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How to Enforce Your Time and Attendance Policy and Help Employees Embrace It

  • Human Resources
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 07/18/2018

employee showing up early to work
It might be time to take a closer look at your time and attendance policy and consider solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. Once you do, ensuring that your workforce embraces these changes makes enforcing that policy more efficient.

Table of Contents

Is your time and attendance policy outdated? Is your employee time tracking inaccurate?

If you answered yes to these questions, then it might be time to take a closer look at your time and attendance policy and consider solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. With accurate time tracking, you could eliminate data errors, reduce overpayments, and limit time spent on related administrative and managerial tasks.

Employee attendance by the numbers

Ensuring your employees are working scheduled hours should be a key business objective. Still, it can be easy to overlook the hidden costs of attendance. A recent article on the costs of time theft revealed that:

  • About 75 percent of U.S. businesses are affected by time theft.
  • 43 percent of employees admit to some form of time theft.
  • 25 percent of employees report more hours than they actually worked more than 75 percent of the time.
  • 45 percent of employees record time inaccurately.

Managing various forms of time theft

A common trend in time theft is buddy punching, which occurs when hourly, non-exempt employees, who record their time on a time clock, punch a co-worker in and out when that worker isn't present. If a business relies on a punch time clock or paper time sheets, it can be relatively simple for one employee to record time or punch in on behalf of another employee.

There are other situations where employees may be under the impression that they are merely doing each other a favor. Your time and attendance policy should clearly state that buddy punching is strictly prohibited in the workplace.

Simple tardiness is another costly example. For instance, a non-exempt employee who is consistently 10 minutes late and works 20 days per month in a year can earn 40 hours of pay for time not worked annually. Ultimately, you are paying that employee for a week of time that was not spent creating value for your business.

Addressing attendance problems quickly so they don't turn into long-term issues is the best course of action. Increasingly, businesses are turning to state-of-the-art identification technology to combat the time-theft trend.

Tools like online timekeeping solutions now fully integrate with payroll to ensure accuracy and eliminate instances of paying for time not worked. If your company needs to retain an on-site time clock, a solution such as a time clock with biometric technology can mitigate behaviors like buddy punching.

time policies

Helping employees embrace time-tracking changes

If your business decides to invest in a time and attendance solution, it is important to support staff engagement by explaining the tool's benefits. When employees understand the need for the tracking solution, they're more likely to take it seriously and attempt to embrace it. Alternatively, poor communication can lead to misunderstanding, low morale, and potential turnover. Here are some tips for setting the stage:

  • Give advance notice. When communicating changes, provide as much notice of the change as possible, giving the employees the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Explain in simple, clear terms. Help your team to understand why such change is important. Focus on the benefits, such as how it can help improve workflows.
  • Train your employees. Once you've laid the foundation by explaining why you've chosen a new time and attendance solution, ensure that your workforce has the necessary technical training and support to use it.
  • Involve managers. Employees are more likely to focus on the activities that their managers and companies as a whole regard as a priority. It is important to have managers discuss the importance of time and attendance tracking with their teams.

Updating your time and attendance policy and procedures to reflect today's work environment can play a crucial role in your business success. Once you do, ensuring that your workforce embraces the new time tracking solution makes enforcing that policy more efficient. If you’re looking to improve time tracking at your business, consider these options.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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