The concept of buddy punching is nothing new, as any labor management services professional can no doubt attest. It is nothing more than one employee asking a coworker to clock in or out for him, earning him or her pay for more time than he or she actually worked and helping avoid penalties for showing up late, leaving early, and so on.
In short, it is cheating. Employers are paying for man hours that no one is working. There are any number of reasons why employees may engage in such activity.
Perhaps they are late or have to leave early for family concerns (dropping off kids and picking them up, for example). Maybe they have no sick leave or vacation time left to use and they don’t want to risk a write-up or firing for missing additional time. Perhaps they just don’t feel like working.
The reasons may or may not matter to employers. In all honesty, there is truly no valid excuse for an employee to receive compensation for hours he or she did not actually work. While you may have attributed any practice of ‘buddy punching’ as merely the cost of doing business, that isn’t the case anymore. The good news is that the right human resources software can help to eliminate buddy punching and thereby stop rewarding employees for cheating the system.
In order to stop and prevent the occurrence of buddy punching, you first have to know that it’s happening. The right HR analytics software can help you here by tracking employee times and calculating discrepancies. Some programs include analytical features that automatically note suspicious activity.
When paired with surveillance, this information allows companies to confront suspected buddy punchers in order to deal with the issue. However, there is an easier solution that will actually help to prevent such occurrences in the first place.
Many companies have already left antiquated punch cards behind in favor of digital clocking systems, which utilize personalized numeric codes or key cards that allow hourly employees to clock in and out. These systems can still be abused by buddy punchers, though.
If you find that you have a serious problem with buddy punching, consider upgrading to a biometric time and attendance system. These systems rely on fingerprint, hand, or retinal scanners, or alternately, facial recognition for clocking in and out, which means they can’t be faked.
Zero Tolerance Policy
Although there’s little chance employees will get around biometric systems, you can reinforce your position on buddy punching by implementing a zero tolerance policy, whereby instances of this activity will result in automatic firing for both parties involved.