Time and Attendance Tracking and Compensation
How do you know how much work your employees are doing? Do they clock in and out? Do they sign a register? This is an age-old way of knowing just how many hours your employees are actually working and is the main means of determining how each employee should be recompensed.
This is one of the most important duties for the HR department, and in this article, we will go over everything you need to know about how time and attendance tracking works in offices across the world.
General Definition of Time and Attendance
In general terms, time and attendance refers to the practice of keeping track of the hours worked by each of the employees in a particular office, as well as how these hours have been distributed throughout the day.
This usually includes the hours spent in the office between signing in and out, overtime, breaks, as well as contractual hours that have not yet been completed, for whatever reason. Having this data at hand helps you understand just how productive the employee in question has been.
Role of HR in Determining Time and Attendance
It is the job of the HR department to keep a firm hand on employee attendance tracking. But why is this? Why is it the duty of Human resources to perform attendance tracking? Well, though the work itself might seem like it does not have much to do with HR, everything that is dependent on the data you receive falls under your purview. Let us find out why:
First and foremost is the question of wages. Regardless of whether your employees are paid on the basis of a fixed salary or hourly wages, it is still determined by the number of hours they work. If you don’t keep track of how much work everyone is doing, then you won’t know how everyone should be paid. This counts especially when considering overtime payments.
If you don’t stay on top of your time attendance system, and if some employees are not paid properly, then those employees have grounds for suing the company. That is not something you want at all.
Depending on the data you have, it will be clear to you who is putting in the hours and who is not. Depending on the level of performance and efficiency, it will help you realize who is cut out for more responsibility.
Playing off of the previous point, this will also allow you to see if you need to hire or fore some people, whether you ought to shuffle some tasks around, so everyone has something to work on, etc.
Knowledge about whether employees have been coming to work regularly and how many days off they are taking helps you keep track of their leave days. Employees are allowed a specific number of paid leaves per month, and keeping track of this again relates to payroll.
Employees are entitled to breaks during their work shifts. Lunch, coffee, etc., whatever the case may be, denial of these breaks can be against the law in certain states. So, make sure everyone is getting the breaks they need and deserve in order to avoid legal action.
By efficient time tracking, you will notice who is arriving on time or punching in late. With the data firmly in hand, you will be able to reward and admonish punctuality and tardiness respectively as you see fit.
The federal employer mandate requires employers to provide health benefits only if they have fifty or more employees who work full-time or full-time equivalent. The distinction of whether an employee is a full-time worker or not depends, you guessed it, on the number of hours they work.
In the event that you are a small business, providing healthcare benefits will net you a tax credit equal to half the premiums you pay. Whether you are eligible for this benefit depends on the number of hours of work your employees do.
As you can see from the sheer number of reasons, time and attendance tracking are important for the HR department to handle. It dictates the well-being and satisfaction of the employees and the proper functioning of the office as a whole. As an HR manager, this demands your utmost attention and analysis to make sure everything stays in top working order.
The Legality of Time and Attendance
In a strictly legal sense, time and attendance involve tracking working hours. No matter where you are in the world, that part will never change. What does change, however, are the laws surrounding the process of time and attendance tracking. Every country has different rules and laws that govern the number of mandatory working hours for any employee.
Since this is the building block of everything we discussed in the previous section, it pays to be aware of what the legalities are in your part of the world and, indeed, in your part of the country. The coronavirus pandemic has opened the door for remote workers to work across international borders. They might have expectations based on laws in their home country. You need to know what these are in order to engage them properly.
Benefits of Using Tracking Systems
There are several benefits tied to tracking time and attendance that can be observed at the workplace. In this section, we will discuss a few of them in brief:
1. Save on Time and Money
By simply automating and integrating a time and attendance tracking system into your HR toolkit, you will dramatically reduce costs you would otherwise spend on data entry, data collection, and management. Every time there is a new hire, their details can be transferred automatically, and the system will make sure to integrate that with payroll.
2. Productivity Gains
Despite the workforce getting salaries and wages, tracking the hours of work will help you, the HR manager, gauge the productivity of your employees. By charting the hours of peak performance, you can reward them accordingly and help put in measures that allow the rest of your workforce to increase their output to match a similar intensity.
