Production Support Lab

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The Production Support Lab is staffed by experienced HRMS users and application developers to assist agency employees with their data entry or reporting issues. This customer support is provided to help agencies with business processes related to the HRMS applications.

Hours of Operation and Scheduling Time

The lab is open from Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. At times, it will be closed during payroll cutoff.

To schedule time in the lab: Contact the WaTech Support Center at (360) 407-9100 or send email at support@watech.wa.gov and provide the following:

  • Name and agency
  • Phone number
  • Number of computers needed, and
  • Type of help required:
    • Benefits
    • Business Intelligence (BI)
    • Financials
    • HR
    • Org. Management
    • Payroll
    • Time

Many of you have worked with the WaTech Production Lab and have benefited from your interaction with the experienced people who work at the lab. As a result, the staff has compiled some common tips, techniques, and pointers that have proven useful during their time working with HRMS.

When to Ask for Help

A common situation we run into in the Production Lab occurs when an end-user who is unsure how to complete a transaction attempts to push onward using the "best guess method." Because HRMS maintains a history of the actions entered into the system, this approach often creates a complex situation and can prove difficult for us to unravel. So for this , the importance of this history grows even more due to the automation of retroactive transactions.

It is important that you know in advance how to process a transaction. If you're at all unclear or uncertain about how to process a transaction, before you start:

  • Review the process in your training materials and check OLQR;
  • Consult with your agency's super users or help desk; or
  • If you're still uncertain, call the WaTech Support Center at (360) 407-9100 or email at support@watech.wa.gov. It is far easier to guide you through the correct action than it is to undo a series of incorrect actions.

Key Lessons Learned

  • Trained staff is critical to the successful transition to HRMS. All HRMS training builds on the Basics course—participants who try to take other courses without attending Basics slow down those courses and have difficulties acquiring advanced skills. All users must attend the Basics course to get an ID number to access the HRMS Practice Site.
  • Practice really does make a difference. Agencies with staff who both attended the Basics course and spent time doing transactions in the practice site had better transition results — they had fewer errors and challenges during the first payroll process.
  • Continue to pay close attention to data accuracy. Running a payroll simulation when making master updates and using pre-payroll reports can help identify and resolve errors before payroll cutoff.
  • Use the system on an ongoing basis. Once you have access to HRMS, don’t hold work until payroll cutoff. For agency leaders, that may mean further changes to internal business processes to make sure time and leave entry can happen sooner.
  • Understand how effective dating works. Effective dates are a key concept in using HRMS. The date you enter for a transaction dictates the date the transaction occurs. In some Infotypes, HRMS provides a default effective date. However, this default date may not be correct for your transaction. Always check the effective date of your action and make sure it is correct in the infotype before you save.
  • Difference between editing with the pencil and adding a new record. Only use the pencil to correct an error. It is important to understand the difference between "editing" an infotype using the pencil tool and creating a new record. When you use the pencil you do not create a new effective-dated transaction; you simply change the data in the infotype. There is no historical record of the change.
    • To retain a record of the change, use the "copy" function to create a copy of the infotype you select. Enter the new effective date, change the data, and save the Infotype. Now you have edited the record and retained an historical copy of the record prior to the edit.
  • The easiest way to reduce payroll errors. One tool that you can use to reduce errors during the payroll process is the Preemptive Basic Data Check report (ZHR_RPTPYN06). You can run this audit report at any time to display a list of employees with missing Master Data Infotypes. The infotypes selected for validation are critical to payroll executing successfully for the employee. The infotypes available through this report are:
    • 0001 Organizational Assignment
    • 0002 Personnel Data
    • 0006 Addresses
    • 0007 Work Schedule
    • 0008 Basic Pay
    • 0009 Bank Info
    • 0207 Residence Tax Area
    • 0208 Work Tax Area - not currently used; uncheck this Infotype
    • 0209 Unemployment State
    • 0210 Withholding Info. W4/W5 US
    • 0234 Add'l Withholding Info. US
    • 0027 Cost Distribution
    • 0167 Medical Benefits
    • 0168 Insurance Benefits - not currently used; uncheck Infotype
    • 0169 Retirement
    • 0171 General Benefits
    • 0235 Other Taxes-not used by most employees; uncheck this Infotype if not used in your agency
    You can create a variant for this report and save it as one of your Favorites. You may want to consider running this report at the beginning or end of each day to identify any employees with missing data. Running this report regularly is the simplest thing you can do to eliminate errors during payroll.
  • Everyone needs an Anniversary Date. A few agencies do not use HRMS to determine monthly leave accruals using the Time Evaluation (RPTIME) process. Although HRMS does not calculate time for employees of these agencies, employees still need to have an anniversary date entered in HRMS. A blank anniversary date field causes an error in Time Evaluation. All employees, even those who do not accrue leave in HRMS or who are ineligible for leave accruals, should have an Anniversary Date (Date Type "01") established to eliminate error in Time Evaluation.

