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Frequently Asked Questions about Time Off from Work Procedures

Employee-Related Questions

1. How do I request time off from work?  

Follow the online simulation, work instruction, or cue instructions on how to request time off from work. 

2. How far in the future can time off requests be made? 

The system will recognize the request 365 days in advance, however, employees will want to follow departmental procedures.

3. How will I know when my request has been approved or denied?  

An e-mail is sent whenever a Time Off From Work Request has been approved or denied. The term “Rejected” is being used when a request is denied or sent back to the employee for changes. When Rejected, comments are required by the person who rejects the request.

4. Can I amend a request that has already been sent and approved? 

Below outlines what you can do based on the status of your request:

  • Sent and not approved yet – You can delete the request and if you want to make a change you may submit a new request.  You may also request that your approving supervisor reject the request, at which point you can delete or change the request and resubmit.
  • Approved and not committed to CATS - Notify your supervisor to contact the Hourly Timekeeper/Salary Leave Administrator to reject the request. Once rejected, you can delete or change the request and resubmit.
  • Request Posted (Committed to CATS) - Notify your supervisor to contact the Hourly Timekeeper/Salary Leave Administrator to delete the entry from CATS. If the time off from work has not yet been taken that is all that is required. If the time off from work has been taken and there is a need to change the request for one reason or another, the employee would need to submit a new request.
  • Rejected – You may delete or change a rejected request. If no action is taken, rejected requests are deleted automatically 30 days after rejection.

5. Can I make a request for time that I have not yet accumulated?  

Yes, however approval is based upon your departmental policy. The system will not allow the request to be committed to CATS if there is not enough quota hours to cover the absence.

6. Is documentation required to support leave requests? 

Yes. Current polices and processes regarding  supporting documentation still apply; however you will NOT be able to attach the documentation to the online request.  Follow your departmental policy on how to share this information with your team.

7. Will I be able to enter notes on the request?  

Yes.  A comment section is located in each request. Important – Do not enter medical diagnoses or HIPAA protected information in the comments section.

8. If I am eligible for comp-time can I request comp-time payout from the TOFW process? 

Yes. Make the appropriate selection on the request and submit through the workflow.

9. How does the system know what days should be counted in tracking my time?  

Your authorized work schedule determines this information based upon schedule allocated by your department.

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New Terms

  • Committed – Term used when a Salary Leave Administrator or an Hourly Timekeeper saves/transfers a TOFW request to the employee’s timesheet in CATS. When a TOFW request is ‘committed’, the status reflects as “Request Posted” in ESS.
  • Salary Leave Supervisor – Person who approves the entries made by a Salary Leave Administrator on an employee’s timesheet in CATS.

Supervisor-Related Questions

1. Does everyone have to use the new Time Off From Work process 

Yes.  The new process provides for more accurate time keeping, auditing, and reporting.

2. Will the immediate supervisor see ALL workflows in MSS?  

No, if they are not also a PCR approver they will only see Time Off From Work requests from employees they are authorized to approve.

3. I am a PCR approver and now will be a Time Off From Work supervisor, what methods exist to manage the multiple requests I’ll now see?  

The system provides the ability to sort entries and identify monthly (EG1) and bi-weekly (EG2) activity in order to plan work tasks according to scheduled due dates.

4. Can somebody be a TOFW Supervisor for multiple org units? 

Yes.  Supervisors can have the relationship with any number of org units.

5. Can somebody be the TOFW Supervisor and the Hourly Time Approver or Salary Leave Supervisor for the same employee? 

Yes. This is permissible.

6. Can the TOFW Supervisor and Hourly Timekeeper/Salary Leave Administrator be the same person?  

Yes, the Supervisor and Timekeeper can be the same person.

7. Will there be a report to see what TOFW requests were entered & submitted?  

Yes, reports are being developed that will display all requests that are in workflow (including committed) for a specified date range; and there’s the Display Working Time (CATS_DA) to report on what has been entered into CATS.

8. How will new positions obtain the role relationships? 

A Role Request form has been developed to accommodate the need for updates.  Forms will not be required for “Go Live” but after that – Yes.

9. Why is the need for work schedules important for monthly employees?  

The default for monthly work schedules is M-F 8 hrs however if the employee actually works something different from that, it is necessary to place them in the appropriate schedule so the system can record their time off appropriately.  For example without the proper schedule if the individual works Tuesday through Saturday the system will not recognize that Saturday is a work day for the individual and will not allow the entry, or if the employee is working 10 hours a day M-Th the system will only allow 8 hours M-Th to be recorded.

10. Will retro adjustments be permitted? 

We will allow for retroactive TOFW request being submitted back 6 months for most types of leave.

11. Will all employees have access to the portal?  

Yes.  All benefits eligible employees will use ESS to request time off.

12. How long will completed time off requests remain in the portal?  

All completed TOFW request will be stored for reporting purposes but will not be viewable in the portal. The new TOFW Custom Report will be made available for reporting.

13. If I have multiple people requesting time off at the same time, how do I know which is first? 

Requests will be automatically date and time stamped once they are received by the Supervisor.

14. How will conferences on the weekend be tracked through this process?  

You may use a substitute schedule for the day and enter the absence, but never in arrears.

15. We have more than one timekeeper in our department will both of us be able to see the time for our team?  


16. There isn’t a supervisor or manager listed in one of my units. How is time for these individuals approved?  

1. The hierarchal structure looks to see if there is an identified Salary or Hourly Supervisor in the department. If not, then it looks for a Salary or Hourly Supervisor in the next higher org unit and repeats until it finds the relationship.

17. What happens if no Supervisor is listed and a request is submitted?  

The request will become stuck in the workflow and be routed to a system workflow administrator for investigation.


18. Currently in my department employees are able to call in to report their absence. How will this process be accommodated? 

You may still utilize this process and have the timekeeper to enter the time into CATS however for accurate auditing and recordkeeping, when the individual returns to the work environment the individual should complete the authorized Time Off Work request via the online process so that the requests may be tracked and recorded. Timekeepers will have the ability to remove the manual entry on the same screen that they ‘commit’ the TOFW request.

19. What happens if the employee is unable to complete the TOFW request, for instance is ill in the hospital?  

Same as above, once receiving the announcement related to the employee’s absence, the timekeeper enters the time in CATS to facilitate payment.  When the employee returns, he/she will need to complete the Time Off From Work process on line. Timekeepers will have the ability to remove the manual entry on the same screen that they ‘commit’ the TOFW request.

20. When does the employee’s supervisor approve the request? 

Since the approval is only the 1st of 2 steps in the online process, it is important that the request not sit in an approving supervisor’s work list.  It is recommended that:

  • Hourly Supervisors approve all requests for current and past pay periods immediately upon receiving the request since the employee’s pay may be adversely affected if the request is not approved in a timely manner.
  • Monthly Supervisors approve all requests for current and past pay periods upon receiving the request.

21. If I open a request and do not complete the action will that prevent others in my department from being able to work with that request?  

 No.  Only if you assign a work item to you will it be removed from the viewable work list and then will only be able to be updated by you.

Salary Leave Administrator-Related Questions

With the new automated Time Off From Work process in ESS will the Salary Leave Administrator still need to approve final time for the department for payroll? 

Yes. The automated process addresses the time reporting and time keeping steps.  The need to authorize the final payroll for your department(s) in CAT4 has not changed.