TimeRequest Validation Rules, TimeControl, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter Vandersluis

TimeRequest Validation Rules are a powerful TimeControl function!

TimeRequest Conditional Approval Paths, TimeControl, Chris Vandersluis, Christopher Vandersluis, Christopher Peter VandersluisOne of the most popular features ever released in TimeControl has to be the automated Validation Rules.  This function allows an administrator to define what makes a valid vs. non-valid timesheet.  The feature isn’t global.  It’s typically defined by group or by role but it can be very granular and some rules might apply in one geographic area while other rules might apply elsewhere.  Some rules might work for certain employees, salaried employees for example, while other might work for part-time employee or contractors.  The rules can be very simple like “no more than 24 hours in a day” or much more complex like “no overtime unless a) you get overtime and b) you’ve done more than 40 hours of regular time this week and c) none of that regular time was for sick leave or personal time off” etc.  There is no limit to the number of rules you can create.

So you might wonder what, if automated timesheet validation rules were so popular, we took so long to introduce the notion of validation rules for TimeRequests.  We’re sorry to admit we don’t have a great answer.  But, at last in the current version 8.5 of TimeControl we’re delighted to say that TimeRequest Validation Rules are now a part of the regular TimeControl system.

TimeRequests are, of course, a method of getting approval for time to be put on your timesheet in the future and they are most commonly used for vacation requests for requests for personal time off.  This too is a highly popular function so when we turned our attention to how we would implement automated TimeRequest Validation Rules we wanted to make sure we did it right.  The request came out of a simple business process challenge.  What if the approval process for vacations wasn’t the same as for timesheets?  This wasn’t a strange question for us.  At HMS, the approval patch for vacations isn’t the same as it is for timesheets so our first instinct was to follow the same structure as the Timesheet Validation Rules but there were more questions to be answered here. The resulting design and implementation is quite impressive.

In TimeRequest Validation Rules, an administrator can define what TimeRequest Charge Codes will cause what validation path.  This is done on the TimeRequest screen for administrators who have security access to it.  We imagined several scenarios.  Let’s say that the Technical Department vacation approvals had to go to one supervisor but the rest of the company had to go to someone else.  Or, let’s say that vacation approvals had to take one approval path but personal time off took another.  TimeRequest can be used for many things.  Let’s say that out-of-office training had to be approved by someone completely different than vacation or personal time off.  TimeRequest Approvals can even check how much time is left in an employee bank such as the bank of already earned vacation time.  The new Automated TimeRequest Validation Rules cover all these types of scenarios.  The Administrator chooses one or a series of charge codes (e.g. paid vacation plus unpaid vacation) then determines which filter of employees this rule will apply to and then creates the sequential approval path of who will makes those approvals.  From there, it works just like TimeRequest Approvals always has except that who is receiving and approving the requests might be quite different.

After saying all of that, it’s also not uncommon for TimeRequests to be approved by the very people who approve timesheets in which case, there’s nothing new to set up and TimeRequest Approvals will work as they always have and, once approved will appear on the end-users timesheet automatically in whatever timesheet period they were approved for.  End users can even click on a calendar entry to add the approved time right into their calendar app.

Flexible TimeRequest Approval Paths are an important and powerful aspect to TimeControl and are describe in detail in the TimeControl Reference Guide.