Time tracking

Time Tracking Glossary: 13 Must-Know Terms

If you are a small business owner or manager, then you understand the intricacies attached to the time management of your employees. Keeping track of your employees’ work hours, schedules, and the leave they are entitled to can be an overwhelming responsibility.

To help you with these time management and timekeeping responsibilities, we have put together a list of the most commonly used time tracking terms and concepts for employers.

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What is Timekeeping?

Timekeeping refers to the action of tracking and recording the hours worked by employees within a business. This employee time tracking makes it possible for employers to pay their workers what is owed to them for their hours worked in a given period. Once hours have been tracked and logged, the numbers are used in a business’ payroll process as a means to calculate the appropriate pay for your team.

There are many timekeeping terms and concepts you will use when planning, tracking, and scheduling hours of your company’s workforce. Therefore, you will need to familiarize yourself with these time tracking terms to ensure you have a deep understanding of the concepts you will undoubtedly encounter while scheduling your employees.

Here are 13 essential terms you need to know when undertaking timekeeping of your workforce.

1. Straight time

Straight time refers to the assigned work hours of an employee for a standard period. When a person works straight time, they are working their usual work hours at the established, regular rate of pay, not including overtime. When tracking the time of an employee this would be their regular work hours, versus overtime hours.

For example, Andre is regularly scheduled to work for his company 40 hours per week, making a minimum wage. Therefore, his straight time is 40 hours per week. If he works more than that, this is considered overtime. There are strict labour and employment laws in Canada governing how long employers can schedule their employees to work regular hours versus overtime.

2. Additional straight time

Additional straight time covers the added work hours of an employee, on top of their regularly scheduled hours, or straight time hours, within a period. It is also used to record additional hours worked within a week that includes holidays.

3. Leave

Work leave, or leave, refers to a paid or unpaid leave of absence from work. A person can take various types of leave, depending on their situation, as dictated by the Government of Canada, that protects them from losing their job while away. These different types of leave are essential time tracking terms every employer must know. Keeping track of employee leave will help with attendance tracking and project management as you’ll know the number of hours you need per project and the available workforce that can complete the tasks on time. Such employee data is paramount to the smooth running of your business.

4. Medical leave

All workers in Canada are entitled to medical leave, allowing individuals to take unpaid time off work in cases of illness or injury. The Government of Canada dictates that employees are entitled to medical leave protection for up to 17 weeks for illness, injury, organ or tissue donations, or attending medical appointments or surgeries.

Some employers will require medical certification or a note from your doctor if your medical leave lasts longer than 3 days or longer. If requested by your employer, you will need to provide evidence to them within 15 days of your return to work.

Once you return to work, your employer is legally allowed to change your position or assign new duties if you can no longer perform the tasks previously assigned to you before your leave.

5. Bereavement leave

Bereavement leave is a type of work leave that all employees are entitled to, referring to the time you can take off in the event of an immediate family member’s death. The Canadian workforce can take up to 5 days of bereavement leave, which can be spread over more than 1 period, starting on the day the death occurs and ending 6 weeks after the date of either the funeral, burial, or memorial service of the deceased family member.

In the case of bereavement leave, you will need to provide your employer with written notice as soon as possible. This notice should indicate the state, date, and length of the leave. If you have worked for your employer for longer than 3 consecutive months, the first 3 days of your leave will be paid, while the remaining time off goes unpaid.

6. Declared emergency leave

Declared emergency leave is a type of work leave that allows an employee an unpaid, job-protected leave of absence. An individual who takes declared emergency leave is protected under the Government of Canada.

The province of Ontario declared an emergency leave from March 17, 2020, to July 24, 2020, to protect workers during the COVID pandemic. To qualify for emergency leave, you must meet certain conditions and requirements before being approved.

7. Maternity leave

Maternity leave refers to the time an individual can take off work while pregnant or caring for a new baby. A pregnant employee who is expecting is entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave. Maternity leave is generally unpaid unless your employer has a specified plan.

To successfully obtain maternity leave, you must give your employer written notice at least 4 weeks before your leave begins. You must also provide your work with a certificate from a health care provider that confirms you are pregnant.

8. Parental leave

Parental leave is a type of leave that new parents can take- whether natural or adoptive- which provides individuals with up to 63 weeks of unpaid leave. Parental leave can be taken at any time, starting with the day the child is born or the day the child comes into your care.

New parental benefits have been put in place in Canada since 2019 that offer parents a shared leave option, providing a shared leave option that gives them an additional 8 weeks of leave. This change is available to working parents who are eligible for employment insurance (EI) benefits. Parents that apply for this added parental leave are required to have worked 600 hours in the previous year.

Learn more about the parental sharing benefits available to new parents working here in Canada.

9. Vacation leave

Vacation leave is defined as paid leave for employees who have booked time off work for relaxation, personal use, or holiday or travel purposes. Canadian employers generally must provide their full-time workers with vacation leave or holiday days.

Typically, employees that have worked for a company for less than five years will receive two weeks of vacation leave. This paid time can be taken at any time within the year in question, as long as it is approved beforehand by the employer.

When paid during vacation leave, it is known as vacation pay. Your vacation pay rate and entitlements will differ depending on the province you live in within Canada.

10. Sick leave

Sick leave refers to the paid time off that employees can use when dealing with health issues. Sick leave is used by workers who need to stay home during their workday while ill or dealing with mental or physical health problems. Workers should only use sick leave for health-related purposes. If you need to take paid time off for other reasons, you will need to use a discretionary or personal day.

11. Discretionary day or personal day

A discretionary day, also known as a personal day, is an allotment of days that an employee can use per year to cover their regular work hours in case of an emergency. This discretionary or personal day refers to the compensated hours that is the equivalent to a typical workday.

12. Full-time equivalent

A full-time employee is someone who works over forty hours a week. A full-time equivalent (FTE) is a unit that measures the workload of employees, referring to the hours they have worked in a given period. Full-time equivalency must be comparable for employers across industries, making it easier to compare work hours across contexts.

To calculate FTE, you will need to take an employee’s scheduled work hours and divide it by the employer’s hours for a full-time workweek. For example, if an employer’s full-time workweek is 40 hours, and an employee is scheduled to work 40 hours, their full-time equivalent is 1.0 FTEs. If the employee is scheduled for a 10 hour work week, then their full-time equivalent is 0.25 FTEs.

13. Transaction status

Transaction status covers the point in time where the timekeeper or time tracker is inputting time records of their employees. The transaction status can either be started, in progress, pending, or approved.

Timekeeping Software

Now that you know these basic timekeeping terms for time management purposes, now is the time to put that knowledge to good use! If your business is looking for a solution to its time tracking and employee shift scheduling problems, consider using QuickBooks Time.

By learning these time-tracking terms and understanding how they apply to employee scheduling, you can better manage your business’ workforce. QuickBooks Time provides small and medium enterprises with quality time tracking software with employee scheduling features and attendance management to streamline the payroll process.

Join the thousands of other businesses who have improved their time management and benefited from this quality software. Try it free today!

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