CHARLESTON,W.Va.-Faced with potential litigation due to a discrepancy in its system for tracking paid time-off for an employee requiring surgery, Pioneer West Virginia FCU has revamped its payroll system to include a number of improvements.

"We had been using the credit union's payroll system to notate paid time-off balances on their paystubs each pay period, but it only displayed the balance without any explanation as to how the balance was calculated," said Pioneer WV FCU SVP/CFO Dan McGowan.

The impetus for the new application resulted from an employee who had a medical procedure that required an extended period of time off for recovery. McGowan explained that the employee complained to her supervisor that she was due considerably more paid time off (PTO) than what had been communicated to her by the human resources director. "There were tears and threats of calling the Labor Department and of getting a lawyer to sue the credit union," said McGowan of the response to the information provided by HR.

A CU-Wide Effort

All of that spurred a credit union-wide effort. McGowan pointed to Chief Information Officer Brian Sloan and Network Specialist Josh Stevenson among those responsible for Pioneer's innovative approach to resolving the issue. Since the credit union had no intention of denying the employee any PTO hours due to her, a solution had to be reached where "one version of the truth" could be agreed upon, said McGowan.

To resolve the matter, a manual payroll-by-payroll analysis of the employee's PTO accruals, time used and resulting balances over the preceding two years was executed. McGowan said that process required an "ungodly" amount of human resources and management oversight. Ultimately it was determined that there was only a two-hour discrepancy, which was granted to the employee. This was in contrast to the employee's original claim that she was due several weeks of additional PTO time.

So as not to repeat the confusing dilemma with any other employees, and to ensure confidence in the HR department, it was decided that an automated program would be implemented to calculate the reporting of PTO hours to employees.

Data Cube Established

To that end, a PTO data cube was established for the HR department that ran in conjunction with the credit union's IBM/Cognos TM1 OLAP system.

"The underlying engine (TM1) is routinely used around the globe for near real-time data aggregation and analysis for millions and billions of data points," said McGowan.

The data cube utilizes numeric and alphabet-based input and storage. Each pay period the HR director enters the number of PTO hours used with a notation as to what triggered the utilization on an event-by-event basis for each employee, explained McGowan.

"Going well beyond a simple notation of PTO hours available commonly noted on employee paystubs in many organizations from their time and attendance systems, this report documents how the numbers are derived, displaying the previous balance, newly accrued hours and hours used with a short explanation where appropriate," he told Credit Union Journal.

With the new system, the HR director accesses the application with "point and click" ease and emails a PTO report in PDF format to an employee.

"Our human resources director is the primary user of the application insofar as updating the information and delivering it to employees. So, the application was handed off to her for initial testing and evaluation," said McGowan of the scalable solution. "It proved to be easy to use and intuitive so we haven't had to tweak it much at all."

The success of the solution earned Pioneer an Excellence in Technology Award from the CUNA Technology Council.

"We pride ourselves in leveraging existing technologies to solve new problems. In fact, that's a central theme of every entry during the past four years that I've been recognized in this competition," said McGowan. "We might make the analogy that we view challenges much as children might approach them with boxes of Legos at their disposal."

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