Employee Time and Attendance - Using Software to Automate Your Duties

There are many ways to track an employee’s time; however, the most effective and accurate way is electronically. This can sometimes backfire as well though since someone could work unauthorized overtime by punching in a few minutes early every day. Yes you can use your progressive discipline process to address this and should, but you will still be paying the time unless you address it in your attendance policy.

As an example in your time and attendance policy you could state that any overtime must be approved in advance by a supervisor. Any overtime worked that has not been approved will be subject to review as to whether the time will be paid or not. Certain states may have problems with a policy like this so make sure you have this reviewed prior to going forward with it. California may be one of the states that objects to this. In this case the time would be paid but the employee could be disciplined.

Another example of a time and attendance system would be to have time sheets that are completed by the supervisor and signed off on by the employee on a set schedule. You could do this exactly opposite of this as well by having the employees signing in and then verified by the supervisor. In either case one verifies the other as a checks and balance system.

Another is that individuals are provided a schedule of their assigned shift and then paid according to that unless they have been authorized to work over time or have an unscheduled absent. This is the least effective way of insuring your time and attendance is tracked correctly. An employer will love this since they are in total control of what time is paid; however, many states will have a problem with this since it does not allow for a verifiable way of insuring employees are paid correctly.

Over my long forty year career there is not one issue that I have had to address more than time and attendance. For the most part employee’s are honest and will not try to take advantage of any system that you have. However, it seems there is always one out there that will push the envelope as far as possible. If you have a time clock they will try and get someone to punch in for them. If you have time sheet they will falsely write in their time.

Whatever time and attendance system you use make sure your state approves of it. The time to find out is not several years down the road. You may be subject to going back and paying tons of overtime to all your employees for a single compliant that is filed.

As an example someone complains about being interrupted during their lunch break yet were not paid for it. You argue that it was for only a minute while you asked the employee a question. The employee becomes disgruntled and takes the issue forward. Most states have a law that states an employee is not to be interrupted during their unpaid lunch break. In this example if they determine you have been interrupting them they may make you go back and pay not just this individual for their lunch breaks but everyone in your department or organization. This could be devastating to your organization.

Use your head and follow the rules of your state and of course the federal government. They make them available very easily online through the labor departments. Do a Google search and you will find them quickly.

Good Luck and May God Bless You!

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