When implementing any Time & Attendance system one of the biggest issues is getting employees to consistently clock in and out. It’s usually not that they don’t want to. It’s just that we all tend to forget to clock in or out from time to time. Especially when we are changing work locations and using mobile time clocks to register our hours.

How to prevent employees from forgetting to clock in and out?

However, forgetting to clock in and out may also be very convenient for employees who tend to be tardy or leave work early. This way they can cover up being late and even get paid for the time when they were not at work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a federal law that regulates compensation for employees. Under the FLSA, the employer cannot penalize an employee who fails to clock in by reducing their wage. FLSA requires the employer to pay their employees for all hours worked, even if the time card doesn’t reflect those hours. It is the employers’ responsibility to figure out how much employees work and how much they owe them.

So this means that forgetful employees are your problem. How can you solve it?  

Create a policy for your Employee Handbook

While it is hard to immediately fix any issues that you are having with missed clockings, implementing the right policies and communicating them effectively is a great start.

When drafting a policy for your Employee Handbook, make sure to include the following:

  • Where, when, and how workers should clock in/out. Include a reminder for your employees that you expect them to clock in and out regularly.
  • The protocol for reporting and correcting missing clockings.
  • How you will respond to repeated errors. Include a clear outline of the progressive disciplinary action in case of repeated failure to follow procedures (from verbal warnings, written warnings, probation, suspension, and up to a termination, if there are a certain number of violations over a set period of time). Your disciplinary policy should reflect your authority to use these actions.

Following what you have in writing in your Employee Handbook is the only way you can prevent a lawsuit for unfair practices.

How to prevent employees from forgetting to clock in and out?

Follow the policy through consistently

When it comes to discipline, you shouldn’t play favourites or show preferential treatment in following the procedures. Whether you believe that a particular missed clocking from an employee is truly a mistake or whether you suspect them of time theft, you need to follow the same line of action every time.

You must simply apply the policy to each and every employee, no matter their performance, job title or history. This way you will send a clear message that noncompliance will not be tolerated. Otherwise employees will not take you seriously. This can harm the effectiveness of the policy and even has devastating consequences in the case of litigation.

Most of the errors are usually really just mistakes, so you shouldn’t go hard from the very beginning. But you should be consistent. When an employee forgets to clock in for the first time, you should meet with them and review the policy and procedures for clocking in. This way you can make sure they understand them. When an employee misses another clocking, proceed with the verbal warning.

If errors keep repeating, usually the next step are written warnings. When an employee accumulates the maximum number of written warnings for failing to clock, you can proceed by applying more serious disciplinary actions.

When properly introducing and communicating time clock policies most employees should not reach this point, however, you should be prepared.

How to prevent employees from forgetting to clock in and out?

Choose a user-friendly way of clocking with notifications

When errors just keep repeating no matter the warnings, and you are quite sure your employees are not trying to cheat you, it is time to consider whether the main problem lies in your clocking system. Let’s be real – when you are frustrated and your employees are frustrated and even your HR department is frustrated, you probably need to switch to a different tool.

To avoid this from the start, make sure you do proper research before deciding which time clock suits your needs best.

Modern online clocking applications like All Hours are trying hard to help you address the potential problem of employees forgetting to clock in and out. In the age of smartphones and mobile notifications, remembering to clock in and out really shouldn’t be something that employees need to think about every day.

This is why All Hours uses notifications to reminds employees to clock in and out and also reminds them when their lunch break is coming to an end. If they still miss a clocking, they can enter it themselves through the mobile app later and the clocking gets automatically sent to an administrator for approval. We put a lot of effort in building a smart clocking app, which will take the frustration of forgotten clockings away from everyone involved.


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