3. Error Reduction
Manual tracking - rather, doing anything manually - makes the process prone to human error. By automating the process and linking time and attendance directly to payroll, you don’t have to transfer one set of data to somewhere else. The software takes care of everything for you, eliminating the risk of human error completely.
4. Improved Employee Morale
Playing off of the last point, what do you think will happen if an employee puts in the time and effort, only for an error on your end to stop them from getting paid? Yes, mistakes can happen, but then you have to bridge the gap of broken trust with your employees. Automating the process makes paying them efficient and easy, thereby improving employee morale and motivation.
5. Greater Empowerment of Employees
The integration will allow you to share time and attendance data. Any time you can give the employees access to their own data, doing so is always a good thing. When they see the hours they have worked, employees can feel more connected to the company and thus more empowered. This leads to them feeling a sort of pride in accomplishing things and keeps them accountable - which is again a very good thing.
6. Easier Scheduling
Automating the tracking system can allow HR managers to see how much an employee has worked, whether they are taking enough breaks, how much time off they have taken, etc. All of this together allows you to make better decisions when it comes to making shifts and working schedules, as well as see if all the labor requirements are being met.
7. Timesheet Approval
Timesheet approval usually takes a lot of time because it requires several managers to give the approval for a timesheet. Tracking them down and getting the approvals can be a pain. If you automate the process, not only will approvals be automatically given, but you will save enough time that you will be able to dedicate it to other important tasks.
8. Integrated Schedules
Another benefit of integrating the time and attendance tracking systems into your HR toolkit is that you can see at a glance who is coming late to work and leaving early. His data would otherwise be hard to get a hold of had the tracking systems not been integrated. But now that you can access these schedules, you can also make the decisions you need to achieve the goals you desire.
9. Alert Employees About Leaves
You don’t want to burden your employees with any system that requires them to learn complex machine handling. When it comes to time and attendance, they should do the absolute minimum - just logging in and out. On top of this, the system should keep them apprised of how much leave they are taking and alert them when leave days are on the verge of running out. This will keep them motivated and alert.
10. Improved Work and Life Balance
With the help of integrated scheduling, it will be possible for HR managers to see just how many hours each employee is working. If you notice that a particular employee is working too many long hours, then you can create a shift for them where they don’t work as many hours. This will help them achieve a better work-life balance - with your help.
11. Flexible Options for Clocking-In
You should strive to make the process of clocking in as simple and as flexible as possible. Allow them to check-in from their phones, or from multiple computers at the office, or from any other source. Stringent rules about signing in from only a specific place are bound to make it sound like a chore, and that is definitely something you don’t want to do.
12. Automatic Documentation
All the hours that an employee works are recorded automatically, removing human error from the equation. Whether someone is slacking off or not is available for all to see, and the documentation can later be accessed for reprimands as and when needed. This makes it a very important tool for disciplining your workforce and keeping them in check.
13. Custom Payroll Reports
Because all your data is integrated and easily accessible, you can easily generate a custom payroll report any time you want. There is no hassle of manually writing down everything and creating a report that way. With no possible source of human errors, all your reports will be perfectly made and ready to go.
Disadvantages of Using Time and Attendance Tracking Systems
Of course, nothing under the sun is all glitter and rainbows. Many good things come with automating and integrating a time and attendance tracking system, but there are a few drawbacks. In this section, we shall be taking a look at what these are and how you can manage each one:
Software is software, at the end of the day. It will fall victim to glitches and bugs, just like any other program. You can get around this by doing regular maintenance checks and fixing bugs as they come up. Invest in proper IT and keep in direct contact with the company you get the software from. They release patches that you can download for free from time to time that fix the bugs.
There is a hefty price tag attached to this software. Sure, doing it manually takes a lot of time and effort, but it doesn't require a monthly subscription. Before buying or subscribing to one, make sure you know what your budget is. Strive to find a service that is well within your limits so as not to break your bank.
Incidental costs also go up. Manual bookkeeping can be done without the need for proper WiFi or spotty power. However, as soon as you automate, the need for good internet and electricity becomes paramount. These are all things you need to consider before you go ahead and get something that works for you and the company as a whole.
