Newark School District Gives Kronos® Top Grades in Controlling Labor Costs and Reducing Compliance Risk
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The Newark School District is the largest and one of the oldest school districts in New Jersey. With a student population of 40,000 students, the district employs 10,000 educators and support staff at 164 schools and other work sites, providing a rich educational experience to students in grades pre-K through 12.
For years, district employees had been tracking their time on the honor system in an attendance book at each location. Some employees accurately noted arriving late or leaving early, but others did not. Employees also occasionally signed in for one another. This manual time and attendance system was fraught with problems, including inaccurate time calculations and subsequent over payments, as well as an overburdened payroll staff.
After seeing a Kronos demonstration, Adele White Eutsey, director of payroll for the Newark School District, knew she had found a time and attendance solution that would solve these problems. The school district first implemented Kronos nearly 15 years ago, periodically upgrading to new versions, and continues to utilize more and more of the solution's capabilities. Using Kronos® Workforce Timekeeper™ and Workforce Absence Manager™ solutions, the school district estimates it realized more than $500,000 in labor cost savings during the most recent fiscal year alone, and has improved workforce productivity and minimized compliance risk.
Controlled labor costs net ongoing savings
With the manual time and attendance system, White Eutsey says the challenge was ensuring that the time of employees who left work early, arrived late, or were absent was accurately accounted. When an employee decided to leave the district and was entitled to compensation for remaining vacation time, the accuracy of accrued time was questionable.
"We were probably paying people for time they had already taken," she notes. "Without a true accounting of attendance, all we had to rely on was the attendance book. We needed an automatic way to capture those absences and decrement the necessary balances."
The implementation of Kronos brought accountability — and confidence that employee time, attendance, and earnings are accurate. Following implementation, including Kronos 4500 Touch ID™ biometric time clocks at each location, the Newark School District has seen improved control over labor costs.
"We are now able to capture all the monies we would have lost because all tardiness and early departures are immediately captured in Kronos, reflected on the timecard and in employees’ paychecks," explains White Eutsey. "We have greatly improved our return on investment." The district estimates a half-million dollar labor cost savings for just the prior fiscal year.
Workforce morale is improved, too. Administrators no longer worry about employees claiming their time was unfairly deducted, and employees know they are treated fairly, because the Kronos system automatically and accurately records their time, she adds.
Automated solution aids productivity
The Newark School District has also seen savings in payroll processing time. "The cost savings is up front for us, because we have more statistical support and have experienced a big increase in productivity because information is real time," says Lisa Adames, CIBER consultant/ISD systems engineer.
Payroll staff no longer has to wait a day to capture data and input it manually. Using the automated Kronos solution has cut two days off payroll processing time, estimates Adames, freeing up staff for other tasks.
Accountability reduces compliance risk
Attendance accountability was on the minds of state officials during a recent audit of the Newark School District. The state requested school district staff hand-deliver paychecks to each employee every three years to ensure the employee was the person who should be receiving the check. When the school district explained that employees must show a district-issued picture ID before they are enrolled in Kronos, and enrollment includes a biometric finger scan, the state was satisfied, says White Eutsey.
"When a check is produced, it’s based on data that is captured in Kronos by the finger scan," she adds. "So that proves that this is the person entitled to that check."
The system's workforce information is also helpful to the district's HRS department staff in complying with the Family Medical Leave Act. Staff can review accrued leave time of employees requesting leave and see the stream of absences after leave is granted. In addition, the labor relations department relies on Kronos data to prevent unwarranted employee grievances and to win grievances that are pursued.
Confidence in future solutions
In choosing one aspect of the district's Kronos solution that has had the biggest impact, White Eutsey says it is having true accounting and the ability to deliver factual reports to the state, or anyone else, without worrying about the information’s accuracy.
The system is very user-friendly and information is easy to interpret, she continues. "This has made us feel very comfortable knowing that any other Kronos module that we choose to use will be very beneficial in meeting our needs."
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