By definition, time theft is the intentionally deceitful act of an employee misreporting hours worked to their employer. This means that the employee accepts pay for work that either has not been done, or for time that was not put into work.
Examples of Time Theft
- Over-extended breaks
- Early arrivals
- Early departures
- Unauthorized overtime
- Excessive personal time
- Time spent using the internet in ways not related to work
- Sleeping on the job
- Buddy punching
All types of businesses are vulnerable to time theft, as it is not always easy to detect and even good employees can slip up. However, large-scale time theft, or time theft on a regular basis, can impact your bottom line.
One common type of time theft in companies that have a large portion of hourly workers is buddy punching. Buddy punching occurs when an employee gets another employee to “punch” the time clock for them; either because they are late or because they are absent. This allows the employee to add hours to the time & attendance system for which they didn’t actually work.
Combating the False Punch
One of the ways companies can fight this is by implementing a biometric time clock. Biometric time clocks use the unique shape of employee’s hands, or their finger prints, to record attendance. It completely eliminates the problem of buddy punching.
If biometric time clocks are too big of an investment, or are not a good fit for your business, a web portal with a web-clock protected by individual passwords is a step in the right direction. Although employees can share passwords if they choose, it can eliminate a large part of the problem. Once employees realize that their web portals have confidential information, they often choose not to share their passwords.
Although you can’t totally prevent all types of time theft, you can prevent buddy punching. Furthermore, by encouraging a corporate culture of integrity, respect, and trust, you can hope that your employees will be less likely to misreport their hours