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How to Avoid Time Theft

Posted by Stacey Jones


Apr 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

How-to-Avoid-Time-TheftTime theft in the workplace cannot only affect productivity, but your company’s profitability as well. When your employees waste time while they’re on the clock and being paid, they’re committing time theft. Your workers may be stealing time deliberately or they may not be aware that they’re doing so. Either way, it can affect your bottom line. To find out more about the problem, and to try to eliminate it, consider using these tips.

Types of Time Theft

Your employees can steal time in a variety of ways. Time card theft occurs if an employee has a co-worker punch him in earlier than he showed up to work or punch him out later than he left, or it can occur if a worker lies about the hours he’s worked on a time sheet.

Your breaks are likely timed—15 minutes in the morning and the afternoon and half an hour or an hour for lunch. When employees are over-extending their breaks or they are taking more breaks than allowed per shift, they’re also stealing time.

Taking excessive personal time during the day, like making personal phone calls, checking Facebook, or chatting, is also a form of time theft in the workplace.

Biometric Devices

One way to avoid time card theft is to use biometric time and attendance systems, such as fingerprint scanners, that can ensure that an employee is the only one who can clock in and out for himself, so he can’t have a buddy do it.

Time and Attendance Software

If biometric devices are a little out of your comfort zone, then consider using software that can more accurately monitor your workers’ check-in and check-out times as well as their breaks. With this type of software, you can integrate your punch clock hardware with payroll and attendance processing so monitoring can be done automatically and seamlessly.


Sometimes, all it takes is a little communication to prevent time theft. When you’re clear and honest about your expectation and your company’s policies as to what is allowed in terms of personal time, phone calls, breaks, and internet usage, your employees will better understand where the boundaries lie. You reduce the risk of ambiguity so every worker knows what is prohibited and what is accepted on company time.

Internet Monitoring Software

Though monitoring everything your employees do isn’t always the best route for trust and morale, sometimes it’s necessary. If you’re seeing a lot of wasted time on personal emails, social media activity and non-work browsing, you can implement internet monitoring software to track what your employees are doing while they’re on the clock. You can also block certain sites that aren’t permitted.

Promote Accountability

When your employees are more accountable for their time and work, you can prevent a lot of time theft from occurring. To do so, you can create incentive programs and help your employees create measurable goals and monitor their progress.

Lead By Example

If you’re always taking personal calls at work and taking extended breaks, your staff will follow suit—assuming that it must be OK if the boss is doing it. So, if you want to prevent time theft, you must lead by example to show your employees what’s acceptable behaviour at work and what isn’t.

No Easy Task

Preventing time theft in the office is no easy task—especially if you’ve let it run rampant for a long time. To get your staff back on track to productivity, consider implementing biometric devices, time and attendance software and internet monitoring software, having open lines of communication, promoting accountability, and leading my example. 

What Are You Leaving to Chance by Handling Payroll on Your Own

Topics: Time Theft

What is Time Theft, and How to Avoid It

Posted by Stacey Jones


Oct 7, 2013 10:54:00 AM

What is Time Theft and How to Avoid ItIn tough financial times, businesses try to streamline their operations to run as inexpensively as possible. They may reduce business hours, lease less property, or make changes to products and services. One lesser known strategy for reducing expenses is to tackle the problem of time theft.

What is time theft?

Time theft is a worker getting paid for work they did not actually do, and it costs Canadian businesses as much as $5 billion per year. As you can imagine, time theft has a big impact on the financial success of businesses, and it could be hurting yours.

Let's take a look at some of the ways time theft could be eroding your company’s profits.

1. A faulty "punch card" system.

Employers have different ways of clocking their employees' hours, and sometimes employees figure out how to manipulate the system so it looks like they're working more than they actually are. This happens when employees "punch in" for each other or find a way to clock in remotely. If you feel that there are inefficiencies or "holes" in the way you track employee hours, take a close look at your system. Your bottom line could be severely affected by this form of time theft.

2. Personal time on the phone.

Everyone has to make personal phone calls from time to time, and sometimes it's necessary to handle personal matters during business hours. Every employer understands this. But when employees make a habit of spending time on personal phone calls while they're supposed to be working, they are committing time theft. In essence, you are paying them to handle their personal lives instead of paying them to complete the work they agreed to. Review your company's policies about personal phone time, and inform employees that they must abide by these policies.

3. Tardiness, long breaks, and leaving early.

This form of time theft is not as common for hourly employees, but it's not uncommon with salaried workers. When employees stretch a 30-minute break to 45 minutes, and when they come in late or leave early, they are stealing from your company. If this is a chronic problem in your company, re-evaluate your procedures for managing your employees' time on the job. Does a supervisor need to pay more attention to break times? Do you need to schedule early morning meetings to hold employees accountable for arriving on time?

4. Non-work computer usage.

The Internet is a minefield of distractions, and it's all too easy for employees to let their attention stray away from their work while they're on the computer. There are many things you can do to help your employees avoid this time theft temptation. Turn computer screens toward a public area so anyone walking by can see what's on the screen. Instruct your system administrator to block social media sites and YouTube. During your training and instructional meetings, remind employees that their work computers are for just that: work. And help them to develop good work habits and standards for themselves that will help them to be more productive employees.

By paying attention to time theft and how it affects your company's productivity, you can save money and improve your employees' work. For more information about time theft, or to discuss other human resource and payroll issues, contact us at The Payroll Edge. Our payroll experts can help you to find solutions to your problems.

What Are You Leaving to Chance by Handling Payroll on Your Own

Topics: Payroll Service Provider, Canadian Payroll, Canadian Payroll Service, hire payroll service, Best Payroll Calculator, human resources, Employee Policies, Temporary Staff Agency, Temporary Workers, Time Theft, Human Resources Issues

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