Time and attendance
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Organizations of all sizes use time and attendance systems to record when employees start and stop work, and the department where the work is performed. However, it’s also common to track meals and breaks, the type of work performed, and the number of items produced. In addition to tracking when employees work, organizations also need to keep tabs on when employees are not working. Vacation time, compensation time, FMLA time, and jury duty must be recorded. Some organizations also keep detailed records of attendance issues such as who calls in sick and who comes in late.
A time and attendance system provides many benefits to organizations. It enables an employer to have full control of all employees working hours. It helps control labor costs by reducing over-payments, which are often caused by transcription error, interpretation error and intentional error. Manual processes are also eliminated as well as the staff needed to maintain them. It is often difficult to comply with labor regulation, but a time and attendance system is invaluable for ensuring compliance with labor regulations regarding proof of attendance.
Companies with large employee numbers might need to install several time clock stations in order to speed up the process of getting all employees to clock in or out quickly or to record activity in dispersed locations.
Depending on the supplier, identification method and number of clocking points required, prices vary widely. A time and attendance system protects a company from payroll fraud and provides both employer and employees with confidence in the accuracy of their wage payments all while improving productivity.
- Many time and attendance software is now provided through cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) hosted solutions. Web-based solutions offer a number of advantages to organizations of all sizes, including reduced implementation costs, fewer maintenance and support concerns, as well as instant updates and upgrades.
Manual systems rely on highly skilled people laboriously adding up paper cards which have times stamped onto them using a time stamping machine such as the Bundy Clock. Time stamping machines have been in use for over a century are still used by many organizations as a cheaper alternative to time and attendance software.
Automated time and attendance systems can use electronic tags, barcode badges, magnetic stripe cards, biometrics (vein reader, hand geometry, fingerprint, or facial), and touch screens in place of paper cards which employees touch or swipe to identify themselves and record their working hours as they enter or leave the work area. The recorded information is then ideally automatically transferred to a computer for processing although some systems require an operator to physically transfer data from the clocking point to the computer using a portable memory device. The computer may then be employed to perform all the necessary calculations to generate employee timesheets which are used to calculate the employees' wages. An automated system reduces the risk of errors that are common in a manual system, and allows the workforce to be more productive instead of wasting time on tedious administrative tasks.
- Protefil Group case study, “Touch screen terminals used to record staff attendance”