Buddy Punching: How to Stop Time Theft Today
So, What Exactly Is Buddy Punching?
Buddy Punching is when one employee asks another to clock in or out for them. For example, you are running late, caught up in a traffic jam, so you phone a colleague and ask them to clock you in with the hope that your supervisor won't notice you coming in late.
There are definitely many extreme cases out there, including some employees who even use buddy punching to accrue extra overtime and get paid for time they haven't worked. This is not only unethical, but it also comes under the category of theft.
Buddy Punching Is Time Theft.
A study by the American Payroll Association showed that more than 75 percent of businesses suffer financial losses due to time theft. If your business still uses a punch time clock or manual paper time sheets, then the possibilities for "buddy punching" are endless.
Buddy Punching - How Big Of A Problem Is It?
Before you can begin to prevent time theft, you need to understand the severity of the problem. A 2017 research study suggested that the practice of buddy punching could cost U.S. employers more than $373 million each year.
These findings were based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics indicating that there were more than 78 million hourly workers employed. If 16 percent of those workers added just 15 minutes to a coworker's timesheet by buddy punching, that would add more than $373 million to the U.S. gross annual payroll.
It doesn't matter how much time is being added to a timesheet or time card fraudulently, buddy punching is stealing time, and for your business with tight margins, it's a huge deal.
How Can I Prevent It?
1. First of all, take a look at how your employees record their time at work.
• Are you still using manual timesheets? If this is the case, consider changing the method of time recording.
• How old is your time clock? Does it use paper punch cards? Paper time-cards can be falsified by buddy punching, so think about upgrading the time clock.
• What policies do you have in place for PTO (Personal or Paid Time Off)?
If your employees are treated fairly when it comes to PTO, they will be less likely to commit time theft or buddy punch. If they are going to be late arriving, allow them to record the time accordingly, and let them make it up at a later date, like a "flextime" policy.
• Have a clearly defined policy regarding buddy punching. Make sure your employees are aware of it and understand the implications of such an action. Post a copy of the policy next to your time clock so that everyone can see it.
2. Make Use Of Available Technology.
• Consider an upgrade to your time clock. Modern solutions include time clocks with security features like face recognition which go a long way to preventing buddy punching.
• One option for upgrading your time clock is to install a Biometric Time Clock.
A Biometric Time Clock is a specialized timekeeping method used to confirm employees identification. It has the advantage of preventing an employee from clocking in or out for someone else.
"A biometric time clock is an accurate and reliable solution when it comes to time and attendance record-keeping for your employees. It not only safeguards against time fraud but can also protect you from wage and labor lawsuits."
3. Geofencing makes reliable timekeeping a breeze
Geofencing is another invaluable way to keep track of your employees' time.
A "geofence" is a virtual boundary determined by utilizing GPS points or an address. If an employee clocks in and out when they enter or leave the geofenced boundary, a timesheet report will be recorded.
For example, you can set up a radius at the perimeter of your office building or job site, meaning that employees must actually be in the office or job site in order to commence their shift. If anyone tries to begin their shift before they have reached the geo-fence, the report will reflect that they clocked in or out from outside the work location.
Of course, these events can be overridden by a manager for legitimate reasons, such as when an employee is asked to go and pick up some office supplies or take a lunch break.
4. Mobile and Web Apps go a long way to solving this dilemma.
Mobile and web apps with GPS-enabled employee time tracking can provide you with the means to end buddy punching.
Implementing a GPS-enabled time tracking app for your employees to use on their Smartphone or Tablets, may be the solution for your business.
How Can ClockInEasy Help?
With the ClockInEasy mobile app, employees can clock in and out from any approved location, which creates instant timesheet reports. The employee's location is also recorded using GPS technology, ensuring they are where they should be.
When payroll time comes around, you can access all the employees' reports on any device, to export the reports by employee, date range, or work location in PDF or CSV format.
When you have reliable, accurate timesheets with Face Recognition and GPS you can protect your business from labor and wage disputes with the information recorded. Each employee's face, location and the hours they worked are all recorded via the mobile app, and to ensure security, an audit trail feature is available.
This audit trail is a secure, uneditable log that documents any edits or changes made to the reports so employees can be held accountable for their actions. Only you as the owner, or whomever you have designated to have access, can edit reports. Employees cannot edit their own reports.
All of the above remedies and solutions putting an end to buddy punching are available from ClockInEasy at different tiered plans structured to suit your budget and business, so consider which solution is best for you, and start saving today.