Employee time theft

Are your staff cheating your clocking in system?

Employee time theft is a big issue. Not only because it is literal theft from your business, but that it also saps your working culture and trust. 

No business likes to distrust its staff. Your employees are your greatest asset after all and a key part of making your business a success. 

But if you’re planning to reduce costs and review your payroll bill, then reassessing your time and attendance system is a must.

What is time theft?

It is a sad fact of life that a misguided few will always try to cheat the system. 

In fact, some staff don’t see overestimating their time worked as cheating at all. A few minutes added here and there when they are not working is not a big deal.

They may even consider ‘buddy-clocking’ as an accepted part of working life.

But when a few minutes here or there add up. You’ll soon see it’s no casual matter.

A study by the American Payroll Association reported that more than 75 per cent of companies lose money from buddy punching.

While you may have done away with easy-to-tamper with paper timesheets, or other self-entry time recording systems – swipe cards and fobs can still cheat the system.

Not only will the pay for the labour that’s not there cause you production issues. It will also leave a blind spot in your Health and Safety, as you’ll not know who’s really on-site.

Common time stealing strategies

  • Getting a buddy to clock in for them so they appear to be in or in on-time
  • Padding – or stealing – minutes around lunchtimes and breaks or not clocking out at all
  • Finishing the workday early and having a buddy clock-out for them later
  • Rounding up the time started or finished
  • Consistently having late starts on a Monday and early finishing on Fridays but not being honest about it

If employees are using any of the above – your business is paying out for something it’s not getting. 

You wouldn’t pay for supplies or materials which are never delivered so why treat time worked any differently? 

There’s also the matter of being fair to all staff. Why should some get extra for not working when others are scrupulously honest about their time?

Frustrated by seeing their workmates ‘get away’ with cheating time after time, further staff could follow their example.

How can you stop time theft?

  • Make the current clocking-in and out system clear to all staff to eliminate misunderstandings
  • Ensure your employees are aware that ‘buddy clocking’ is cheating and will be taken seriously and is not fair on their co-workers
  • Work to instil a culture of honesty and collaboration; share information about how the company’s financial performance impacts salaries, promotions and job opportunities
  • Make sure that staff know the proper procedure for requesting a morning or afternoon off for home errands or other personal reasons
  • Deploying clocking methods across all departments and work sites
  • Make sure you have a robust Attendance Policy that can be referred to during disciplinaries
  • Utilising Biometric clocking-in terminals, so only the employee can clock if they are on-site

Biometric clocking-in terminals

One of the surest ways to eliminate time fraud is to use a good time and attendance system which offers biometric clocking-in.

Biometric clocking-in terminals use the employee’s fingerprint or face to recognise them and clock them in and out. 

There’s no compromising of staff privacy, fingerprints and faces become code on the system. When a fingerprint or face is used to clock in or out, it is then checked against the code. 

A cloud-based time and attendance system such as uAttend offers a choice of biometric terminals which can be easily installed. 

If you’d like to know more about how uAttend can stop employee time theft, book a demo, here.

To watch a pre-recorded demo, click here.