Your employees forget to clock in and out? Let’s fix it!

Are you having issues with employees forgetting to clock in and out, and you ran out of ideas on preventing these problems?
There are so many consequences generated by inaccurate time recording, both for you, as an employer, and for your employees. If they forget intentionally or unintentionally to clock in and out, this constitutes time theft, therefore affecting the activity and efficiency of the organization as a whole.
On the other hand, incorrect time recording may also affect the employees because it can lead to inaccurate payroll. So it’s obvious everyone has to suffer. Make sure to avoid that with some simple actions.
First, you should know the legal framework to be compliant with it and treat the employees correctly.
Then, create a system of procedures meant to inform your employees of what rules have to be respected when it comes to clocking in and out, responsible for enforcing those rules, and what happens when they don’t follow them regularly.
In the article we have prepared for you, you will see what steps you need to take to ensure an efficient procedure in your company for recording work hours. Check it out!

One of the most sensitive subjects companies encounter is employees not clocking in and out correctly. The act of not clocking in can have some negative consequences, both on employees and the organization. It can generate unfair or inaccurate payment for once, and then, time theft will hurt your organization’s success and reputation.

In most cases, employees may unintentionally forget to clock in and out, but some do it on purpose. So what can be done? We have compiled a short guide for preventing your employees from forgetting about this crucial task.

But before offering our tips and tricks, let’s see what exactly is“time theft” and how it can be recognized.

“Forgetting” to clock in and out is ultimately playing the system and the employer, and it can take one of the following forms:

  • Clocking in and out incorrectly, to receive payment for hours they did not work
  • Buddy punching, which is the case when one employee punches the timecard for another one
  • Prolonging breaks
  • Covering up late check-ins/early check-outs.

Regardless of the reason this happens, it is essential to reduce the level of inaccurate recording of worked hours.

You should also have a legal perspective in mind, meaning you should know the legal framework when it comes to clocking in and out.

For example, in the USA, the law implies that the responsibility for accurate time logging belongs to the employer. So, even the timecard used to record time, or the timesheet, is flawed and did not record correctly the hours worked by the employee, the federal law requires that the employee receives payment for all worked hours.

In the European Union, as a general rule, every state member can impose their own rules regarding time recording, as long as those laws don’t contravene European Regulation.

As a crucial moment, we should mention a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union from 2019, May 14th, when they established that the state members must require employers to put in place a system enabling the worked hours to be measured.

Here is our advice on succeeding in this journey to obtain accurate time recording:

  1. Set up a clear policy for clocking in and out

The best place for this is the Employee Handbook. Start designing a policy for recording worked hours and include all relevant rules: explain where, when, and how employees should clock in/out. Plus, you should expressly state what happens when the employees don’t follow these rules.

It would be helpful to use an app that sends notifications with reminders for forgetful employees and in this case, make sure to mention the existence of this reminder in the policy.

Other aspects you should highlight are the elements regarding lunchtime, overtime, and unpaid breaks. This way, you can avoid the situations when employees work in times considered breaks or do overtime that is not necessary for the company.

Since we all like samples that we can copy-paste, we have a surprise for you. We have a dedicated guide on the best practices for an Employee Handbook. On the same page, we have a template that you can use. Below you can see an extract of the relevant sections: 

4.5 Work hours.[Company Name] is open from [X a.m. To X p.m. Day of Week – Day of Week], except for Holidays (See below, section Holidays). The standard workweek is [40] hours (see below section Overtime). For calculating employee benefits, the workweek begins on [Sunday (starting at 12:01 a.m.) Through Saturday (ending at 12:00 a.m.)], unless a supervisor makes other arrangements with the employee. 
4.6 Lunchtime. Employees benefit from a [55-minute] break for lunch. Lunch breaks generally are taken between the hours of [11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.] 4.7 Break periods.[Company Name] allows breaks during the following times: [times here]. If employees have unexpected personal business to take care of, they must [notify their direct supervisor to discuss time away from work and make provisions as necessary]. (Or:) [Company Name does not allow breaks except during the lunch period.]

5.2 Timekeeping. (The following is for employees using a time clock)
Non-exempt employees are responsible for recording their time worked correctly. Time worked is time actually spent performing assigned duties. [Employees are responsible for recording time spent on individual jobs.] [Company Name] does not pay for time spent on personal business or extended breaks. Time records are reviewed weekly. Time record changes must be approved [by a supervisor/manager]. [The appropriate person] can handle questions about timekeeping. 
5.3 Overtime. Overtime compensation is paid to non-exempt employees in accordance with federal and state wage and hour restrictions. Overtime is payable for all hours worked over [40] per week at a rate of one and one-half times the non-exempt employee’s regular hourly rate. Time off on personal time, holidays, or any leave of absence will not be considered hours worked when calculating overtime. In addition, vacation time does not constitute hours worked. All overtime work performed by an hourly employee must receive authorization. Overtime worked without authorization from the [supervisor] may result in disciplinary action.

The last rules you need to design are the rules that kick in if your employees forget to clock in and out constantly. In case of repeated errors, the procedure could be the following:

  • An informal meeting to talk about the issue
  • A written warning or more than one
  • Probation
  • Suspension for a short period of time
  • Finally, termination, if the employee shows no desire to make an effort and the errors in time recording continue.
  1. Communicate the policy and make sure to enforce it consistently

Having a written policy is, of course, essential, but only the first step in your process.

You should communicate with your employees in person or empower your managers to do this. They should inform the staff about the clock in/out rules and motivate them to respect the procedure. It’s all about transparency and making your employees part of a greater mission. Understanding the policy will make them more likely to follow it and fulfill its mission, vision, and goals.

Another crucial part is to enforce the policy equally, regardless of the employee: it may be a performant one or the least performant, it may be the newly hired or the one who’s been over ten years in the company. Don’t play favorites.

  1. Choose the clock in/out app suitable for your team

Finding the proper method used for clocking in and out should also be a priority.

Paper timesheets should remain in the past because they are very prone to error and inefficient. There are always adjustments to be made by managers, and it takes too much of your time.

The key is to find a user-friendly app, which requires complex research in this area.

Using an adequate clocking app makes it easier to record time, and also it makes payroll simpler.

AraHR is a simple yet robust employee timesheet and time tracking app for small and medium businesses that help you save time and money.

Thanks to our time-tracking app, you can gain a complete perspective on the productive and the less productive workers and examine how many hours each of your employees work.

There are a few tips for preventing employees from forgetting to clock in and out. The key is to follow all of them without skipping. Everything should be clearly stated in the Employee Handbook and communicated to the employees. Plus, having an app that has reminders and notifications will also help in achieving this goal.

You might also be interested to learn more about “How to get employees to track time and submit timesheets on time?