Several cases of overtime pay abuse by school district employees (including bus drivers) have come to the forefront in recent months. In Escambia (Fla.) County, three drivers and one aide are being investigated for possible disciplinary action for allegedly falsifying overtime hours, as well as for “rounding” hours worked by as much as 30 minutes. How can you guard against such abuse?
A computerized time clock system is one way of making sure employees report accurate hours worked. Some time clocks print a receipt each time an employee clocks out, informing him or her of how many hours were worked during the current month and year, as well as the clock-in and -out times for that day. In addition, some software systems send dispatchers real-time updates of drivers and aides who do not clock in within 20 minutes of scheduled time so that no missing employees can slip through the cracks. Buses equipped with tachographs, which record driving time, also deter drivers from misreporting hours worked.
In the absence of technology, an equally efficient means of monitoring employee attendance is to delegate supervisory duties to several staff members. “We have four team leaders responsible for approximately 30 employees each. They check time recorded on timecards against logs for each shift,” explains Fred R. Fennell, transportation director for Flagstaff (Ariz.) Unified School District. Requiring that overtime be logged by a dispatcher before being done also helps keep a lid on overtime abuse.
Also important, notes Fennell, is to make sure employees are aware of the repercussions of reporting inaccurate hours worked. “Our timecards contain a statement about prosecuting for perjury if we discover falsification of times,” he says. “So far, we haven’t had to test its validity in court.”