Could Your Employees Be Time Thieves?

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Published: 31st August 2012
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A nationwide survey by Michael G. Kessler & Associates of over 500 employees across the nation showed as many as 87% of all employees had falsified their time sheets at least one time. When considering the monetary ramifications on businesses which have employees falsifying records, it is soon realized employees steeling time becomes extremely costly.

Why Employees May Steal from Employers

There are a number of reasons employees justify stealing from their employers. With hard economic times, some employees steal out of a need for extra money to pay their bills. Others may simply be greedy and see an easy way to net a few more dollars. Some employees may do it as a way to get even with a company or boss they feel is not treating them fairly. Other employees simply are not paying attention to the personal things they do at work and are completely unaware they are stealing time from their employees. The Universities of Illinois and Southern California have research that shows that paying a higher salary to employees increases the level of honesty. However, many businesses simply do not have the capital to give an across the board raise to discourage dishonesty.

Popular Ways Time is Stolen by Employees

Arriving late
Working overtime without authorization
Taking unauthorized breaks longer
Spending time on the computer for personal use
Socializing with other workers rather than working
Taking excessively long lunches
Making calls of a personal nature while on the clock
Frequent texting while at work
Punching the clock for another employee
Leaving the office early

Clear Policies Can Help

When an employer implements clear and precise policies & procedures, it helps deter employee time theft. Having a written policy that is reviewed with each employee individually and requiring the employee to sign the policy as a pre-requisite prior to time of hire can help put a lid on employee time theft. Outlining the company rules for clocking in and out, making phone calls, internet use, and breaks helps the employees understand what is expected of them. Being a reasonable employer and allowing for emergencies should be part of the stated policy. Including specific consequences for failing to follow the company policy is also necessary.

Benefits of Time and Attendance Software

Many companies are utilizing time and attendance systems to help track time that employees spend at work. This type of software can help to track overtime and determine whether or not it is necessary. Additionally, time & attendance software can help to reduce the number of employees that are late and help to improve employee-employer relations. Time & attendance software can also save money by eliminating the need for time cards and reducing the time it takes to process payroll. Further, a time & attendance system can automatically collect and manage data for sick leave and vacation hours, eliminating manually tracking.

By being aware of the possibility of time theft by employees, an employer can take the steps necessary to counteract this problem and save your company money.

Christine Smith is Marketing Coordinator for Gatekeeper Business Solutions, Inc. Gatekeeper Business Solutions, Inc. specializes in a proprietary suite of software tools (LMS) that includes time and attendance, scheduling, and integrated payroll processing for midlevel private and public sector companies. To learn more, visit

This article is intended for informational purposes only. Gatekeeper Business Solutions, Inc., nor Christine Smith, accepts liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. For specific wage and labor laws contact the U.S. Department of Labor as well as your State Department of Labor.

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