|Image: JAMIS Job Cost Accounting Systems|
In small business government service contracting, it is necessary to establish a written policy and procedure disclosing time keeping practices to government auditors and fact-finding teams. Included must be the company process for both pricing and accounting for overtime. In doing so, topics such as compensated and uncompensated time must be addressed.
Include in the policy/process for pricing and job cost accounting those steps required for compensated overtime to personnel who are non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (hourly who receive time and one half).
Also include the policy/ process for pricing and job cost accounting, those steps required for uncompensated overtime to personnel who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (salaried who receive pay at straight time for hours in excess of 40 and those who do not receive pay at all for hours in excess of 40) The former are usually engineers and technicians. The latter are usually management or staff).
I encourage "Total Time Accounting" to my clients to make all hours worked a part of the record and stay away from waste fraud and abuse or defective pricing allegations.
I believe the below article by Find Law contains the best approach to the issue of uncompensated overtime and I encourage my clients to make part of their policy the practice specified in the last 4 paragraphs of the article:
"In our view, contractors performing labor-hour, time-and-material, or cost reimbursable contracts should avoid any timekeeping system that fails to accurately report the total time worked. Such a system under-bills clients for work performed and thereby affects a company’s bottom line. Moreover, any timekeeping system that by its very design under-reports actual hours worked invites labor mis-charging and false claim allegations.
A total time accounting system that accurately reports hours will generate the proper amount of revenue for contractors on each of their labor-hour and time-and-material contracts. Cost reimbursable contracts have an added twist. Many cost reimbursable contractors who report total time use a diluted hourly rate approach for distributing labor costs to projects. For example, if an employee is paid $1,000 per week and works 40 hours, the projects are charged $25 per hour. If the same employee works 50 hours the following week, the hourly rate is diluted and projects are charged $20 per hour. In this example the contractor gets no additional revenue for the extra 10 hours of effort — they are provided free of charge to the Government.
Fortunately, acceptable standard cost approaches will negate this windfall to the Government and still allow the contractor to take advantage of uncompensated overtime. The most common of these approaches involves charging direct labor to projects at a standard hourly rate established annually for each direct labor employee. Actual hours are charged to projects at this standard rate.
For uncompensated overtime situations, the variance between labor charged to projects and actual compensation is credited to overhead. Such an approach allows contractors to account for their hours in an accurate, straightforward manner, bill for the hours actually worked, and effect a competitively beneficial decrease in their overhead rates. DCAA has recognized this as an acceptable method of accounting for labor costs, and we think that it generally beats just giving the Government hours of effort for free."