Ever since the early days of time tracking, employees have been coming up with various ways to game the system and boost their paychecks. However, many of these strategies are not exactly “above board”
Attendance fraud is a commonly employed strategy by unscrupulous employees in order to scam their employer into paying for workloads and time that they were not actually in attendance. In short, attendance fraud is the act of an employee accepting compensation for time that they did not spend working. This deceiving act is considered fraudulent under federal law, and is both morally and legally condemning.
There are multiple methods that employees use to dupe their employer. One method — known as “buddy punching” — involves having another employee punch in for them to make it seem as though they came into work on time, when in reality, they likely came in a few hours late…. or worse yet, not at all.
The problem/challenge employers face
You might think that attendance fraud isn’t that big a deal. Does it really matter if an employee gets a few extra bucks or an extra bit of change for clocking in or out 15 minutes early or late? After all, most people tell the occasional lie, and it really isn’t that big of an expense.
On a small scale, this might be true, it isn’t that significant. However, once you look at the big picture, you start to realize that attendance fraud can have serious repercussions on your business. Not only with regards to your bottom line, but to the reputation and integrity of your company.
According to the American Payroll Association — or APA — hundreds of billions of dollars have been unjustly paid to employees that commit attendance fraud.
All this money could be going towards education, public health, and other things that will benefit the economy. Instead, it falls into the hands of greedy, dishonest employees.
Beyond buddy punching, there are a few more elaborate and concerning ways that employees exaggerate the time that they have spent working. Some payroll clerks edit employee timesheets to change their tracked work hours.
People may think that attendance fraud only happens at the bottom of the food chain, but in fact, it can occur in the higher tiers of the company as well, and caution as well as checks and balances should be employed at every tier of employee level. Often technology plays a large role and can help to employ security and safety features to reduce risk.
Ghost employees are fictional entities that employers pay a salary to. This method of fraud is among the most common — second only to buddy punching. Staff managers or payroll clerks are usually the creators of these so-called ghost employees.
The definition of a ghost employee is “a fictional employee that has never worked for said company, but has been recognized by payroll staff and receives a salary despite its non-existent status.” Some ghost employees are also people who once worked for the company, left, but were never removed from the payroll system.
The solution – biometrics
One thing that employees can’t cheat is biometrics. While fingerprints aren’t 100% infallible, the chances of finding two people with the same fingerprints are around one in sixty-four million. The diversity in fingerprints across our species makes it extremely difficult for employees to cheat a biometric time tracking system.
Once you register the biometric details of your employees, it will be stored in a local record on the device.
Integrating biometric authentication technology into your Payroll Processing Systems or Resources Management System will make it easier to track the attendance and work hours of your employees.
Preventing timesheet fraud
Biometric time trackers eliminate the possibility of buddy punching, as finding a fellow employee with the same set of fingerprints is extremely unlikely. It also stops payroll clerks from editing employee timesheets as they have no access to the biometric system’s local files.
Preventing employee impersonation
When some employees want to take the day off and head to a rave, they often send a friend to their workplace to cover for them. With biometric technology, this becomes virtually impossible.
You can be confident in knowing that no one gets into your company except actual employees who are skilled, experienced, and well-trained in their line of work.
When untrained civilians fill in for paramedics, electricians, or firemen, the consequences could be lethal. Employers are obligated to do everything in their power to prevent the loss of life, and as such, should be sure that their employees are really their employees, not just civilian imposters covering for a friend.
Biometrics can also reduce the risk of corporate espionage. It allows you to restrict certain areas to high-ranking staff who you trust — keeping the janitors out of your R&D files.
It eliminates lost or damaged clock cards excuses
The fact that biometric clocking terminals don’t need punch cards makes it impossible for the employee to use the classic “lost card” excuse.
Not to mention the fact that some employees actually lose their punch cards, which wastes company time. The use of biometric clocking terminals will make it easier for your employees to clock in and out while making it easier for you to accurately track how much time they spent working.
The bottom line
Biometrics are the future of time-tracking, so ditch your old punch card system and give your company a much-deserved upgrade.
It may seem costly, but when you compare the few hundred dollars you’ll spend on a new terminal to the thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that you lose to attendance fraud every year, you’ll quickly realize that upgrading your system is the cost-effective path.
As we all know, time is money, so stop reading this article and go buy a biometric terminal right now! You’ll thank us later.