Customer Story

Columbus City Schools Handles Complex Pay Rules and Absence Reporting with UKG

  • Calculates a range of complex hourly pay rules, building district and employee confidence in accurate pay checks

  • Consistently applies comp time rules across the district and helps ensure that limits are enforced

  • Tracks employee absences and provides timely absence reporting, ensuring employee balances are up to date and district financial obligations are known

Columbus City Schools is the school district for Columbus, Ohio, and with nearly 47,000 students is the largest district in the state. The school district employs approximately 9,000 teachers and staff members at the city’s 112 K-12 public schools.


For a number of years, Columbus City Schools tracked the time of its hourly employees with the UKG Workforce Central® solution. Completing complex pay calculations for the school district’s bus drivers was sometimes challenging, and correctly determining employees’ comp time was another issue the district encountered. As UKG® solutions progressed, the district evaluated these new options.


Wanting to streamline and improve its workforce management processes and take advantage of additional functionality, Columbus City Schools migrated to a UKG solution that is designed for the specific needs of K-12 school districts. Currently, 4,000 hourly employees ― including instructional aides and assistants, secretaries, bus drivers, food service staff, and custodians ― use the solution via the web or the mobile app.

The UKG solution has a direct application programming interface (API) with Red Rover, a K-12 schools substitute management solution. Teachers, instructional aides, and secretaries that need replacements when absent use Red Rover to report an absence and request a replacement. A substitute employee is assigned in Red Rover to fill this absence, and the time-off request for hourly employees flows into the UKG solution, which maintains accurate accrual information for hourly employees.

All assigned substitute staff members punch in and out in the solution, so district administrators know they are on site, and subs are paid based on the hours they work, not on the hours a teacher or staff member was scheduled to work.

“It works well to have UKG handle the complex pay calculations for bus drivers instead of using spreadsheets to make calculations. This results in more accurate and timely pay for employees.”

Philip Watson,

Financial Systems Administrator


Administrators at Columbus City Schools are now confident that hourly employees are paid correctly for their time, said Philip Watson, Financial Systems Administrator for the school district. Previously, some departments made their own pay calculations, creating opportunities for inconsistency, while others sent information to payroll for payroll staff to calculate employee pay.

With the UKG solution, calculating complex pay and overtime rules for the district’s 700 bus drivers, for example, has been simplified. The solution automatically calculates regular overtime as well as span overtime.

“It works well to have UKG handle the complex pay calculations for bus drivers instead of departments using spreadsheets to make pay calculations,” said Watson. “This results in more accurate and timely pay for employees.”

The school district has better visibility into all workforce data, including comp time. This time used to be maintained off the books at each school or department, and comp time limits were unevenly enforced. Now, administrators have a centralized view and better understanding of comp time, and comp time rules are applied consistently across the district. With comp time limits now automatically enforced in the solution, comp time balances have decreased.

Absence reporting has improved as well. Before the implementation of the UKG solution, stacks of employee absence reports piled up, sometimes creating a months-long backlog in the inputting of absence information. This created issues when employees left the district before all of their absences had been entered. This backlog also challenged the district’s financial team when determining accrued compensated absences for year-end financial statements. Absence entry by timekeepers improved the timeliness of absence reporting. The API between Red Rover and the UKG solution has upgraded this process, eliminating the need for timekeeper entry.

Automated timekeeping has delivered paper savings as well, with part-time hourly employees such as tutors no longer using paper timesheets to track their time, which is now captured when these employees enter their time in the UKG solution.

All employees have access to the solution’s mobile app. As the district has recently rolled out employee self-service tools to several thousand employees, they are able to request time off, request cancellation of lunches, and view their timesheets via the app ― and Watson expects mobile app usage will spike.

In assessing the district’s transition to the UKG mobile app for employees, Watson noted he has received little negative employee feedback, as employees find the app intuitive. While employees can access the solution online, he said that in a world filled with easy-to-use cellphone apps, “the UKG app is just another app on their phones.”

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