Absence Reporting: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Peoplesoft remains the definitive record for absence reporting. The Absence Card Reporting feature in the Staff database is meant to easily track who hasn't turned their absence card, and for this it works well enough. It succeeds primarily in reducing clerical time and generating friendly reminders to those who have fallen slightly behind. But it has shortcomings. It's important to understand what those are and how to work around them.

Long Absences

The system doesn't handle long, excused absences. Some people are not required to turn in absence cards because of illness or FMLA. The system does not provide a way to exempt a range of dates from someone's list of missing cards. The person will continue to appear on the Missing Absence Cards report and will receive Missing Absence Cards emails. There are two ways around this:

  • Reset the "Starting with Date" value. This tells the database to disregard missing absence cards before that date. Be cautious however; if the person is legitimately missing an absence card before their prolonged, excused absence, it will no longer be captured in the Missing report and email.
  • Mark the absence cards as received.

Built for LAC

Only the Learning Abroad Center tracks absence cards in this fashion. If other units began using the system I'd want to modify it so the user can isolate staff by unit.

Wipes History When No Longer Needed

If you no longer need to track someone's absence cards, you flip the "Track Absence Card?" field to No. This deletes (with no undo) the history of turned-in absence cards. There is a dialog box warning you.

Due Dates We Care About

This is a list of dates the user maintains. The dates are Sundays and represent the last day of the pay period. You must enter dates with leading zeros and 4-digit years, eg. 03/09/2010. This list of dates is used in the database three ways:

  1. It builds the pop-up list at the top of the "Record Absence Cards" window.
  2. It builds the drop-down list for the start date in the Absence Cards section of the Need-To-Know Basis tab.
  3. It serves as the standard against which each person's list of missing cards is judged.

How "Due Dates We Care About" is Quirky

  1. While it's a list of dates, I had to store it as a text field, resulting in it sorts in alphabetical order rather than chronologically. Some of this is solved by entering dates with leading zeros but it doesn't help across years. Dates in January 2011 are mixed in with dates from January 2010.

  2. If you remove dates for which people are missing absence cards, the database will no longer report them as missing. Meaning, this is not a great tool for tracking severely delinquent absence cards.

  3. If you enter a future date, the system will report that people are missing absence cards for that date.