Fun with Cascading Pay Codes

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Fun with Cascading Pay Codes

Kronos WFC v6.1 introduced the concept of "Cascading Pay Codes." And actually the logic of cascading pay codes was introduced a few versions back as a part of the Leave module -- the idea had so many possibilities that Kronos incorporated it into the main module of WTK.

What is a cascading pay code?

It is a "dummy" pay code that can be put on a schedule or a timecard that does not make it to the totals. Instead, it will default in an assigned pay code that will drain an accrual balance (like vacation or PTO) before "cascading" to a different pay code to drain a different accrual balance.

Convoluted description, I know. What do you do with it? Well here are two neat ideas that I have talked about with fellow customers who are just starting to creative with them.

1. Use it to schedule PTO.

OK, that may not sound like a very creative idea -- kind of what it was built for -- but let me tell you WHY it solves so many problems for you!

If you have earned/accrued time off based on hours worked, like so many healthcare systems do (think "PTO"), you have always struggled in the past on how to let employees schedule PTO out into the future when they haven't worked enough yet to build up their PTO balance. Of course you don't want their PTO balance to go negative, but you also don't want to keep them from scheduling next year's two week long Memorial Day vacation just because they only have 40 hours of PTO right now. So what to do?

In the past, you had two primary choices: Schedule a non-paying pay code that was not associated with their PTO balance as an indicator to your managers to put PTO on their timecard/schedule when the pay period with the vacation finally rolled around, assuming the employee had enough PTO. I like to call that method "double entry." Alternatively, you let them schedule PTO way out in the future, but had to turn off the system check that kept them going negative in their PTO bucket and hope your process checks & balances caught it before it got paid. The "hope & pray" method.

So now with a cascading pay code, you can schedule that cascading pay code out into the future and be confident that when the vacation week rolls around, the employee will either get PTO or not, whichever is appropriate, as the cascading pay code figures out which pay code to apply to the timecard.

2. Encourage exempt swiping policy.

Let's say that you, like many other Kronos customers, have a policy that requires your exempt employees to punch once a day to indicate that they worked that day. Odds are, you generate their daily pay with a shift guarantee or some other similar configuration. And, odds also are, your managers do lots of timecard edits to fix exempt timecards because your exempts don't always remember to punch.

So, one possible solution to encourage compliance is to use cascading pay codes. Here's how:

Create a new cascading pay code called "Exempt Hours" and put it on exempt employee's schedules with 8 hours a day, or whatever is appropriate for that employee. Configure the exempt pay rule such that it will pay from schedule and apply the pay code when the employee doesn't swipe.  Configure the new cascading pay code to take hours out of the vacation/PTO bucket. Schedule the new cascading pay code for all exempts.

Now, if an exempt employee "forgets" to swipe, the Kronos system automatically assumes that it must be a vacation day and decrements the vacation balance appropriately. The employee still gets paid consistently (thus helping with DOL compliance for exempts) and they have a little extra motivation to remember to punch. Of course it can always be corrected and changed Regular time, but by defaulting the system to assume vacation, it helps make corrections truly be the exception!

So there are a couple of creative suggestions for using cascading pay codes. I'm sure there are more out there. Have a good one? Put in the comments below!


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