Buddy punching and other forms of employee time theft cost businesses thousands of dollars each pay period – and many businesses don’t even know they’re losing money!

What is time theft?

Time theft is a huge, but hidden, problem across virtually all industries. The most basic definition is any instance of an employee accepting payment for time they didn’t actually work.

This can take many forms:

  • Buddy punching (when one employee clocks in for another employee who isn’t actually at work)
  • Inaccurate timesheets (saying they left at 5 when they left at 4:50)
  • Completing personal tasks at work (personal calls, social media surfing, or even running another business)

Let’s Talk Statistics

A 2013 study by the American Payroll Association estimated that the average employee ‘steals’ approximately 53 minutes a day (or about 4.5 hours a week!). These minutes often come in small forms—leaving a bit early or taking a slightly longer lunch—but they add up to BIG losses.

Let’s assume you pay your employees every two weeks, and they steal an average of 9 hours during each pay period. The table below shows how much money you’re losing each and every time you cut checks.

Want to see how much your company might be losing? Check out our payroll savings calculator. It factors in estimated time theft, as well as other factors caused by inefficient time tracking.

How to Prevent Time Theft and Stop Buddy Punching

Depending on the severity of time theft in your company, you have a number of options for dealing with it.

Clearly Explain Consequences for Improper Use of Company Time

Having a disciplinary plan in place is often enough to dissuade employees from stealing a few minutes here and there or doing personal tasks on company time. This can range from verbal or written warnings to suspensions and even termination for more serious cases.

Explore Time Theft Laws in Your State

For extreme cases, it might be worth investigating legal action. If a single employee has intentionally stolen large amounts of money from the company through time theft, you may be able to recoup some of those losses.

Invest in More Efficient Solutions

By far the best way to eliminate time theft is by implementing systems that make it nearly impossible for employees to waste or steal company time.

Whether it’s creating new, clearer policies or shoring up areas of your company that are easy to take advantage of, even small changes can add up to big savings.

  • Get rid of swipe cards and paper timesheets! Time clock apps prevent employees from rounding off minutes when they’re late or from “forgetting” their swipe cards at home.
  • Implement biometrics like ExakTime’s FaceFront biometric photo verification, an easy way to prevent buddy punching.
  • Keep track of your worker’s location. GPS tracking/geofencing prevents employees from accepting pay when they are not where they say they are.

ExakTime Can Help You Put an End to Employee Time Theft

If you’re tired of spending money on labor you’re not actually getting, contact us today. Our time clock app has several features to help protect your payroll.

Our solutions collect 100% accurate time and attendance data that’s available to management instantly via ExakTime Connect, our web-based time tracking software. That means no more disputes about time and no more fudged timesheets.

Ready to learn more? Fill out our form and we’ll find a custom-tailored time tracking solution to help you eliminate time theft and stop losing money every pay period.