Why Automate Your Time Tracking?

As part of my job, I regularly review news alerts related to wage and hour issues, looking for interesting stories to pass along to you. As a result, I read about the results of a lot of lawsuits brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Over time, I’ve noticed trends — certain themes that occur over and over.

For instance, one trend I’ve noticed is employers being found guilty of inadequate record keeping and failure to accurately record employee time worked. Unfortunately, these failures end up costing them money… often quite a lot of money. Sometimes it even costs them their business.

It seems a distressing number of employers out there are still tracking time by the “seat of the pants” method. Unfortunately for them, when it comes to recording time and attendance and paying eligible employees’ overtime, “best guess” won’t cut it. It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law: your records need to be accurate and complete.

Fortunately, nowadays reliable, accurate time tracking isn’t hard — or expensive. In fact, if you’re currently using manual timesheets or paper timecards, you will almost certainly find that upgrading to an automated time and attendance system actually saves you money… often a lot of money.

Depending on your needs, you could get started with an automated computer-based system for an investment of less than $100. And in return, you get:

  • Accurate records that will help protect your business from costly penalties and fines in the event of a lawsuit or wage and hour audit.
  • Better control over your labor costs, including overtime. Many automated systems offer a variety of reports to help you identify impending overtime and accurately track employee time worked on a daily basis.
  • Virtual elimination of clerical errors from manually adding timesheets or keying time worked to your payroll system. These systems automatically total time worked and can export data directly to most popular payroll software and services.
  • Money and time saved on payroll preparation. The elimination of manual calculations and data entry can save you hours on payroll processing — time you can use toward more productive tasks.

When I lay it all out like that, it’s hard for me to understand why everybody doesn’t use an automated time and attendance system. 🙂

So, do you use handwritten timesheets or paper time cards to record employee time? Or do you simply rely on guesswork and estimates of time worked? If so, I’m curious: why? What factors are stopping you from implementing a time and attendance system?

3 Comments

  1. Terra says:

    You’re very right! At a former company, there were huge violations that were never reported. They refused to pay overtime and even asked us to voluntarily give up our vacation hours because they didn’t think we’d been working. The situation was beyond not legal. I think the more we get this information out there, the more both employers and employees will know about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace (not to mention attendance system alternatives). 🙂

  2. David Young says:

    Automated time clocks can be a life saver, especially for the payroll department. With online and digital data, time cards are a thing of the past, and the human error factor decreases.

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