The WFC Group Blog

Buddy Punching: How Much Is It Costing Your Business?

Posted by Neil Shah on Jan 6, 2014 12:54:00 PM

Buddy punching

“Hey, I’m running 10 minutes late, can you punch in for me?”

This message is sent thousands of times every year all across the country. And far too often, it is answered with “sure”. If you’re a business owner, officer, or manager, you know this is a big problem - but how much is it really costing your business?

To put it in more concrete terms, here are some statistics found from a recent American Payroll Association study:

  1. The APA estimates that over 75% of companies lose money from buddy punching

  2. Employees reported stealing roughly 4.5 hrs/week - the equivalent of 6 weeks vacation!

  3. In total, buddy punching accounts for approximately 2.2% of gross payrolls.

Ouch.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that these surveys asked workers to freely admit to buddy punching - something many probably wouldn't admit to doing. So if these are just the statistics of workers who admitted to buddy punching, how many are actually doing it?

Although we may never know for sure just how much time buddy punching is accounting for, we do know for sure that it’s a huge problem for big and small companies across the country.

So we wanted to share 3 tools that can help your company prevent buddy punching:

Swipe cards

Also referred to as “punch cards” these are a great way to prevent buddy punching. They are unique to each employee and must be swiped for the employee to punch-in. So unless an employee knows well in advance that he or she will be late, it is unlikely that they will be able to give another employee their swipe card to be punched in.

A Biometric Employee Time Clock

You may have heard of employees clocking in by using their fingerprints. A Biometric Employee Time Clock is the device that is used to make this happen. This is by far the best tool on the market because there is no way for the employee to punch in without being physically present. These devices are generally very easy for employees to use, and are a great way to prevent buddy punching. There are many options on the market today, and they are relatively inexpensive compared to the lost labor costs of buddy punching.

Notifications & Alerts

Unfortunately, even with one of these tools in place, employees can still steal time by claiming that they “forgot to punch in”. Many punch-in tools today offer a feature that will notify employees that they have yet to punch-in for a shift they were scheduled for. This eliminates the “human error” part of the equation that could still be hurting your bottom line. Make sure that any software that you use to prevent buddy punching accounts for this.

This is an exciting time in workforce management. With the technology available today, issues like buddy-punching are starting to be solved - which will save the market billions of dollars in stolen labor costs. We hope that your company will be one of the many that update their attendance software in 2014!

Topics: Workforce Management