A new release of Time Clock MTS to make it fully compliant with California overtime rules and to try to fix up a few niggling problems that I’ve not been able to get to the bottom of until now.
- A new setting on the Employee Maintenance->Payroll Information screen. Salaried employees have a new setting called ‘Always Pay Wages’. With this setting turned on the wages paid to employees is calculated based on the report period rather than the hours worked. So, if a salaried employee with this setting turned on has a payroll report run across a period of a week then they will get 1 weeks wages rather than a prorated amount dependent on how many hours they worked.
- A new setting on the Employee Maintenance->Payroll Information screen called ‘waive automatic breaks’. When this setting is turned on the selected employee will not be allocated automatic breaks if they have been configured.
- A new setting for each employee defining overtime rate 2.
- A new global overtime setting for a second tier of daily overtime. When this is turned on daily overtime above the new limit is paid at overtime rate 2.
- A new global overtime setting to turn on seventh day overtime. This includes a limit, under which seventh day overtime will be paid at overtime rate 1 and over which will be paid at overtime rate 2.
- Three new fields added to the payroll summary report section template. These display hours worked, rate and earnings for the new overtime rate 2.
- Time Clock MTS now refreshes the connection to it’s database every 20 minutes.
- Fix to secret question answers on Tools->Options->System Settings page.
- Fix to prompt on enter note screen.
- Fixed vacation and sick time starting balances not copying correctly when the copy employee command was used.
I will have a more detailed post up shortly covering the details of the new overtime settings and how these apply to California overtime rules.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I’ve finally identified a hardware vendor that produces the quality fingerprint scanners that I was looking for. Digital Persona are one of the best known manufacturers in the industry, with their hardware and software drivers rapidly becoming the standard for the biometric software industry. Their popular U.are.U 4000 USB fingerprint scanner has recently been superseded by the newly designed U.are.U 4500 model and it is this model that I have settled on. I am in the process of integrating Time Clock MTS with this scanner, and in the short term at least, this and the 4000 model are going to be the only biometric devices that will work with Time Clock MTS.
A Digital Personal USB Finger Scanner
Currently Digital Persona bundles up the fingerprint scanner with some software that you can use to manage user accounts on your Windows PC and that will also manage your web passwords and so on. They currently have this bundle available at just US$69.95 which is an insanely good price considering how much it cost me for a single scanner for development purposes! You can purchase the scanners directly from the digital persona website. Please note that I am not affiliated with Digital Persona in any way, and do not currently sell their hardware so if you have any problems with the scanner then you’ll need to deal with them rather than with anyone at Timesheets MTS Software.
Stay tuned for a new version of Time Clock MTS that works with these fingerprint scanners very soon!
Update: quite a bit has changed since we wrote this entry more than five years ago. Of course Time Clock MTS has had fingerprint security for a long time. And second, Digital Persona seems to have under-gone a re-branding and no longer sells directly to consumers. If you wanted to buy a Digital Persona 4500 scanner to use with Time Clock MTS then we recommend you purchase from California PC. At the time this update was written (November 2014) it looks like a suitable fingerscanner could be purchased for under US$100.
A minor bug fix release today. Two bugs fixed up plus some minor useability improvements. The bugs fixed were:
- Sick time and vacation accruals now work correctly if the ‘accrues every’ setting is set to more than 1.
- Sick time or vacation time taken on the last day of a report was not shown (but it was recorded correctly). This is now fixed up.
- Various text fields on the options screens now select the entire contents when you select the text box.
Another minor release today containing some bug fixes and some useability improvements. Changes made include:
- Fixed up the tab order and text box sizes on the first login screen.
- Added an adjustment to the employee starting balance for sick time and vacation accruals. This allows you to set each employee with their own starting balance. This new setting is cumulative with the accrual scheme starting balance.
- The edit times time period selections were not quite working correctly. This has now been fixed up.
- A new status message is displayed on the note entry screen to tell employees if they actually have to enter a note.
- Fix to an error that occurred occasionally when selecting an employee from the employee list.
- When editing a time on the edit times screen the matching times details are also shown. Ideally it would have been nice to be able to edit both on one screen but given that time notes are per time and not per pair this didn’t really make sense.
2008 is about to draw to a close and I thought it was a good time to summarize the year. Time Clock MTS has seen it’s usual level of development activity, with more than 30 releases this year. Most of these releases contained new features to make the software easier to use and more flexible to suit varying business requirements. As always I rely heavily on the users of Time Clock MTS to let me know what they do and dont like about the software, and these opinions help shape the development of the software. Version 2 of the software was released in June. This included a complete revamp of the reporting system as well as a slew of usability improvements. One of the more interesting new features added later in the year was the use of a webcam to capture employee images when they clock in or out.
The number of new companies using Time Clock MTS in 2008 grew by about 25% compared with 2007. This is despite the world financial crisis which has affected all of us in the last 6 months of this year. In fact, sales of Time Clock MTS in October and November were more than 30% down on the rest of the months of the year. November was in fact the worst sales month for nearly 3 years! I can only think that caution is the catch cry of the moment, with all sensible business owners riding out the storm by managing their expenditure and controlling their expenses.
Regarding the future development of the software please watch out for the integration of a fingerprint scanner with the software in the next few weeks. It’s been difficult to locate a fingerprint scanning vendor who I am happy with, one that did not have burdensome licensing requirements. I’ve finally located one such vendor (one who happens to have top class hardware) and I am working with them now to incorporate biometric security into Time Clock MTS. Watch out for this in late January or early February. I’m also trying (without much success) to get Time Clock MTS working better with payroll software. So if you use some payroll software that can import time and attendance information why not let me know what format it requires and I’ll add an export report in Time Clock MTS to suit it.
In conclusion I’d like to thank the users of Time Clock MTS who have given me valuable feedback during the year. I’d also like to thank those people who trialed the software and took the time to let me know their opinion of it even if they didn’t purchase it. There’s also the helper elves at Timesheets MTS Software that I’d like to thank, you know who you are!
Seasons greetings and happy holidays to all.
We’ve released a new version of Time Clock MTS today. All of the new features are focused on improving the usability of the software.
- I’ve added two administrator password reminder questions. You can either answer these when you first install the software or on the Tools->Options->System Options screen.
- An administrator password reset screen has been added on the File->Reset Administrator Password menu. You can use this screen if you’ve answered the password reminder questions mentioned above.
- Added links to various help topics on the Time Clock MTS website on various screens. For example, added a link to the software registration tutorial on the Help->Registration page.
- Added a link to the online help on the Help menu. This is a work-around for users who don’t seem to be able to view the integrated help.
- Expanded the contents of the tips file.
- There is now a link to the integrated help file installed in the program shortcut menu when you install the software.
I’ll be doing a more comprehensive post on the reset password feature later today. Stay tuned!