Many federal workers are on an Alternative Work Schedule. For many, that means you work nine hour days from Monday through Thursday, and eight hours every other Friday with the alternative Friday as your regular day off. But over the past few years, I’ve heard from multiple federal workers that their agency’s Time and Attendance tracking system (WebTA) will not allow them to accurately record such a schedule. So those employees are stuck with entering their time into the system essentially not accurately. Is that ok?
The issue that arises when you work an AWS and your T&A system will not allow you to accurately record your actual time worked is how to account for and prove your actual hours worked if ever accused of T&A fraud. “Oh that will never happen to me, so I don’t have to worry about that.” Wrong attitude. It is so easy these days to find yourself accused of T&A fraud. You can and should take steps to protect yourself if you work an AWS and your T&A system will not allow you to accurately reflect your actual worked hours. Of course, the best practice would be that each federal agency that allows an AWS should have in place a T&A system that allows for the accurate accounting of an AWS. But you can’t count on that. And don’t count on telling the OIG that you’re not at fault for inaccurate T&A records because the system won’t allow you to accurately reflect actual hours worked.
My first recommendation is that you send an email to your boss and the timekeeper upon being placed on an AWS that the T&A system will not allow you to accurately enter hours worked. Then print out a copy of that email and save it in a very safe place. Don’t count on being able to retrieve it electronically when the OIG comes around a year or more later to investigate an allegation that you engaged in T&A fraud. Chances are that there will be some changes to your agency’s network and emails will have been lost or not saved. So print it out and keep it in your personal records. Then, periodically, like once a year, or at a change in position or change in supervisor, send another email stating again that the agency’s T&A system will not allow you to accurately record your hours.
My next recommendation is you keep a personal calendar or log noting the hours worked each day, the hours of leave used on each day such as for a medical appointment, and whether there was some other excused absence from work such as a declared snow day or fire emergency. Keep this as a personal calendar and do not use government property. Only do this if you think you may need this type of record of your actual schedule, and only do this if you can be perfectly diligent.in maintaining it. Don’t represent it to anyone as an accurate account of your time if you have not been diligent.
Should you come under investigation for T&A fraud, most of you will be able to account for a good amount of your time and whereabouts by looking through electronic calendars (government and personal) and through emails and text messages. The problem is when those electronic records are for some reason no longer available. Think ahead about this risk and manage it now.