Buddy punching is a common type of ‘time theft’ in the workplace. Time theft happens when an employee gets complete pay even when they are not working with complete hours. For example, an employee asks a coworker to punch for him to avoid being late or going over break. It is called ‘buddy punching’ because it requires a buddy or a coworker to commit this kind of ‘time theft’.
Time theft costs employers millions, even billions of dollars annually. This is a frustrating issue for employers, especially large company owners. It is like solving a fraud issue. Some employees even push overtime in their time card even if they are not in the office the entire day. Aside from reduced productivity, time theft also puts a business at risk because of shared information between employees practicing time theft.
How Does Buddy Punching Work?
This occurs when an employee asks his closest buddy to time in for him. It means sharing login credentials. Some employees say that they are just looking out for each other. It sounds good to be true, it is just the wrong way to look out for a coworker.
In most companies, being late can mean a lot of things. Excessive late can lead to termination. Several late in a month can mean losing a bonus or an incentive. Instead of losing incentives or a job, employees will just ask their coworkers for a flavor such as logging in or out for them.
To Get Monetary Rewards Associated with Perfect Attendance
Some companies reward employees for punctuality. It means having zero tardiness and perfect attendance. Though it is a good sign that you have great employees, it is also a sign that of possible time theft. Unless you have a great biometric fingerprint technology to record your employees’ perfect attendance, you might want to double-check their time card.
Asking a friend to log you out is also a good way to earn more without extending your stay at the office. Two or more people can collaborate on this scheme. In a group, they only need one to stay for the extra hours. They can do it in rotation. One will stay and punch out everyone after three or for hours and no one would even know! Everyone gets paid for an extra four hours every day.
For some employees, an hour break is not enough. This is where buddy punching comes in. This happens to companies who are using manual job tracker. With time clock software, this can be avoided because every activity is recorded, including the time it took to complete each activity.
To Attend to Personal Matters while At Work
Some employees come in, punch in and work for a few hours. After a few hours, they leave their desk and step out to attend to their agendas. When it is time to punch out, a coworker will just do it for them, so they no longer need to come back. If you have a biometric time clock, this is something that your employees cannot do.
Most companies issue a ‘notice to explain’ to employees that are constantly late. Some call it a ‘show-cause document’ that is included in an employee’s file. An employee who is aspiring to apply for a higher position should not have any ‘notice to explain’ memo to be eligible. Employees with a negative attitude towards work or their boss can also display an ego-centric attitude. They want to show their power, and they do it by coming in late but ensuring that their time card is perfect, so is their pay. Oftentimes, they brag on how they cheat their company and get away with it without being punished.
To Increase Self-Esteem
An employee with a negative attitude towards work thinks that practices such as a time theft mean ‘power’. It increases their self-esteem and how they perceive themselves. They think they can play with company rules and policies and still get paid, making them feel more powerful and confident. On the part of the coworker who does the buddy punching, it is a way to gain favor in the future. It is like saying ‘I will buddy punch you now, but you have to do it for me if I need to’ in the future.
Some employees would want to avoid misunderstandings with coworkers hence if someone makes a request, they do it. To maintain a harmonious relationship, they just let their cheating coworkers get away with time theft.
Can companies prevent time theft, especially buddy punching? Yes!
This practice can be prevented with technology. Biometric fingerprint technology can help you track your employees’ whereabouts. Aside from tracking their real-time location, you can use biometric software to record their exact time in and out using their unique fingerprints. This means that no one can buddy punch for someone else.
Aside from using biometric fingerprint technology to prevent this negative practice, providing a clear written policy about time theft such as logging in or out for someone also helps. A zero-tolerance policy can be used to address the issue head-on. Do not drop names, just ensure that the new policy gets cascaded to the entire company successfully.
What to Look for In A Biometric Fingerprint Technology
If you are looking for a biometric fingerprint technology to trust, you should look for the following features:
– software that is easy to use
– software that is secure with at least 128-bit encryption
– software from a company that offers round the clock support
– software that can track your employees’ worked hours
– software that is accessible anywhere you are
– software that can detect where your employees are punching in or out
Buddy punching has been plaguing small and large companies for years. Studies have shown how it causes significant financial loss. Studies have also shown how the right technology like biometric fingerprint technology can reduce time theft exercises and time theft among employees. Along with stricter company policy and changes in company culture, you can combat buddy punching and avoid paying your employees for time they didn’t work.
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