If you have implemented a time and attendance solution in your workplace, chances are you were pretty excited the first time the data started rolling in at the end of the pay period. Instead of punching in time-sheet information, you can now input it all the hours worked straight into your HR and payroll systems. A good time keeping system will streamline operations processes and make your life easier.

Although time and attendance solutions do save time and effort, there will still be employees who for whatever reason, forget to actually use it. Depending on what kind of system you have in place, they may leave their badges for the system at home, or just plain forget to clock-in that day. In these cases, you will likely find a note on your desk the next day, explaining the mistake.

What should you do?

What the Law Says


The Fair Labor Standards Act states that employees must receive pay for all time worked. This means that it is illegal to dock an employee’s wage for clocking-in late if they actually worked during the time the system missed. It is also illegal to do this as a disciplinary measure. Basically, hourly or exempt employees must get paid for the time they worked, regardless of what time they actually clocked-in. If they showed up and started working at 9:00, but don’t clock in until 10:00, they must be paid from 9:00 onward anyway.

Although time and attendance systems are an effective way to track time and attendance information, unfortunately sometimes human error forces manual intervention.

What HR Can Do

Although you can’t dock an employee’s pay, you can implement other disciplinary measures. Ensure that you have a written company policy on timekeeping. If employees fail to use it correctly, follow a system of verbal and written warnings, and even termination if the situation calls for it.

Alternatively, you can initiate a system of rewards for employees who consistently clock-in on time. Not only will this reduce the chance that people will forget to clock in, but will also improve tardiness.

Even though this may not seem like a large operational problem, it can be a headache when compounded by many employees, and even be a liability to your business.