5 Sneaky Practices Most Staff Use to Cheat Time & Attendance Systems
Employees frequently try to scam the attendance and time systems where they work. The following are five things are worth considering to avoid deception.
The provisions for overtime pay are outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is managed by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD). On 18 May 2016, President Obama signed the final rule for overtime regulations, which will update the FLSA to include an estimated 4 million employees, previously denied overtime or proper compensation. You can find additional information on the final rule here.
Every employer should have a written policy on time and attendance unless they have a lot of latitude in their workplace. This is often the case with employers who do not see a need to keep an employee chained to their desk when they have nothing to do.
According to the FLSA, when an employee is providing “physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer of his business.”, it is considered time worked, even when an employee sits at his or her desk playing solitaire waiting for further instructions. Whatever your policy is, it must be enforced to provide a fair and consistent application.
When time and attendance policies are not strictly enforced, it opens the door to claims of favoritism. Additionally, when the policy is strictly enforced, all employees know exactly where they stand.
Take for instance when Sarah, an African-American employee is late on several occasions with no repercussions, and then Sally, a Caucasian employee is late twice in one week and docked an hour’s pay. This would leave the door open to accusations of favoritism based on race, particularly if the employer is an African-American.
Let’s face it, your employees are trying to make as much money as possible. In most cases, you cannot blame them for that, except when it cuts into your profits without adding anything to your bottom line, which in essence is theft.
That is exactly what a time sheet cheater is doing, stealing from their employer.
1. Buddy Assisted Time-Clock Manipulation
This is when John needs to leave early and asks Billy to punch his time card when Billy leaves. Or, Billy leaves without punching out, accidently or intentionally and calls John to do him a favor and punch his time card. Although it was an honest mistake, the subsequent call to his friend to clock him out much later, was not. Honest mistake or not it is dishonest to have another employee clock you out, and it subtracts from the employer’s bottom line.
2. Data Entry
Susie is great at her job; she should be she has been doing it for 40 years. Yes, her eyesight is not what it used to be, but she will come in on Saturday or holidays to get the hours recorded and the hours are almost always correct. At least you hope they are. Susie and John have worked together for this employer for 30 of the 40 years.
John tells Susie he forgot to punch in on the previous Saturday, knowing Susie did not work that day and neither did he. But, he tells Susie he did and she changes the time worked on his time sheet to reflect five additional hours, which gives him four hours of overtime he didn’t actually earn. This is fraud and embezzlement on both their parts.
3. Inflated Work Schedules
Billy always waits to clock out at just after five, so the liberal 15-minute rule, instituted by the employer, allows him to gather an additional one hour and 15 minutes each week. The additional time works out to an additional 62 hours and thirty minutes per year. That’s an additional week’s pay on top of the two weeks paid vacation the employer already gives him.
4. Unintentional Overtime
Because John is much better than Billy at preparing reports, he is always chosen to complete those. It doesn’t matter how many hours he has clocked for the week. If the supervisor checked or the system automatically updated hours daily, he would know John will work overtime while Billy leaves just a little after five every day because he doesn’t have to deal with those reports.
5. Human Error
Billy worked an additional two hours on Saturday to finish a project, after a sick day earlier in the week, the additional hours gave him 34 for the week. Susie while doing her data entry tasks, mistakenly gives those two hours to John giving him a total of 42 hours for the week. Although Billy notices he was shorted two hours and Susie corrects her mistake on Billy’s paycheck, she did not bother to investigate what happened about the two hours given to John.
Steps You Can Take to Ensure you are not Cheated
Fingerprint reading, biometric equipment, and software can prevent fraudulent clock manipulation. This software can even be integrated with automatic recordkeeping to prevent logging inadvertent hours. Although, some of these measures can be very expensive, the return on investment (ROI) can be significant over the life of your business.
These systems can also give management “hours worked” tracking, to minimize the number of hours paid in overtime.
In summary, establish, post, and enforce attendance policies, so that every employee knows the policy and the penalties for noncompliance. Bring your business into the 21st Century by installing biometric tracking and software.
This content was provided by Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer Credit Union.
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