA. Employees will see their current balances at any given time, and after timeslips are submitted, balances will be updated accordingly, which allows for easy and seamless tracking. Employees will not be allowed to input timeslips that cause any given bucket to go into a negative balance, which means that employees will always be apprised of how many hours are allowed for that specific Type of Time. For example, on September 1, an OEA employee may see that they have an available balance of 30 hours for Staff Development. Let’s say the employee submits time worked for 6 hours of Staff Development. The balance will update automatically to 24 available hours for Staff Development. Examples of Allocated Hours include, but are not limited to, Staff Development, IEP Additional Hours & Progress Notes, Additional Days, Incentive Days, and Grant Specific Allocations. Please refer to your group’s CBA for more information regarding allowable timeslip submissions.
Skyward or ETRS?
Now that allocated hours can be seamlessly managed in the ETRS system, there is no need to track or manage allocated hours in Skyward. As we consider moving forward with the new ETRS features, a committee will consider whether or not to use ETRS as the sole management tool for allocated hours and timeslipping for those hours, while using Skyward to manage only sick, vacation, personal, and other types of leave. If you would like to serve on this committee, look for the contact information at the end of this article.
Additional Hours is Now Other Hours
In the drop-down menu, “Additional Hours” will now be “Other Hours”. Other Hours will include any time above and beyond the Type of Times in ETRS. For example, if an OEAPA staff member covers a lunch due to short-staffing and runs into overtime, that employee would input “Other Hours” and select “Overtime Rate” when submitting their timeslip. Other examples of Other Hours include, but are not limited to, hours above regularly scheduled work hours and overtime. Please refer to your group’s CBA for more information regarding allowable timeslip submissions.
“Signature” Required by Auditors (It is Easy!)
New disclaimers will also be added to the ETRS system in compliance with auditing standards. You may notice a new blurb towards the top of the page along with a checkbox that you need to click in order to submit your timeslip(s). All electronic timeslip submissions require acknowledgement and confirmation via your electronic signature (i.e., checkbox). This carries the same weight that your wet signature would on a paper timeslip. While consent was implied within the current system, our auditors required an explicit statement and step on the ETRS site. The same acknowledgement statement will be included on the approval (EPWS) site.
New IEP Hours Feature
For employees that utilize IEP Hours, IEP Hours will now include a separate, electronic request form that adds additional hours to your balance, when approved. For example, let’s say a teacher is working individually with a student, but that teacher doesn’t have enough IEP hours to cover the time. Previously, that teacher would submit a paper form to SpEd to request additional IEP hours. Now, the teacher will request additional IEP hours through an online form, which is sent directly to the SpEd team for review and approval. Upon approval, that teacher will now see additional hours related to that student in the ETRS system, and the teacher can submit timeslips accordingly. The balance will update in real-time and include both the standard IEP allocated hours along with any approved requests by the SpEd department. This is an exciting enhancement, as it will streamline the way IEP Hours are tracked and allocated.
ETRS Designed According to Employee Groups and CBA Calendars
All calendars will also be updated to reflect any given employee’s school year. For example, OEA employees will have a calendar that runs from August 1 through July 31. OTPAA employees will have a calendar that runs from September 1 through August 31. Please refer to your group’s CBA for more information regarding calendars.
We anticipate a launch date of September 1st for the new enhancements to go live; however, we will begin testing in June. A committee with representation from each employee group will be asked to help us test the system and ensure it is working properly. If you would like to be part of the testing group or if you have any questions, please contact Payroll at (360) 596-6190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All training materials on the ETRS Training Web Page will be updated to reflect these enhancements, and live training will be offered soon.