Be Careful About Employees Scamming Your Time System

While there are many good, honest workers out there, we invariably come across those who put in extra effort into getting paid for time not spent working. These tricks have been known to build up to significant losses for the employer, losing thousands annually for a company where many workers abuse the clock. Workers will either find methods to cheat the clock when they are late or leave early, but they will also overstay their welcome, receiving overtime when the paychecks come in. For whatever reason, workers who cheat the time clock are workers who cannot be trusted. By taking a shortcut to a quick buck, an unscrupulous worker will end up looking for employment elsewhere instead of getting a raise on the next employee review. In order to prevent your company from falling prey to timesheet scams, you must first understand how employees take advantage of a traditional timeclock so that you can adapt to a better system.

“Buddy” Timeclocks

One common way employees will cheat a timeclock is to have their buddies clock in or out for them when they are not there at the regular time. For instance, one worker might ask a cohort to cover for them in this instance in return for a favor at a later date. The cohort is usually persuaded since the money is not coming out of his or her own pocket, and the path of least resistance leads to following along with the request. Sometimes a worker might run late and needs help to avoid disciplinary action. Other times, the worker feels the need to leave early and leaves a teammate to pick up the slack. Whatever the reason, workers will scam timeclocks by getting someone else to clock in or out for them. Most businesses reduce the appeal by creating policies that punish perpetrators of phantom clocking, while others will use supervisors, biometrics, IP address check or other types of identification that ensure that the person clocking in or out at any given time is clocking in or out on their own behalf and no one else’s.

“Milking” the Clock

Another way the timesheet gets scammed is from workers who stay too long or clock in too early in order to rack up more time on the clock and pad their paycheck. Some companies pay workers by the minute, while others may pay for each 15 minute block or for every hour. This means that if a worker punches in a minute early or a minute late, then the entire extra block gets billed. A worker who creates a 15 minute buffer at the beginning of the day and then again at the end of the day adds half of an hour to their paycheck. In a week, this amounts to two and a half hours of extra pay, and if that is overtime then it is almost 4 extra hours a week of unauthorized time. This could result in 200 hours or five work-weeks of over-payment annually per employee for simply staying on the clock when time was not allotted. Workers who have a schedule that varies from week to week or are only supposed to work part time could end up costing the company more in taxes and other full time expenses.

Clerical Error

Another big time waste of time involves when the hours are all calculated at the end of the pay period. Payroll writers who must transfer data from one table into another may inadvertently allocate more hours to a worker than they actually worked or might accidentally store the wrong rate of pay. There are also many instances of workers who have left the company who are not removed from payroll and end up receiving salary pay or otherwise manipulate the payroll with another insider who will clock in and out for them. Payroll clerks also might be found falsifying reports by creating duplicate “workers” on paper with paychecks that route to the same bank under a different name. The best way to prevent these problems from occurring is to go over payroll and use several sets of eyes to go over payroll and verify that the information is correct.

Online timeclocks have made it easier for companies to accurately receive and calculate timesheet data so that company funds are not easily exploited. Online timeclocks can keep track of employees who clock in from multiple locations and can be used with a smartphone or computer for valid identification of an employee’s location and time they start or finish their workday. Online record-keeping is dynamic, allowing for multiple backups and real-time data from any remote location.

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