Employers have always faced challenges when it comes to employee attendance and time tracking. Making sure your employees are where they need to be, and working, can be a struggle if you don’t trust the timekeeping methods you are using. Paper time punching can have many errors, and there is a risk of “buddy punching”. This practice, where one worker clocks in for another, can be a big problem in some businesses, and paper methods of timekeeping, or a swiped card may not be effective enough. If you want the most advanced way of tracking your employees’ time, and eliminating time theft, you need to consider biometrics.


What are biometrics? Biometric time clocks use unique physical characteristics to uniquely identify a person. They used to be the stuff of sci-fi, or James Bond movies, but now are a very accessible and useful technology. Identification through biometrics is accurate, secure, and user-friendly. The most common form of biometric time clocks use fingerprint technology to recognize each unique worker, and punch them in only when they are physically there. A fingerprint scanner ensures that your employee really was physically present when they punched in, and that they didn’t somehow beat the system with a buddy punch. When you utilize biometric identification for time punching in your business, your workers are signing in with credentials that cannot be lost, forgotten, guessed, or easily duplicated. Using biometrics results in less time theft.

Time Theft

Time theft is an increasing problem in many workplaces. While nothing physical is being stolen, the theft of time can be extremely costly to a business. If your employees are being paid for hours they are not working, your company’s time is being stolen.

As mentioned earlier, buddy punching is one of the most common forms of time theft.  An American Payroll Association study found that over 75 percent of companies lose money from buddy punching, and employees reported stealing roughly 4.5 hours a week, which is the equivalent of six weeks vacation! These are just the statistics of those workers who were admitting to buddy punching, and there are probably many more unreported lost hours.

Another form of time theft is found in the false punch, where time is tracked using a password or personal identification number based system. Passwords, PINs, and ID cards can all be easily shared, and a punch can be made on one worker’s behalf by another worker with this information. A false punch can indicate a worker was present who was not, and result in lost hours of productivity.

If you are still using a paper-based punch system, your employees may be tempted to fudge their time, or round up to the nearest hour. Think of how these extra minutes can easily add up into hours that you pay your employees for work that wasn’t done. 

Lunch breaks are another opportunity for time theft. A 30 minute lunch break can regularly become a 45 minute one, and if this happens every workday, an hour and fifteen minutes of work are lost each week. Smoke breaks are also a place where time theft occurs, and a study by Ohio State University found that each smoker costs employers more than $5,816 than non-smokers, due to breaks and lost productivity.

Time cards, while they can be a great solution for some businesses, can also be abused and lead to time theft. If your employees don’t want their time to be tracked, a time card malfunction is an excuse to avoid tracking. Saying the machine wouldn’t take your card, you swiped your card but it must not have read it, or that you forgot your card, are all excuses that make it hard to know if your employees were really working the correct number of hours.

There are many ways that employees can steal time, and that theft affects a business’s’ bottom line. Whether your business needs to eliminate buddy punching, punching in earlier or later than scheduled, or employees inflating their hours, you need to find a solution that works and is easy to implement. This is where biometrics come in.

How Biometrics Help

Biometrics use facial recognition, fingerprint tracking, or vein-pattern scanning to uniquely identify workers and instantly record their attendance. Fingerprint tracking is the most common, and you will never lose or forget your fingerprint—it is always with you. You cannot share your fingerprint with coworkers like you can share a keycard, PIN, or password. The convenience of using biometrics makes it easy to implement them in any business. Biometrics can improve workforce productivity by decreasing the time spent on manually keeping track of time and attendance records, and can lower your staffing costs if you are spending money on older time tracking methods. Biometrics can save you all of that money lost through false punches, or inflated hours worked. That is money that can go back into your business. You will also save time and money through eliminating the IT problems that come with lost swipe cards and passwords. A biometric timekeeping system makes it so easy for employees to clock in and out, and provides easily accessible reports of your employees time.

There are also benefits to the employee. They no longer need to be responsible for tracking their hours, and possibly underestimating how much they are working. Biometrics can streamline a business’s payroll system and result in employees getting paid sooner. Once employees see how easy a biometric system is, there won’t be much resistance to implementing it.

So if you are looking for a solution that will effectively track time and eliminate time theft, Timeco offers online employee biometric time clocks that can help. Biometrics take the guesswork out of payroll, and accurately track each employee based on their unique, unshareable characteristics. If you want to be confident that you are paying your employees for exactly the hours they work, biometrics are the answer. Don’t let your company’s precious time be stolen—let us demo our biometric solutions for you today!