Knock, Knock. Is Your Employee There? Tracking Employee Attendance

Tracking employee attendance can help you reduce employee absenteeism and manage employee benefits like sick leave and overtime wages. There are plenty of reasons to track employee attendance. Read on to learn what is employee attendance tracking and ways to track employee attendance.

What is employee attendance tracking?

Employee attendance tracking is a way to monitor when workers are clocked in and working. Without it, it can be difficult to accurately pay employees. You can track employee attendance for remote or onsite workers and exempt and non-exempt employees

There are several reasons why you should track employee attendance. Tracking employee attendance allows you to:

  • Accurately pay employees
  • Keep track of employee hours
  • Manage overtime wages
  • Oversee sick leave accruals
  • Calculate shift efficiency
  • Adjust employee schedules
  • Identify negative employee patterns
  • Comply with federal, state, and local laws (e.g., FLSA and pay stub requirements)

How to track employee attendance

There are different ways to track employee attendance depending on where and how your employees work. 

1. Time cards

An oldie but a goodie. Employees use personal time cards or punch cards to clock in or out. Time cards are stored onsite and are manually placed into a machine that marks (e.g., “punches”) the time. 

Time cards don’t work for remote employees because they are not onsite to punch the time card. Time cards also come with a downside known as “buddy punching.” A buddy punch is when an employee gets someone else to punch in for them, even though they aren’t at work. 

2. Timesheets

Employees fill out timesheets as they begin and end their shifts. If you use a timesheet, make sure to add spaces for lunch breaks and overtime. 

3. Time and attendance software

Time and attendance software combines the best of other time and attendance methods. Time and attendance software lets employees clock in and out through an employee portal. The software can also integrate seamlessly with your payroll software, and it lets you approve or reject employee hours.

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How to prevent time theft

Employee attendance tracking methods may be vulnerable to time theft. So, how do you prevent time theft?

Here are a few things you can try to prevent time theft:

  • Ask managers or shift leads to verify employee time cards, timesheets, and online portal entries
  • Use employee location information to keep track of offsite or remote employees
  • Tracy employees while they work online (e.g., project trackers, bossware, etc. 

No matter what you do to prevent time theft, you should create a time and attendance policy to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Create a time and attendance policy

A time and attendance policy may greatly reduce employee theft, absenteeism, and tardiness. But, not all attendance policies are created equal. 

An effective time and attendance policy should define and clearly outline employee:

  • Absences: An absence occurs when employees fail to show up for their scheduled hours. Absences can be either excused or unexcused. Excused absences occur when a supervisor approves an employee’s request for time off. An unexcused absence happens when an employee misses work without any prior notification.
  • Tardiness: Employee tardiness means an employee does not show up to work at their scheduled start time. 
  • Early departure: Early departure is when an employee leaves work before their scheduled shift is complete.   
  • Consequences for excessive time and attendance issues: Each business must decide the consequences employees face for excessive absences, tardies, or early departures from work. 

Whatever you decide, make sure employees understand their responsibilities for absences, tardiness, and early departure.

Every business owner knows that time is money. Make running your business easier than ever when you sign up for Patriot’s online payroll software and time and attendance add-on. Track employee time and attendance and run payroll in just a few clicks. Try it for free today! 

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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