The biggest roadblock on your way to properly integrating technology like this is resistance from the staff themselves. Humans are highly resistant to change, and there will be many folks who will not like the changes you are making to the company. These people require proper convincing and training to be able to let go of their biases and see the many positives that this suite of software can bring to their lives.
Software Solutions for Tracking Time and Attendance
While on the lookout for possible software solutions for tracking systems, you will find a lot of them that look good. Of course, there is no substitute for proper research, but we’d like to provide you with a few suggestions to help you get started. So, in this section, we offer our recommendations for the best time and attendance software you will find:
With Lanteria’s time and attendance capabilities, HR managers receive a comprehensive analysis of the time employees spend on specific projects and tasks - as well as overall working time. Employees get access to a self-service area in which they can request vacation or time-off, streamlining communications. Save time and money, access files on the go, and manage absences even in an international company with multiple offices.
Rippling not only takes care of time and attendance tracking but also doubles as payroll software! Plus, it is indeed top of the line. It integrates seamlessly and gives you a payroll report in two minutes or less. To top it off, being a cluster of services, you can opt for one or the other. Prices are flexible depending on what you decide to get for yourself. What’s not to love?
This software fits in well with companies where your employees are coming and going all the time. Construction, insurance, sales, etc., are the industries where this shines. True, there is a lot of software that allows your employees to check-in remotely, but OnTheClock allows you to see exactly where they are at what time. This knowledge is sure to stop them from goofing off.
TSheets sells itself on reliability. It allows your employees to log in from mobile devices, and it keeps track of time even in the absence of mobile data or WiFI. It allows you to put up a geofence around your worksite and make sure your employees are where they should be during work hours. You can try it out for a two-week trial to see if it fits your workplace.
This software was designed to be used by large corporations. They have a lot of different kinds of clock-in options on offer - barcode, biometric, magnetic swipe, PIN entry, proximity, and web clocks are all things you can get from them. On top of this, it also doubles as a security feature for doors and certain equipment, stopping unauthorized access in its tracks. With more than thirty years of experience providing clocking-in services to businesses, you can trust them completely.
If you are a smaller business, then you can hardly do better Strarustime. It is simple, and that is what makes it so effective. It allows employees to clock in, clock out, and request leave. It is incredibly intuitive and can scale up as your company grows. It can also integrate with more than sixty different HR dashboards, making it a very versatile and powerful tool to invest in. There are no long-term contracts to lock you in, allowing you to cancel at any time.
Kronos has everything a medium-sized company could ask for from a time and attendance tracking software and then some! It goes above and beyond to deliver such perks as workforce management tools, employee scheduling, absence management, labor activities, and analytics tools. Depending on the business you are in, they can offer specialized suites of software to match your needs. Whether it be retail, healthcare, banking, or government, they have something for you.
uAttend is aimed at very small businesses and startups. Though it is light and affordable, it does not skimp out on features. On the dashboard, you can tell at a glance who’s working and who hasn’t checked in yet. It is web-based, meaning you don’t have to download anything. It can also be accessed anywhere - phone, tablet, computer. Even if you are at home, you will be able to tell who is doing what through this app. While it does require a subscription, the prices are transparent. For up to 9 employees, it costs only 20 USD per month.
This software is one we would recommend for businesses that are on the cusp of growth. You can get a wide variety of solutions from them, and they are all customizable. For example, you can get a physical clock, a mobile app, tools that allow employees to serve themselves, or a mix and match of all of these. Setting this up is also quite simple. Plus, they also provide a bunch of training tools to help both your employees and staff get the hang of it.
Lanteria - Your #1 Solution for Tracking Time and Attendance
To manage the time and attendance of your workforce is to maintain the lifeblood of your company. Without doing that, compensation and benefits cannot be given out properly. Plus, any failure on your end to do so will result in litigation, so that is even more reason to stay prompt with compensation based on time and attendance tracking.
However, there is no denying the fact that this is hard work, and it is a lot of work to manage. If you decide to go with automation, consider using Lanteria for your time and attendance tracking needs. As mentioned above, this suite of features offers everything you need to set up time and attendance management. Our experience speaks for itself, and if you are going to get help, you might as well get it from the best in the business! We are always eager to help, so reach out today for a free demo!