Tips and Instructions

The questions, issues and solutions worked through the WaTech Production Lab have helped WaTech gain a better understanding of the issues agency users experience as they begin working in the new system.

This information also can help you learn more about best system practices and possibly avoid issues that other system users already have encountered.

You'll find the information is organized as either general -- where we share techniques or tips that may apply in a number of situations -- or by a business process where the information applies.

HRMS in General

  • Yellow messages in SAP provide information about the entries you are making. If a message indicates something you don't want to happen, do not save the change or update. If the message doesn't ring any bells, continue using the GREEN check until it tells you to save.
  • Check all dates on your screen. Remember, SAP is effective dated, so dates will determine the timing of any changes you have entered. As you work through an action, click the "green check" after every entry and before you save any changes.
  • Run pay simulations after completing any master data updates to make sure the Employee still processes correctly through payroll.
    • To ensure that changes to employee records will process, complete actions all the way through. If hand-offs are necessary to complete an action, make sure each hand-off is made. Use the "match code" to ensure that you select the valid value that best fits.
  • Double click on any Error Message (RED X on the bottom of your screen) for information on correcting situation or finding its cause.
    • If you run into difficulty when working through a question, check your training materials.
  • Mid Period Transfers. If transfers take place on the first or sixteenth of the month, HRMS provides a clean, fully automated transition between two agencies or sub-agencies. Moving employees in the middle of a pay period is possible, but requires many extra steps to ensure that the costs of employee earnings and deductions are distributed to the correct cost accounts.
  • Deleting infotypes (or actions). If you want to correct a previous change, you should copy the infotype you wish to correct, re-enter its previous values, and enter an effective date for the beginning of the period in which you made the change.

Personnel Administration and Organizational Management

  • When Reallocating positions make sure that the org unit is properly related to the Job then to the Position.
  • Use the drop down to move between transactions and still keep the same employee. For instance, when moving from PA20 --> PA30 --> PA40 with the same employee, you can use the dropdown "HR master data."
  • When doing a "New Hire" make sure to check the Business Intelligence to see whether the person was previously a state employee.
  • Backing out of a New Hire Action, this will cause a Red Line in payroll. If this happens, you must call the WaTech Support Center to have a Central User delete this PERNR (Personnel No.).

Payroll

  • Run the Flexible Employee Data Report (ZHR_RPTPAN02) and/or Logged Infotype Changes (S_AHR_61016380) before every payroll to check for any incomplete actions.
  • Run agency specific reports prior to a payroll run to make sure all employees are going to be paid properly. When running any report, CREATE variants and reuse them in future pay periods.
  • When you change a garnishment, you must change it on both IT0194 and IT0195. These must match before the garnishment will be taken.
  • When in "Display Log," Do Not run a Pay Simulation on more then 5 people.
  • When creating Garnishments, Do Not use Vendor 999999 with any Category other than "W Writ." If used with any vendor it will error out in AFRS.

Time

  • Absences automatically deduct from Quota Balances after they are transferred via ZCAT6.
  • If using a 24x7 work schedule (R030) for a salaried employee, you must create a corresponding WT 1223 that specifies hours available in the period. (We recommend against using this work schedule for salaried employees.)
  • When entering compensation time for the period in which it was earned, you must enter the hours, transfer using ZCAT6, run Time Evaluation (PT50) then enter the Absence in CAT2.
  • Using a 24x7 work schedule (R030) for salaried employees.
  • Using "REPLACE" when doing a Quota correction. Unless you truly need to replace a balance use Change, Increase or Decrease along with the option "transfer collected entitlement immediately."

Benefits

  • When setting up a new employee who has yet to select a retirement plan (P2 or P3), enter "2N" as the Plan Choice Code.
  • If you verify that an employee is already established in a retirement system (checking the DRS website), you do not enter a Plan Choice Code.
  • If the new employee chooses a retirement plan (P2 or P3) – the Plan Choice Code must be completed (2C or 3C).
  • If you terminate an employee or execute a Group 1 to Group2 transfer, be sure to delimit the retirement plan, deferred compensation, health and dental plans.
  • If in the last pay period of month, you terminate an employee or execute a transfer between two Group 1 agencies, you must do an offset entry for employee (WT 2983 and 2984) and employer (WT 2550) health costs.
  • If, during Group 2 conversion, you have employee records that need to be manually converted and set up in HRMS, be sure to select the pretax flag.

Updated: 10/15/15

Contact Us

360-407-9100 or Email