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Auditing an OWLS Record


To ensure the accuracy of work and leave records, it is necessary to conduct periodic reviews of these records. The review should verify the completeness and accuracy of the information recorded in the Online Work/Leave System (OWLS) against the appropriate supporting documents.

As long as the information entered in OWLS is correct, the leave accrual rates and the calculations will be correct.

Any discrepancies discovered while reviewing the record must be resolved in a timely manner. Steps taken may vary depending on the discrepancy. Errors may also require payroll adjustments to correct an overpayment/underpayment.

When Should We Audit Records?

The review can be done at any time - by the pay period, monthly, quarterly, every six months, or annually. Reviews must be completed at least once a year. A review must always be done when an employee transfers to another department, separates from the University, or goes on an extended leave of absence.

Who Should Audit Records?

A person other than the regular timekeeper should conduct a review of employee work/leave records. This individual should have a good understanding of leave rules.

The reviewer will need the inquiry-only “Supervisor” or “Administrator” access to OWLS in order to review records. If the reviewer is expected to make changes to the record and/or to record any audit notes, the reviewer will need to have “Timekeeper” access on a temporary basis. Otherwise, the regular timekeeper can enter changes and audit notes based upon the reviewer's findings.


Guidelines for Reviewing a Work/Leave Record

When your department conducts its review of employee records, use the steps below as guidelines:

Check current information about the employee

Gather supporting documents
Any or all of the following documents may be necessary to double-check entries on the work/leave record:

Using these supporting documents:

Double check accuracy of work and leave hours posted.

Check accuracy of overtime, compensatory time, and holiday credit payments.
This is especially important if overtime is being paid or if there is leave of absence without pay. UW Internal Audit recommends that if possible, a person other than the person updating the work/leave record should reconcile the budget and payroll documents with the work/leave record.

Documents include check registers, certification reports, Budget Activity Reports (BARs), Exception Time Reports (ETRs), time sheets, leave and overtime requests, Separation Payment Authorization forms, and Requests for Payment of Year-End Unused Sick Leave.

For classified staff, make sure the employee did not exceed the annual leave balance 240-hour maximum.
If a classified employee’s annual leave balance exceeded the 240-hour maximum as of the employee’s anniversary date, check to see:

Double check entries.

Investigate and resolve differences.
If documents are not in agreement, discrepancies must be resolved promptly.

File supporting documents in a secure location.
File supporting documents (e.g. timesheets, approval of extension of excess annual leave) separately from the personnel folder and retain them according to the retention schedule.

If you have any questions about conducting an audit, or regarding any points in the checklist, please email

Correcting Errors Found During the Audit

If any discrepancies or errors are found during the review, the following steps may need to be taken:

Entering an Audit Note

To create an audit note, open the employee’s OWLS record, and follow these steps:

1. Click the 'Balance Change' tab at the top of the screen. 2. Click on 'Audit Note.' 3. Enter in the last date of the audit span. 4. Enter in a note. 5. Click 'Save.'

3. Enter in the last date of the audit span. 4. Enter in a note. 5. Click 'Save.'


UW Record Retention Schedule

If an employee transfers departments without a break in service, the timekeeper should end the employee's OWLS record, and transfer all leave records to the new department.

When an employee separates from the University or moves to a student, hourly, or faculty position, all original 220 forms, a copy of the final OWLS page, a copy of the separating OPUS action, and the Human Resources Operations copy of the Separation Payment Authorization form should be sent to the area HR Operations office. The original Employee Separation Payment Authorization form should be sent to the Payroll Office.