Next time HR needs help counting, just ask IT, OK?

It's a week before Christmas, and this IT pilot fish receives an email from HR -- one that clearly has also been sent to lots of other employees at the healthcare IT vendor where they work.

"It included a list of people and a message from an HR administrator: An audit was recently completed on employees' use of entering Holidays. It was determined that the employees listed below have used less than the Holiday time allotted to them this year (see attached Holiday schedule)," says fish.

"The email asked for corrections to our holiday usage to be completed by December 29th."

Fish checks the list. Sure enough, she's on it -- and so is an engineer on her team who's on unpaid medical leave until January.

Suspecting there's a problem with the HR audit, fish conducts an audit of her own data, and it doesn't take long to figure out where things went wrong. When there are consecutive-day paid holidays -- such as Thanksgiving and the following day -- they're being counted as a single paid holiday instead of two.

And in the case of Christmas -- a holiday that's still a week away, so fish hasn't logged it as time off -- it looks like HR has actually subtracted a day off from its total.

"We were all trained that once we save an entry in the time-entry system, it cannot be edited or deleted," fish says. "That's why the majority of us submit our time on the last day allowed.

"It looks like they counted the number of entries I made, not the dates within the entries or the lack of an entry for Christmas."

Fish knows that trying to correct the Thanksgiving entry would be a mistake -- it would consume a huge amount of time, and besides, her paycheck for that time period is already in the bank.

Instead, fish replies to the HR administrator, pointing out that the audit apparently didn't account for the way fish (and many others) logged their holidays, and asking what the consequences would be if the entries aren't corrected by the end-of-December deadline.

Late the next day, fish receives another mass email from the same HR administrator -- this time with the word DISREGARD added to the subject line:

You received the below email from me yesterday and I would like to ask if you can please disregard and do not contact payroll.

If you have already communicated with me and adjusted your timecard, no need to take action on it any further.

Sorry for the confusion it has caused and please disregard.

Sighs fish, "Hopefully, next time HR will audit their audit before they send such an email."

Sharky won't disregard your true tale of IT life, but I'm taking a few days off to roast chestnuts on an open heat sink. Next week you'll get holiday-themed tales from the Sharkives, then it's back to business as usual starting New Year's Day. In the meantime, send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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