Prevent time fraud -stop buddy clocking

Are your staff cheating the clocking in system?

If you’re planning to reduce costs and review your payroll bill, then reassessing your time and attendance systems are a must.

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. However your staff also make a major contribution to how you are performing financially. When things are touch and go, they can tip the balance between your balance sheet being happily in the black, or dangerously in the red.

It is a sad fact of life that a misguided few will always try to cheat the system – even though they may not go as far as the Italian public sector workers who were being monitored by the police in a crackdown on ‘slackers’. Staff were caught on camera ‘buddy clocking’ for absent colleagues, one even resorted to wearing a cardboard box to hide his identity!

In fact there are some staff who don’t see overestimating their time worked as cheating at all. A few minutes added here and there when they are not actually working is not considered a big deal. They may be disgruntled or even consider ‘buddy-clocking’ as an accepted part of working life.

Some common time stealing strategies include:

  • 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 work day 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.

It’s clear to anyone that those stolen few minutes over days, weeks and months, can stack up to a tidy sum. Crucially, the business is paying out for something they’re 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 paid 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 may be tempted to follow their example.

So what can you do? Good management practice from the outset means that managers should:

  • 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 instill a culture of honesty and collaboration; share information about how the company’s financial performance impacts on 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.

However, we understand how difficult it is for even the most diligent employer to keep track of all their staff. With the proliferation of flexible and remote and multi-site working it has become even more challenging. 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 be passed around to cheat the system.

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. A cloud-based time and attendance system such as uAttend offers a choice of biometric terminals which can be easily installed. There’s no compromising of staff privacy, fingerprints and faces are recorded as a code on the system which is matched back to the fingerprint or face when staff clock in or out.

uAttend is part of the Chronologic workforce management portfolio. To find out more about our time and attendance software solutions call 01761 410015 or email