Theft in Employee Time
We prefer not to focus on the bad habits or negative side of employee time tracking, but the reality is that a there are workers who participate in time theft. Just as crooks rarely dress as Snidely Whiplash or the Hamburgler, time theft has many forms.
How are they doing it?
People will always find ways to cheat the system. Here are some of the most common.
- Clocking in early or out late without performing actual work.
- Misuse of sick time.
- Idle time—taking extra breaks.
- Taking longer breaks or lunches than authorized.
- Engaging in non-work activities such as making private calls, texting, gaming, or web surfing.
- Buddy punching–one employee having another clock in/out on their behalf.
- Over-reporting hours worked, either by taking advantage of unchecked manual methods or manipulating systems which are not secure.
- Arriving early or leaving late for the purpose of accumulating unbudgeted overtime, even if working diligently during.
Make sure you are aware of the many forms of time theft and develop strategies to combat them.
What is it costing you?
The graph below shows how much money your business could lose to time theft every year for each employee working 250 8-hour days.
Before developing a strategy to eliminate time theft, you should always check state and local laws, but here are some pertinent legal guidelines.
- Businesses are not required to use time clocks.
- Rounding features are permitted, but they must function both ways.
- If an employee arrives before scheduled or leaves after, on their own accord, they do not have to be paid if they are not performing actual work. However, obey the rules as an employer. If you can’t prove that an employee wasn’t actually working, pay them. Your business has more to lose and the smack-down you could receive from the Department of Labor pales in comparison to the time theft.
How do you stop it?
Your company needs to have a plan in place for the inevitability of time theft. Start with these;
- Use an automated time tracking tool instead of manual methods.
- Implement a schedule rounding feature to discourage longer shifts than budgeted.
- Track sick time and verify it is being used as intended.
- Require break tracking. Even if this is paid time, make sure employees aren’t taking longer or more frequent breaks than allowed.
- Use a secure employee log in system to ensure no one else can clock in or out on their behalf.
- Make employees aware of the security and integrity of the time clock in place. Tracking protects the company and the worker.
- Make employees aware of the penalties for violations. These might be verbal or written warnings, suspensions, or ultimately grounds for termination.
- Follow through with the rules set forth.
Create a workplace environment emphasizing honesty. Be cognizant of employee theft or the temptation to participate in it, but also protect yourself from overly aggressive tactics. In other words…
Don’t play roulette.
Keep accurate records or the Department of Labor and other powers that be will side with the employee. This leaves you open not just to wage lawsuits and settlements, but hefty fines as well. Instead of taking chances, use a secure tracking system with excellent audit features like TimeClick®. Our software uses a password system for clocking in and out, which stifles buddy punching.
The Time Sync feature keeps employees from altering the time on their computer. An attempt to deceive TimeClick® will automatically be corrected. The administrator is the best defense against time theft and has powerful audit reports at their disposal. Among other tools, the Computer Name Log shows exactly when and where an employee clocks in or out and the Modified Records Report reveals any attempt to tamper with existing records. The security and accuracy of those records will instill employee faith protect you from unsupported claims.
Most employees are not dishonest, but there are more than enough to cost any business thousands of dollars. They won’t always be twirling their mustache, hand wringing, or cackling maniacally, but they are crafty and won’t be easy to spot. You need multiple layers of prevention and detection to combat a variety of time theft techniques. We give those to you in an easy to use package. Eliminate time theft with TimeClick’s security features.