Everything You Need to Know About Biometric Time Clocks
The age of biometric time clocks and how this new technology can help your business reduce labor costs.
Details of Biometric Time Clocks
Biometric time clocks help businesses, with hourly employees, track time and attendance, as well as assist with HR and payroll functions.
Biometrics is the collecting and analysis of employee's physical or behavioral attributes, or biometric data. Whatever is measured, it must be unique to the person in order to identify them. The attributes that biometrics use is called an identifier. Identifiers can include fingerprints, facial scans, or iris recognition simply put, it identifies each individual.
For a biometric timekeeping system to work, data collecting hardware (like a time clock with a fingerprint scanner), time tracking software, and a storage database preferably a cloud database is required.
The device then works by collecting employee identifiers when clocking in for a shift. In addition to time tracking, biometrics can also be used for security authentication and is an effective way to verify identity. For instance, adding a biometric scanner adjacent to a back-of-house entryway to grant access to employee personnel only further secures the premise and helps prevent outside theft.
There are several types of biometric time clocks that use different identifiers to authenticate employee punch times. For example, a biometric fingerprint time clock is a system that scans fingerprints for employees to clock or out. Face recognition time clocks are also another example of a biometric time clock. These time clocks scan a 3-D image of an employee's face within seconds in order to clock in/out.
The Benefits of Biometric Time Clocks in the Workplace
There are numerous ways an employee time clock can help a workplace run smoother while also increasing productivity amongst staff members. There are a number of ways a time clock can be helpful to a business, all of which include-
Preventing Time Theft
Unfortunately, there are multiple ways employees can steal time in the workplace, especially when preventative biometric technology systems are not set in place.
With paper time cards, an attendance system that requires to manually enter the time worked leaves employees entirely in charge of inputting their start and end times, making it easier to log a time count that is not accurate or honest. These dishonest minutes can add up causing an increase in labor costs.
Another way employees steal time is through buddy punching. Buddy punching is when an employee clocks in or out for another coworker who is not present to do it themself.
By using biometric identifiers to punch in/out, buddy punching and inaccurate time logs are eliminated, saving the business tons in labor costs. This form of time clocks also pinpoints which employees need to work on their attendance, presenting opportunities for management to have that dialogue on improvement.
Improve Payroll Accuracy
The payroll process is time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone. Due to the stream of endless number logs during data entry, mistakes in math miscalculations are bound to happen.
When it comes to an attendance system, a time entry error isn't caught or corrected, this creates an inaccurate payout amount to employees sometimes over or under in the amount paid. This means the paycheck must be reissued with the correction, while also ensuring the previously cut paycheck is voided.
There's also a possibility the error could affect overtime payments. Calculating overtime bi-weekly instead of weekly, changing an employee's pay period, or calculating overtime by hand are all ways an employer can affect overtime hours. Point being, mistakes are a hassle to the employee and the employer.
If the matter goes unresolved or uncaught, the business could also face a potential lawsuit for negligence, improper recordkeeping, or failure to pay employee wages.
Imagine a large corporation with hundreds of staff members and the method of clock in/out is with a swipe card or punch card. Each employee must find their ID card and wait in line with other employees in order to clock in and out for the day and for their lunch hour, taking up valuable time in the workday.
This system works, but is it efficient? The unnecessary waiting in line may take a few minutes, but apply that to weekly shifts. By consistently using more time than necessary waiting to clock in, that time being wasted could be used towards the completion of tasks, and this results in a loss of productivity.
Instead of waiting for each employee to find their card to punch in, employees can quickly scan their fingers and be on their way. It's practical and user-friendly.
Business owners that suffer from time theft problems can use biometric time clocks for added security. Biometric time clocks are biologically unique, using fingerprints for each employee eliminates employees clocking in for one another.
Biometric systems are also used to secure doors or restricted areas by requiring key fobs or access codes for entry. A simple finger scan will increase security and keep all unauthorized personnel from entering the back of house, preventing outside theft.
How Biometric Time Clocks Sync with Timekeeping Software
By syncing time clock software with biometric identifiers, and by turning to automation, many time-consuming tasks are now streamlined into a simpler system.
Here's how it works-
- An employee clocks in with the biometric time clock.
- The clock then identifies the employee and records all of the time worked, until that same employee clocks out, either for lunch or to leave for the day.
- Timekeeping software adds the hours worked and uploads that time to the employee's virtual time card.
- At the end of a payroll period, the software imports the hours worked into the preferred payroll system.
- Breaks/meals tracking
- Paid time off, vacation hours, and sick days
- Missed clock in or out notifications
- Overtime alerts
- Customizable compliance settings
This integration also works in unison with scheduling programs. If an employee tries to clock in before a scheduled shift time, the time clock will automatically reject the clock-in attempt. This also reduces overspend on labor costs, as all employees are only working the time that was allotted.
Biometric Time and Attendance Laws
Before implementing a biometric time clock into your employee timekeeping practices, it's important to ensure all laws and regulations are being followed before doing so.
Privacy concerns may arise among staff members, as they feel that their logged identity may be misused.
Currently, Illinois, Washington, and Texas have specific laws regarding the use of biometric time clocks in the workplace. All states' rules will vary.
These laws regulate how an employer may collect, store or disclose fingerprints, facial and retina scans, or any other unique biometric information.
To be sure employers are adhering to biometric laws, business owners should research which laws apply to his or her business and what those laws require. Knowing this information, employers should then develop a policy that describes clearly and in detail how the information is stored, what it is used for, and how long it is stored for.
Businesses that operate in multiple states must take extra caution that the policies set in place adhere to each state and its specific biometric laws.