Time and attendance systems are the computerized equivalent of the paper time sheet. Day-to-day employee tasks such as scheduling employees, tracking work hours, managing project costing and calculating accrued benefit entitlements can be automated through time and attendance systems. These systems also commonly replace scheduling systems that are done on spreadsheets.
Time and attendance software systems can reduce the administrative hassles of managing paper time slips and can greatly reduce the mistakes. They are mostly needed in bigger companies with staff whose work schedules are constantly changing. They can also cut down on the biggest crime: buddy punching. (See www.timeandattendancecompare.com/What-is-buddy-punching-/ for more)
Time and attendance systems provide time tracking and schedule management capabilities including setting the break times, lunches, time off and overtime. The systems will also track late punches and show any patterns of absenteeism. Most systems also include auditing and reporting tools as well as give managers direct access to their employee data.
Who uses Time and Attendance Systems?
Companies with employees who are mostly salaried probably don’t need a time and attendance system. Companies with mostly hourly or part-time employees probably do as do companies with a mix of salaried and hourly staff.
The need for a time and attendance system often begins when a company hits about 25 employees. As the company size grows so do the system needs. Companies with more than 1,000 employees often turn go larger, more powerful systems that can create complex schedules, incorporate more advanced labor planning and can even include employees’ desired work schedules. Other more complex issues that may be required are Labor Budgeting, Labor Planning and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These more advanced features can be used in any size of company but tend to not be used until at least 100 employees and generally not until 500 plus employees
Time and labor management systems, which in fact are the same as Time and Attendance systems, (see What is the difference between Time & Attendance and Time and Labor Management), that are designed for larger companies feature more sophisticated functionality such as recording an employee’s daily work by project, job and/or location and sophisticated job costing and job planning capabilities. They also have more robust reporting tools. Job costing is invaluable to companies that need to monitor their workforce productivity or forecast their workforce needs.
How do Time and Attendance Systems work?
Employees use identification cards or a computer to punch in and out each day. Some use proximity cards which only need to be waved near a time clock reader. Magnetic stripe cards are also often used. For security purposes and to avoid buddy punching some companies use biometric input devices that check handprints or fingerprints to ensure that the correct employee is doing the punching in and out.
A growing number of companies are letting their employees enter their own information directly into the time and attendance system. They allow them to enter their vacation time, sick time and their flex-time hours.