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6 Minute Read | 3 Minute Skim

Time theft and wage fraud are more prevalent than you think

New survey reveals Canada’s time tracking habits in the workplace

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Distribution of respondents

TSheets commissioned a survey of 500 Canadian workers* to uncover prevalent time tracking habits and understand the challenges employers and employees face in capturing their hours at work.

1 in 3 salaried employees tracks time

Chart showing percent of workers who track their time. 54% are hourly employees. 30% are salaried. 14% are contract or self-employed.

How time at work is tracked

Chart of how workers in Canada track their time. 85% are required to track. 10% track time occasionally. 5% only track billable hours.

There is the notion that time tracking is wasted on salaried or contract employees since they get a fixed amount each pay period or payment is project-based. Yet there is so much data to be interpreted from time than just translating timesheets to payslips.

Knowing exactly how and what time is spent on helps businesses and employees identify sources for value-adding processes, as well as the main culprits of misuse and waste. TSheets has found that just by tracking every second worked, businesses can bill up to 11% more1, while accurate, error-free data can lower payroll costs by 6%2.

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To err is common

According to our data, 45% of employees admit to regularly submitting incorrect timesheets. Meanwhile, 31% of respondents submit an erroneous timesheet at least once per month. Some respondents even admit to submitting incorrect timesheets daily.

Frequency of submitting erroneous timesheets

Chart showing the frequency of erroneous timesheets 31% submit a problem timesheet monthly.

More serious issues afoot

While the majority of respondents (66%) do not help their co-workers to steal time by clocking them in or out, those who do justify their actions as “helping out” a colleague when they’re running late or forget to clock out at the end of the day. More alarmingly, respondents also admit to helping to clock in a co-worker even when they’re off sick. The act is known as buddy punching, and, in total, 44% of employees admit to it.

Reasons for clocking a co-worker in or out

Chart of reasons for clocking a co-worker in or out. 21% running late. 11% are sick. 13% they forgot. 66% none of the above

Let’s look at an example. If a worker in Ontario, who gets paid weekly and is employed at $14 an hour, adds 30 minutes every pay period, that’s an extra $364 over a year. And that’s just ONE employee. The numbers add up when you consider 62% of employees admit to adding 15 to 60 minutes per timesheet. Another 30% under-report their time by 15 to 60 minutes per timesheet.

The margin of error for incorrect timesheets submitted

Chart of margin of error for incorrect timesheets

Rounding employee hours

Most of the timesheet rounding revealed by the survey had a neutral impact on the hours recorded on employee timesheets. The clock in and out times were consistently rounded forward or back. But close to 1 in 10 employees (8%) said their employer deliberately reduces their hours by rounding clock in times forward and clock out times back.

There are also provincial legislatures that come into play. In Nova Scotia, an employee who works for more than 15 minutes but less than half an hour must have their timesheet rounded up to the nearest 30 minutes. If they work 31 minutes or more in an hour, they must be paid the full hour. In Saskatchewan, an employee who works any part of an hour must be paid the minimum rate for a full hour’s work.

60% of employees say their employees round their timesheets. 15 minutes is the typical amount
Chart showing how Canadian workers round their timesheets

How much time does your employer add or remove when rounding your clock in/out times?

Chart of how much time employers add or remove when rounding timesheet times

Powerless without accurate data

Our survey found all employee time is tracked against various factors simultaneously, such as jobs, specific tasks, customers, mileage, and equipment. Yet, only 85% of respondents are required to track their time.

It begs the question: How are small businesses able to make informed decisions or provide accurate quotes with limited resources sans accurate time data when labour is often the biggest expense?

Furthermore, without knowing how resources are spent, how can businesses determine profitability?

How timesheets can boost your profit

What is employee time tracked against?

Chart of how employees use time tracking in their work. By job, specific task, customer or client, project, department, mileage, equipment, or other

Rounding employee hours

Only 1 in 3 employees uses a digital time tracking system, meanwhile:
  • » 14% use a time tracking app
  • » 7% use a touchscreen kiosk
  • » 7% use a point-of-sale system
  • » 6% use a biometric scanning system
Over half (58%) of employees use manual time tracking processes:
  • » 23% use spreadsheets
  • » 19% use paper time cards
  • » 9% use punch cards
  • » 7% use text or email

Almost three-quarters (62%) of respondents admit to having to occasionally or frequently correct timesheets, which aligns with our previous finding that the majority of small businesses still struggle with timesheet errors.

Frequency of timesheet corrections

Chart of frequency of timesheet corrections. 57% occasionally. 38% never. 5% frequently

*Methodology: TSheets commissioned Pollfish to survey 500 Canadian workers in March 2018 about their time tracking habits at work. The respondents were all over the age of 18 and "employed for wages."

1Based on a survey of 924 businesses that use TSheets for invoicing and report billing more. On average, they report adding 11% more billable time to their invoices. Internal survey conducted by TSheets in January 2018.
2Based on a survey of 924 businesses that use TSheets for payroll and report savings. On average, they report reducing gross payroll costs by 6%. Internal survey conducted by TSheets by QuickBooks in January 2018.

Further Reading
Survey of Canadian workers about GPS tracking in the workplace.
How Canadians employees feel about GPS tracking in the workplace
See how Canada law outlines how worker pay during holidays should be calculated.
Get a grip on statutory holiday pay rules and calculations
Photo of Canadian worker on vacation.
Understanding vacation pay and vacation time in Canada

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