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I left my previous workplace at the end of August this year. At this workplace there are two systems to enter your worked time. Somehow, I messed up and did not enter my worked time for the past week in one of the systems. My ex-boss has explained that the times entered in these systems has to be exactly identical.

I woke up to a message from the ex-boss that these hours differentiate with about a work-week and that he required me to state the exact dates and the exact hours of those dates for him to enter and manually configure in one of those time-systems in order for me to get my salary paid.

I have no recollection of how long I have worked for that month, so I asked him "Isn't there some possibility that you could get the dates so I could e-mail you back those dates?" to which he responded that it would take more than one person to go through and that I should've checked everything before I left the company.

I know I screwed up, I didn't check every bloody date to the other one before I left the company. But how should I respond to this? I can't magically know these hours and dates.

Update: I followed @Lilienthal 's advice and sent an e-mail to my previous boss. He said that he was unable to get the day-to-day view that I needed, he only could see the total hours of the whole month. So what I simply did was make a spreadsheet that listed the days in august and the X hours per day that resulted in the total amount of Y hours in August. I guess he will forward it to other departments that will deal with it.

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    why cannot your boss/payroll copy that data from one system to another? – Neuromancer Sep 5 '17 at 11:44
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    Not sure I understand why any magic is required. There are roughly 20 working days in a month (assuming 5 day work week), and you can always recall the days you took off, so the remaining days are the ones you worked. The time you worked each day would roughly be the same (+/- 30 minutes), except for some days when you may have worked more hours (or less). It also doesn't appear that your boss wants the exact time down to the last second. I am sorry, I do not understand what difficulties you have in figuring this out. – Masked Man Sep 5 '17 at 11:50
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    @MaskedMan I assumed this was a case of one system tracking hours for the company and one to bill the client with the latter being the cause of the discrepancy. And that's usually more complex than simply saying "I worked X hours every day between date A and B". But I guess OP hasn't said either way. Eric, could you clarify the nature of these time tracking systems? – Lilienthal Sep 5 '17 at 12:02
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    @Lilienthal One of the systems is for time logging internally as in the corporation can track the employees. The other one is only for payroll. These systems require hours be written day by day-basis so I would be required to know that date X has been worked for 7,5 hours, and so on. The position was a laxed internship during the summer so even though it was required to work 40 hours a week, I logged 30 hours that week and nobody was bothered with it. – Eric Sep 5 '17 at 12:55
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    @Eric That's...bizarre. So the hours in both systems should indeed always just be exact matches? Can you think of a reason why your former manager doesn't simply do it himself? Does he actually need your input for anything? – Lilienthal Sep 5 '17 at 14:04
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to which he responded that it would take more than one person to go through and that I should've checked everything before I left the company.

Sure, but assigning blame isn't likely to actually resolve this situation.

In the interest of preserving the relationship I'd try to meet him halfway and write back something like:

I realise that I should have double-checked my hours but I clearly missed a few. I'm happy to help you resolve that but I do need to know what dates you're still missing. If you send me the list I can send you back the estimate by the end of the week.

Alternatively you could give him an estimated breakdown of how you spent your time: 40% on Project X, 15% on Project Y, and so on.

I'm tempted to add a sample script to use if you just want him to leave you alone but that small bit of gratification is usually not worth antagonising someone.


The above advice is mainly in cases where you really do need some kind of information from your former company's system to figure out how to report your hours after the fact. You can't be expected to guesstimate hours that you worked three months ago for instance, let alone have them expect the individual days to match what's already been reported. Given your update, while I believe that your manager was still being rather unreasonable, potentially out of laziness, the easiest solution was indeed to give him what he wants since it wouldn't involve too much effort on your part.

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Here in California, we have a "Final Paycheck" law. The following paragraph is a law office's summary:

Most states have laws dictating when employees must get their final paychecks. In some states, including California, the time limit depends on whether the employee quit or was fired. California's law is the strictest in the nation. An employee who is fired (or laid off) is entitled to a final paycheck immediately, meaning at the time of termination or layoff. The rules are slightly different when the employee quits. If an employee quits without giving advance notice, the employer must provide the final paycheck within 72 hours. However, if an employee quits and gives at least 72 hours' notice, the employee is entitled to the final paycheck immediately, meaning on his or his last day.

Here's a link to the actual text of our Labor Code, section 203 .

If you are entitled by this or some similar law in your state, you have no duty to whatsoever to go fixing anything for your former employer as a condition to get paid. Your employer can't make up additional rules. If they didn't check on this stuff before you left, too bad. Simply put, it's not your emergency to handle any more. Additionally, the law here specifies penalties for employers who don't want to behave.

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At this workplace there is two systems to enter your worked time. Somehow, I messed up and did not enter my worked time for the past week in one of the systems. My ex-boss has explained that the times entered in these systems has to be exactly identical.

If the times are required to be exactly identical, then the easiest solution (in my mind) would be to simply copy the times from the one that has data into the one that's missing data. That your ex-boss is unwilling to simply do this himself strikes me as somewhat petty. (Or perhaps he's just a real stickler who doesn't feel comfortable doing this without your say-so as the one who was supposed to input the data.)

In any case, he appears unwilling to copy the data himself, and you can't remember the exact dates/hours to tell him. The best way to resolve this, IMHO, would be to schedule a time with your ex-boss when you could come in to sort out the discrepancy in person. Request someone from finance/payroll be present, too, to make sure everything is wrapped up definitively and there are no loose ends.

This way, you (hopefully) will be able to see the hours entered in the one system on someone's computer, and can validate those hours for re-entry into the other. This would have to be done during business hours for your old company, obviously, so you may need to take time off or wait a couple of days to make schedules work.

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    Somehow I doubt that the solution to a former manager who's overcomplicating an administrative task is to overcomplicate everything some more by setting up an in-person meeting and involving HR... – Lilienthal Sep 5 '17 at 14:06
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    @Lilienthal I suspect the time-keeping system is outsourced to elbonia - and that the hairstile of former boss is pointy. – Mindwin Sep 5 '17 at 17:41
  • +1 This happens a lot, I have worked on a number of Payroll Systems, and also had similar issues when rolling off, such as rostered days off being converted to annual leave. Reconciliation and due diligence are the order of the day. Did you have a security pass or did you log on to systems with Audit Trails ? Agree on a master and make them match. Unless there is fraud going on this is the accepted solution. – mckenzm Sep 6 '17 at 2:41

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