Setting Up and Using Timesheets

This is a tutorial for administrative users looking to setup company timesheets within HR Partner. Read on if you're a company admin. If you're an employee wondering how to fill out your timesheet, please read the separate article for employees.

What it does

By enabling timesheets in HR Partner, your staff will have the ability to fill out their working hours and submit timesheets to their managers for approval. A manager can approve or edit the timesheets, then export them which means that the timesheets can easily be imported into outside payroll systems.

How it works

Basically, in order to get timesheets up and running, you have to go through the following steps:

Create a Template for your timesheets.  Templates will tell the system how you wish to set up your timesheet runs, and you can specify things such as whether you want them to run every week, or every second week etc.  You can also specify the export file format you wish to use, and how your employees will be entering in their times.  You generally only need to set up a template when you first activate Timesheets, and not need to touch them again after that.  You can also set up more than one template if you wish.  This is particularly useful if you have some staff on a weekly pay run, and others on a bi-weekly pay run that need to enter their times in a different format.
There is no limit to the number of templates you set up in HR Partner.  There is also no limit to the number of employees that you can allocate to a particular template.
Once you have at least one template, then you can generate a Timesheet Sequence from those templates.  A timesheet sequence is basically a reserved block of dates that your employees can enter their times against.  For example, if you have a template set up as a 'weekly' template, each time you generate a sequence from that template, it will create a 7 day block of dates that your employees can enter times against.  Every generation of a sequence using that template will generate consecutive 7 day blocks.
You will generally only have one sequence active at a time, but there is no reason you can't have more than one active.  This would be useful if you have employees entering their times over two or more pay periods (or if you wanted to open up a new payroll period before you have finalised and closed off the prior one).  You can lock and unlock sequences any time you like.  Employees can only enter timesheet entries into unlocked sequences.
Employees can then use their Employee Portal to enter their times that they have worked each day.  They can either do it in bulk and the end of the pay period, or day by day as the pay period proceeds.  There is no restriction on this. Once your employees have entered their times and they are happy with it, they can the elect to submit the times in HR Partner.  This will notify the nominated admin user for the template that there are timesheets to be reviewed.  The admin user can then check these timesheets within HR Partner and either accept them, or reject them.  If any timesheets are rejected, the employee will get an email notification of this, so they can go back in and check their entries.
Once the admin user(s) are satisfied that the timesheet sequence is all OK, then can then 'lock' the sequence from any further entries, and export or print the information.

Step-by-step instructions (for admins)

First, click the "Timesheets" tab on the left.

Click "Setup Your First Timesheet Template." 

Fill out your timesheet preferences (please click here to read the definitions).

Next, you will have to specify which of your employees are able to use this template.  You will have to go to Employees -> All Employees, and choose them one by one, then click on 'Edit Employee Details' to make changes.  Go to the 'ESS Portal' tab on their edit screen, and towards the bottom of this screen, check the box that enables them to enter timesheets via their portal, and also choose the timesheet template that they will have to use:

After creating your first timesheet template and allocating employees to it, you're ready to start a sequence (which means that your employees will be able to start filling out their timesheets). Make sure you've clicked the Timesheets option on the left menu, then click the Generate Sequence button next to the sequence name.

After this, your employees will be able to login to their portals and add their hours.

Once you're ready to view and approve timesheets that have been filled out by employees, click the Timesheets menu and "View" your most recent round of timesheets. After that, click an employee's timesheet and select "Edit." You will then be able to accept, edit or process the timesheet. Your employees will be notified when the status of their timesheet has changed.

Timesheet Template Definitions

Name This is a descriptive name for the template.  Please choose a meaningful name that describes this template effectively, as this name will be used in various drop downs, listing screens and reports, so you need to be able to easily identify which template you wish to use at certain points in the program.  Tip: Include the department, location. staff group or payment frequency in the template name for easier identification.
Description  This is a longer description of this template that is purely for your own (or your team's) reference.  It is not used anywhere else within the program.
Frequency This denotes the number of days in your normal payroll runs.  The options are:  WeeklyBi-Weekly (also known as Fortnightly) or Monthly.  This basically will dictate the number of days that each timesheet sequence run will contain.  The number of days for each frequency are:
  • Weekly: 7 days
  • Bi-Weekly: 14 days
  • Monthly: 30 or 31 days (depending on the length of the month)
Entry Method This is probably the most important setting for your template.  This setting dictates how simple or complex the time entry method for your staff will be.  Please see the section here entitles Timesheet Entry Methods to take a look at how each of the options here will look like to you and your staff.  The three methods to choose from are: 
  • Simple: Where your staff members will only have to enter in their total working hours per day
  • Single: Where your staff will enter in their start time, stop time and total break time per day
  • Multi: Where your staff can enter in multiple start and end times per day
Rounding Method This specifies how the times entered by your staff will be rounded for easier calculations later, or to match your payroll system or pay conditions.  The options are: 
No Rounding: Times entered will be left 'as is' 
  • Round Up: The times will always be rounded UP to the next time segment you specify below
  • Round Down: The times will always be rounded DOWN to the next time segment you specify below
  • Round To Nearest: The times will be rounded up OR down to the nearest segment you specify below
Round To Nearest This specifies the time segment that you wish to round UP, DOWN or NEAREST to.  You can choose to round to a 5, 10, 15, 30 or 60 minute mark.  Some examples below may explain more clearly: 

