3 ways your Staff can cheat clocking in and out at work
Many employers don’t require their staff to record the exact time they start and finish work, but for some industries, clocking in and clocking out is the beginning and end of the working day. It’s an accurate way to track the time worked, which feeds into your management information systems including the possibility of exporting timesheets direct to payroll if your systems are set up to do it.
However, it won’t come as a great surprise to hear that employee time theft is said to affect nearly three quarters of American employees, with over 1/3 of workers admitting to being inaccurate in their time recordings, not thinking it a big deal. Especially for smaller businesses, the consequences can be huge. An employee clocking out just 15 minutes later than he actually stopped work will cost the employer over a week’s wages by the end of the year!
Cheating the punch clock system can take many forms but essentially it involves staff being on the clock while not being on the job. Here are the most common ways that employees get around the system.
- ‘Buddy Punching’
Getting someone else to clock in and out for a colleague is easily done. Assuming Worker No. 1 is running late, it’s a small job to text Worker No. 2 (who is already at work) to clock him in on time, thus avoiding lateness being recorded. Equally, if Worker No. 1 wants to leave early, Worker No. 2 can clock him out at the regular time. The same can be done for lunch hours and breaks.
For employers, this is a hard practice to monitor. Biometric time clock systems requiring physical evidence (such as a fingerprint) are one answer. With the Planday app, you can set location specific clock in rules so your staff can only clock in via the app when they’re actually at work.
- Non-Work Activities
Another way to falsify the time spent working is by not working while on the clock. Whether your staff spend their time on Facebook or eBay instead of carrying out their duties, making personal phone calls or having long chats while they’re supposed to be working, taking extra long lunches or going on errands – the fact is that they’re doing it in your time.
As an employer, you will see productivity suffer, so you need to take action. Make it very clear to your workforce that you will not tolerate personal activities being carried out during working hours, and encourage a culture of honesty throughout the company.
If your staff use computers, consider blocking the offending websites from the system. You may also wish to install specific software to monitor activity so you can see if they’re on Twitter or surfing the web when they should be working, then pull them up on it.
- Abuse of Breaks
Your employees’ working hours should include set contractual breaks. As a minimum, staff have a statutory right to 1 uninterrupted rest break of 20 minutes during the working day, if they work in excess of 6 hours. This could be a lunch break or a morning/afternoon break, and breaks don’t have to be paid.
However, it can be a challenge for employers to make sure these breaks are actually taken, especially if they are not paid, or if staff clock in/out at the correct time. It’s all too easy to forget, or indeed to cheat the system by not clocking out, or clocking back in too quickly while taking the break in paid time.
As an employers, it is up to you to communicate the seriousness of time clocking accuracy to your workforce. Particularly if you’re running a small business, time as they say is money – and you won’t have funds to waste on unproductive activities, particularly if there’s dishonesty involved. By taking control of your time management and putting an end to waste and deceit, you will be creating a better base for your business, which in turn benefits everyone at work.
Freelance Writer, University of Brighton
Redhill, United Kingdom