Being able to track employees’ attendance records is a vital part of every business. Even if a company has predominantly salaried employees, or exempt employees, it is important to know whether a salaried employee is using vacation time, comp time, or leave without pay. This means that most companies also need to follow their workers’ hours. Mid-sized and small businesses, even many start-ups have a need for tracking their employees’ time, especially as the companies grow. Time and attendance software is specially designed to help all businesses track employees’ day-to-day schedules, vacation time, holidays, short- and long-term disability leave, and sick days. Many of them allow companies to customize how the time is recorded. Tracking the time for every employee is perhaps the most complicated component of time and attendance management. Companies that have government contracts or that bill their staff according to a set rate gain the greatest benefit from well designed and customizable time and attendance software. They can setup a time tracking system that employees use to clock their time at set intervals. The more sophisticated time and attendance software allows the user to setup several time intervals to meet the needs of different rates specified in multiple contracts. At the end of a day, each member of the staff records his or her time in the system according to the specified time interval. One element to keep in mind when configuring time management in the software is lunch, breaks, and overtime. Generally breaks are not billable to the client, but some companies allow employees to bill two 15 minute breaks to over-head costs. These should also be added to the system. Lunch breaks, however, are nearly never billable. Time and attendance software can be customized to record the lunches as unbillable time or allow the employees to just log out for their lunch break. When a pay period or billing cycle ends, it is easy for managers to see how much of the budget has been used, including overtime costs. Generating bills for clients no longer takes staff days to generate; instead they can pull a report from the time and attendance software. Reports can easily be converted into bills with an accurate breakdown of each employee’s hours. The attendance portion of time and attendance software simplifies the management of time out of the office. Different codes can be entered to represent various forms of absences, from holidays and vacation to voting and jury duty to illness and bereavement. Even if all of these types of absences are pulled from a single fund, most employers provide a different number of days according to absence type. For example, an employee who is out for jury duty likely will not know how many days will be required. A person on bereavement usually has a set three days of absence. Another employee could be out for maternity, which is a much longer set time interval. The business world has come a long way since the invention of the time clock. Whatever an employer’s need, good time and attendance software provides many of the tools to make time management much simpler and absences easier to track.