Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Human Resources Division
Time and Attendance Policy



Executive Department Time and Attendance Policy


·         The Human Resources Division (HRD) has the authority to issue policies governing the tracking of employee time and attendance.  Agencies must follow these policies to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, the Red Book, policies and the Human Resource/ Compensation Management System (HR/CMS) standards. 

Each agency should also have its own written policy for time and attendance which addresses issues not included in this Executive Department policy because they are unique to each agency (for example procedure for requesting vacation and personal time, notification procedure when absent due to illness, delegation procedures for time approval, procedure for authorizing overtime, flextime, emergency staffing during inclement weather, etc.)

·         All employees, including cabinet secretaries, division directors, agency heads, and unclassified staff must maintain daily time and attendance records including an appropriate accounting for leave utilized.

·         By early 2013, all Executive Department agencies (unless exempted) will be participating in the Self-Service Time and Attendance (SSTA) Module.  There will be several ways for an employee to enter their daily time:

1.      Reported time (record total daily hours)

2.      Punch time  (record specific start and end  times as well as time left for a meal and time returned from a meal each day)

3.      Time collection device (TCD ) such as a swipe card

4.      Interactive voice-response (IVR)  (employee calls a phone line and enters his/her daily time via automated prompts)

5.      Phoning or emailing hours into the MassHR Employee Service Center (ESC) on an emergency basis or in limited circumstances only


·         Payroll is done on a “positive reporting” time basis.  This means the employee is responsible for recording his/her daily time, supervisor or designee approves online, and agency human resources/payroll staff approve any time reporting codes that require special approval.  While best practice is daily this must be done on an at least weekly basis.


·         Departments are responsible for maintenance of an Internal Control Plan and department procedures up-to-date with any change to process/procedure including the implementation of SS TA.


Agencies must notify HRD’s Office of Employee Relations (OER) of any proposed changes to current time and attendance policies or practices, including but not limited to, changes to the format of time entry, so that unions may be notified in advance of the proposed change.  Any deviations of the current method of time entry may be subject to collective bargaining.


·         Total hours worked and any leave time used by employees must be reported in HR/CMS every pay period (entering and approving time on a daily basis is recommended best practice; however updating and approving daily records at one time each week is acceptable).  Most employees with punch time will have a pre-loaded regular schedule.  If the daily start or end time or meal time deviates from the pre-loaded time, the employee should enter the correct time.


·         Overtime or compensatory time must be reported in the same pay period that it is earned.  If overtime is reported late, it must be entered into HR/CMS and paid in the following pay period.  The collective bargaining agreements all contain provisions about what constitutes premium overtime (some with unique criteria) and language for the timely payment of premium overtime. 


·         Employees “certify” their hours entered in HR/CMS are correct by clicking “submit”.  Given the SSTA time entry deadline of Thursday at 5pm (Wednesday at 5pm if the following week has a legal holiday celebrated on a Monday during which payroll is running), time reported for Friday or Saturday of the same week are predicted hours.  If the hours actually worked on Friday or Saturday (or Thursday preceding the holiday Monday of a payroll week) are different than what was previously submitted, the time should be changed on the timesheet that week if possible or the next week as a prior period adjustment. Employees or supervisors who falsely under-report or over-report the weekly hours worked by themselves or others for which they are approving time in HR/CMS may be subject to discipline up to and including termination.  Employees may not share passwords or allow others to use their password or time collection device cards to record their hours worked.


·         The following recordkeeping requirements apply to time and attendance records, based upon the disposition schedule issued by the Secretary of State.  Electronic time and attendance records will be the official records for pay purposes.

·         The electronic time and attendance record entered into HR/CMS for payroll purposes will be maintained for at least six (6) years.

·         Records should not be destroyed while they are subject to litigation, audit, investigation, or when investigation is probable.

·         Until affected personnel have transitioned to the SS TA  module, daily time sheets and time logs, required for federal grants or grant purposes,  which provide the employee’s and supervisor’s records of actual hours worked and approval of such, must be maintained for at least three (3) years, or for one (1) year following an audit.


Comptroller policy: Record Keeping and Record Retention: Archiving Payroll Records


·         The Human Resources Division reserves the right to audit employee time and attendance at any time.  Agencies not in compliance with this policy will be notified and must become compliant immediately.  Please note that during their regularly scheduled agency audits, the State Auditor’s Office reviews time and attendance records consistent with policy.  Adherence to both the Executive Department time & attendance policy as well as an agency’s specific time& attendance policy is required.  The State Auditor’s Office will be granted electronic access to time and attendance records so they will no longer be looking to inspect paper records of this type except for records that an agency has that pre-date their implementation of self-service time and attendance.



In addition, the General Laws provide that the Chief Human Resources Officer shall have access to all records in the custody of all agencies within the Executive Office for Administration and Finance for the purpose of discharging the duties of his office.


Collective Bargaining Agreements:

Red Book (managers, confidentials, and unclassified staff)

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Commonwealth does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, gender, genetics, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, or veteran status in employment or the provision of services.  This policy is designed to coordinate compliance with the non-discrimination requirements of both federal and state law.  Information concerning federal and state non-discrimination laws is available from the Human Resources Division.


HRD Requirements for Self-Service Time and Attendance systems (SSTA)


·         Require daily record of employee’s time.


·         Require certification of time by employee and the approval of the employee’s supervisor or designee (and other additional human resources approval for certain time reporting codes).


·         Ability to record an employee’s weekly default schedule, with workdays that are in no less than 15 minute intervals. 


·         Require punch time employees to sign in and out for an unpaid meal periods (state law: minimum of 30 unpaid minutes for a meal after 6 or more consecutive hours of work).