Example 1: You may always want your staff to record their times in 15 minute increments, and you might always want to round DOWN to the last 15 minute segment.  To achieve this, you may set your 'Rounding Method' to 'Round Down' and set the 'Round To Nearest' to '15 Minutes'.  Now, a time entry of 08:20 will be rounded down to 08:15.  Even 08:29 will be rounded down to 08:15, but 08:31 will be rounded down to 08:30.

Example 2: If you want your staff times to be rounded to the nearest 30 minute mark, set the 'Rounding Method' to 'Nearest' and the 'Round To Nearest' field to '30 Minutes'.  Now, any entries like 08:11 will be rounded DOWN to 08:00, but entries like 08:21 will be rounded UP to 08:30 which is the nearest 30 minute segment.
Template Active This box must be ticked if you wish to generate sequences from this template.  If for some reason this template becomes obsolete or is replaced by another template later, you can uncheck this flag to ensure that no more sequences can be generated from it, and that it will not appear on any more reports.
Auto Create This box determines if the system will automatically create new timesheet sequences just before the sequence start date is due, and also close old sequences once the last date of the sequence is past.  This is handy for saving you time instead of having to manually generate or lock sequences every pay period.  You can also set the thresholds at which these events happen.
  • Auto Generate New Sequences - specifies the number of days before the expected sequence start date that HR Partner will auto generate a new sequence.  '1' means it will generate 1 day before the sequence start date is due.
  • Auto Close Old Sequences - specifies the number of days after the sequence end date that the sequence will be automatically locked. '7' means it will be locked a week after the sequence end date.
Notify Employees  This checkbox denotes whether your employees are sent an email notification whenever you generate a new timesheet entry sequence using this template.  It may be handy to let your employees know that there is a new sequence available and that they can start entering their times into it, or else you may want to opt to NOT notify them if you have some other means of doing so.
Enable Timeclock Entry This feature is still under development, but when completed, will mean that you team can use a simple 'timeclock' style screen within HR Partner to enter their start and stop times for recording against an open sequence.  More information will be added to this documentation as soon as this feature becomes available.
Export Format This is the file format that you wish to export the sequence time entries in.  Useful if you wish to look at the data in a spreadsheet, or import into another database or payroll system.  The available options are: 
  • CSV: Also known as 'Comma Separated Values', this is the standard text format that can be read by Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and many other spreadsheet programs.
  • TSV: Asp known as 'Tab Separated Value', and is another popular text style format that Excel etc. can recognise. May be more useful if your employee names contain a lot of special characters.
  • JSON: This is a format that is very popular with a lot of web applications and online payroll systems.  Probably the fastest and most reliable way of transferring data today.
  • XML: This is a slightly older format, but still very popular with a lot of payroll and statistical analysis programs.
Last Timesheet Period Date This is a very critical field, and very important to get right when starting to use Timesheets for the very first time in HR Partner.  This date will affect when your first generated sequence will begin, and where every subsequent one will begin as well.  It is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT that you set this date to the last pay period ending date. 

For example, if your last pay period is from 10th Feb 2017 to 16th Feb 2017, and you wish to begin using Timesheets from the next period onwards, then set this date to 16th Feb 2017.  That way, when you generate the next timesheet sequence run, it will start from 17th February 2017 to 23rd February 2017, matching your payroll week. 

You CANNOT change this date once you set it, so please ensure that you set the right date when creating a new template, otherwise you will have to deactivate this template and set up another one with the correct date.  The only time you will be given the opportunity to set this date is when you first create a new template.
Approving Users This is a list of one or more HR Partner admin users who can approve timesheets entered using this template.  This can be either the HR Manager, or else you can have Department or Section managers as admin users who can approve their own team's timesheets.  You can specify as many admin users as you like here, and every user you specify will get an in app notification when anyone submits a timesheet using this template.


Each admin user that you add to this list will be able to approve only the timesheets of those in their own department.

Creating Multiple Timesheet Templates

Looking to create multiple new timesheet templates? No problem! Simply navigate to Timesheets -> Configure -> Templates 

Ready to show your employees how to fill out their timesheets? Click here to read more.