Gov’t workers will have to punch a clock to be paid
By The Star Staff
The Financial Oversight and Management Board announced Monday that after successfully implementing the Automated Time and Attendance (T&A) system in five government agencies, the project will expand to more than a dozen additional agencies to achieve complete automatic integration of attendance with payroll to ensure that only public workers who are working are paid.
The T&A project links government employee attendance to the government payroll system to accurately account for time worked, vacation and other absences, and employee departures.
The project began in September 2020 and according to the oversight board has already saved Puerto Rico taxpayers an estimated $50 million at the five agencies that completed the program by November: the departments of Education, Health, Justice, and Labor & Human Resources, and the Medical Services Administration of Puerto Rico. Savings at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which will complete the project shortly, would add an additional estimated $8.5 million in overall savings.
“Successfully linking the time and attendance system to payroll at these five government agencies is a big achievement for the Government of Puerto Rico, which will significantly improve fiscal responsibility and transparency,” the chairman of the oversight board, David Skeel, said in a statement. “The failure to connect attendance and payroll reflected serious fiscal mismanagement. It cost the people of Puerto Rico millions of dollars. We congratulate the government agencies that worked with the Oversight Board to resolve this problem and are looking forward to continuing to improve fiscal responsibility in Puerto Rico.”
The T&A project is a joint program of the oversight board and the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority. It will eventually include around 100,000 employees at 86 agencies and public corporations. Agencies scheduled to begin in December include the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Public Housing Administration, Department of Housing, Retirement Board of the Government of Puerto Rico, Vocational and Rehabilitation Administration, Puerto Rico Planning Board, Agricultural Enterprises Development Administration, and Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music Corporation. The Departments of Education, Health, Corrections, Justice, Labor, and Transportation & Public Works, and the Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Administration began to implement the program in recent months alongside the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, Department of Public Safety, Public Buildings Authority, Department of Natural & Environmental Resources, Department of Recreation & Sports, Department of Economic Development & Commerce, Cardiovascular Center Corp., State Elections Commission, Automobile Accidents Compensation Administration, and the University of Puerto Rico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Although most agencies have kept track of time and attendance, the process was often manual, leading to months of delays and uncertainty about whether attendance was recorded accurately. By integrating and fully automating the T&A system to the payroll system, the government can ensure that absenteeism is immediately reflected in payments.