Both you and your employee’s time is valuable to the company in terms of productivity and the salary earned, but sometimes you end up paying people more money than their time is worth.
When an employee punches in or out too early, this is called time fraud. While it may not sound like a big deal, it is actually a major problem. Some businesses spend as much as 5 percent of their payroll on hours that no one actually worked.
The problem with time fraud is that it is not always easy to spot. It can easily be explained away as a system error or an accident, but remaining vigilant about time fraud is important for your employees and your company because whatever the cause, being paid for time not worked is theft.
Different Types of Time Theft
There are a lot of ways that employees might commit time theft. For example, if someone does not turn up for a shift on time, but asks their friend to punch them in on the time clock, this is time fraud. This can also happen when an employee lies about the actual amount of time they worked by rounding up the number on a time card or invoice.
Time fraud also occurs when employees extend their breaks without authorization. Coming back late or leaving early might sound harmless, but this is actually one of the most common types of time theft that employers experience. Those extra 10, 15 or 20 minutes really add up if it becomes a widespread problem within the workplace.
Time theft also happens when an employee spends too much time dealing with personal tasks while they are at work. An employee who has punched in but spends the first 45 minutes of the shift on a personal call is committing time theft. Even if you allow employees to send emails and use their phone, this can be abused and result in serious losses of time and productivity.
Preventing Time Theft
Preventing time theft is important, but at the same time, no one wants to seem like a dictator by micro-managing an employee’s habits.
One of the best things that you can do at work is talk about time theft. Some employees may not realize that taking extra breaks or surfing the Internet is dishonest. Unless you let them know that it is not acceptable, many people won’t realize what kind of effect it can have on the business. Making this message clear, and letting employees know what is expected of them, is one of the best ways to keep employees honest.
If it is a big problem, you might consider implementing tools to help keep it in check. Time &Attendance software is a great way to alleviate some of these problems and has the added benefit of making payroll processing easier.
Another consideration is biometric facial recognition which virtually eliminates buddy punching
Protecting Your Time and Money
Time theft at work can result in huge losses for your company. Although you want your employees to know that you trust and value them, having extra systems in place to prevent time theft will help save you both time and money.