What Is Attendance Management?

Employees come to work, do their jobs, and then go home. Day after day. But, sometimes employees call off sick or come in late. They might ask you to rearrange their schedules to accommodate their personal lives. How can you possibly keep track of all the coming and going? You need an attendance management system for employees.

What is attendance management?

Attendance management is the way you keep track of employee hours. It is the system you use to document the time employees work and the time they take off. Attendance management can be done by recording employee hours on paper, using spreadsheets, punching time cards, or using online time and attendance software for your business.

Do you need attendance management?

All employers should have an attendance management system for employees. Your system needs to comply with FLSA timekeeping requirements, regardless of how you implement it.

Attendance management systems allow you to calculate the hours employees work accurately. This is especially beneficial if you have hourly employees. You need to be able to calculate the exact wages you owe employees. And, you need to know if you owe overtime wages to employees.

If you have salaried employees, you can see how often employees are working. Employees can document the time both at and away from your business. You can know how much they are working, even when you don’t see them.

Tracking employee time will let you know if employees are punctual. This only works if you require employees to document the exact time they come or go. You can see if an employee tends to show up late or skip out early.

Attendance management also lets you keep track of how many days off employees use. This is important if your business has a policy that lets employees use a certain number of sick or vacation days.

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How to track employee time

There are several ways you can set up an attendance management system.


You can make a timesheet on a piece of paper. You can use a simple notebook. You or employees can write down the dates and times worked. You can then use the information to pay employees.

Using paper is convenient, but there are downsides. You might not be able to read the writing. Or, the paper might get lost or damaged.

Time clock

You can install a time clock system at your business. Employees will need to punch their time when they arrive at or leave work. There are some costs to set up and maintain a time clock.


You can create a timekeeping spreadsheet on your computer. You will have to enter employee hours into the spreadsheet.

With a spreadsheet, you might be able to create formulas that will calculate employee wages.

Time and attendance software

You can purchase online time and attendance software to use as your attendance management system. With time and attendance software, you can enter employee time yourself. Or, you can set up employee self-service so employees can enter their own time. Employees can also input their used sick and vacation time. The used time off will automatically subtract from the total time off you allow each employee to use.

Time and attendance software can integrate with your payroll software. Once you approve employee time cards, the information will transfer to the payroll software. Then, the payroll software will calculate employee wages and withhold all taxes. You can easily pay employees.

Simplify your payroll process by using Patriot’s time and attendance software. Employees have access to employee self-service. And you have accurate attendance and payroll records. Try it with our online payroll, for free!

This article has been updated from its original publication date of August 29, 2016.

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

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