What Is Time Theft?
Time theft occurs when an employee is paid for any amount of time they haven't actually worked. In some cases, time theft occurs when an employee pads their timesheet at the beginning or end of their shift. Other times, time theft is unintentional, when an employee forgets to clock out for a break. Either way, an independent survey of 1,000 employees found 49 percent admitted to time theft, with 46 percent adding between 15 and 60 minutes to their timesheets and the remaining 3 percent adding more than 60 minutes.1
That's not to say that most employees commit time theft maliciously. More often than not, time theft points to a flaw in the company's time tracking system — not a problem with employees. If an employee isn't sure exactly how much time they've worked in a day or shift (because they track time manually in spreadsheets or on paper time cards), they will likely estimate their total time worked based on their schedule or simply round their times up or down.
For instance, if an employee is scheduled to work at 8:00 a.m. and they arrive at 8:07, they will likely record an 8 a.m. arrival on their time card, or they’ll ask a coworker to clock in for them at the appropriate time (this is known as “buddy punching”). Similarly, if an employee is scheduled to work until 5:00 p.m., but they leave at 4:51, they will likely record their clock out time as 5 p.m. on the dot.
A few minutes here and there might seem harmless, but that time can add up. If 49 percent of the nation’s hourly employees — that’s 38 million people — added just 15 minutes a week to their timesheets, this would cost U.S. employers more than $11 billion a year.2
I was losing nearly 30 hours per week ... essentially paying for a full-time employee that didn't exist- Matt Rissell,
“If all 35 of my employees were fudging just 10 minutes per day at clock in and clock out and at the beginning and end of lunch, that means I was losing nearly 30 hours per week,” TSheets CEO Matt Rissell recalled in a recent Forbes article. “I was essentially paying for a full-time employee that didn’t exist.”
Rissell later reflected, “The first time we used TSheets, our time theft problem was instantly eradicated and my bookkeeper reported that we had saved more than $2,400 on our first payroll!"
How Can I Prevent Time Theft?
Eliminate employee guesswork by implementing an automated, mobile time tracking system with GPS location capabilities. Many small businesses still rely on paper and pencil to track employee time. Unfortunately, paper timesheets are the most susceptible to human error and, in turn, time theft.
On the other hand, accurate-to-the-second, automated time tracking, like TSheets, ensures that employees are paid for every second actually worked, increases employee accountability, and makes it nearly impossible for time theft to occur — even accidentally.
Put a stop to employee time theft with TSheets
Here's how it works: When an employee clocks in or out using TSheets on their mobile device, their location is automatically recorded — so you can make sure they're actually on site, even if you aren’t.
Plus, location tracking helps to hold employees even more accountable for their time, because all timesheet changes are recorded and stored in TSheets. The end result is a paperless audit trail that can't be edited by employees or admins — to support FLSA compliance and DCAA regulations.
TSheets also allows employees the option to clock in using text or dial in services, making it possible for admins to restrict employees from clocking in or out using any device other than their own. For employees all clocking in from one location, TSheets Kiosk transforms any tablet, laptop, or computer into a traditional punch clock-style kiosk. Employees simply clock in on site using a unique four-digit PIN.
Imagine the impact on your business if you could eliminate errors in 50 percent of your timesheets. Even if these errors are 15 inaccurate minutes per employee, correcting them could add up to thousands of dollars in savings every year. Some TSheets customers are saving that much every time they run payroll. Track more accurate time, combat employee time theft.
Using TSheets we save approximately $2,000 per month + have better data quality + higher morale + lower frustration.- Todd Dewalt,
Start saving money on payroll. Sign up for a free TSheets 14-day trial.
1Methodology: In February 2017, TSheets commissioned PollFish to conduct a survey of 1,000 U.S workers aged 18+ about their time tracking habits. One of the questions was "Typically, if you submit an incorrect timesheet, what is the margin of error?" and of the 957 respondents, 46% of employees said when they submit an incorrect timesheet, they will add between 15 and 60 minutes to it, and 3% said they added more than 60 minutes. 25% said they take between 15 and 60 minutes off their timesheet. The remainder said "not applicable."
2Methodology: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "In 2015, 78.2 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates" (source) and in the same year, the average hourly wage for hourly employees in the U.S. was $22.97 (source). According to data collected for TSheets by PollFish in February 2017, 49% of employees who track their time at work admit to time theft of 15 minutes or more. If 49% of the nation's hourly employees added just 15 minutes each per weekly timesheet that's ($5.74 x 38,000,000 employees) x 52 weeks = $11,347,180,000.