ClockedIn Limited

Time Theft

May 8, 2021

What is Time Theft


Time theft occurs when employees are paid for the hours they have not worked.

It can happen when employees ‘steal’ time by clocking in a little bit early or late daily, which adds up through the year.

This can happen frequently, with the average employee ‘stealing’ more than four hours per week from their employer. See below:



A few minutes here and there, or a couple of minutes added onto the employees’ scheduled break time, doesn’t seem like a huge deal to many people. However, it all adds up, especially when time theft at work becomes common practice among employees, and that’s a different story.

Widespread time theft can be a sign of low morale and productivity for your entire workforce. For business owners, time theft affects their business productivity.

It’s similar to a small leak in a large boat — it may not flood you all at once, but let it go on for long enough, and it may cause you to sink.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that employees commit time theft, in order for you to be aware!


How Employee time theft occurs


  1. Timesheet

It’s not uncommon for employees to round their minutes up when completing paper timesheets. In fact, it probably happens more often than not. Some employees may find ways to manipulate electronic timekeeping systems—like waiting to ‘punch out’ until the next quarter-hour.

  1. Buddy Punching

It wouldn’t be uncommon for an employee to exaggerate hours worked, or spend additional break time rather than working. Buddy punching, though, is a more serious type of time theft and it can be a big problem for employers.

Buddy punching is when an employee (a “buddy”) clocks in or out for another employee, probably because an employee hasn’t arrived at work yet or has skipped out early.

Buddy punching is more likely to happen when you’re tracking hours manually (via pen and paper) or when you’re using an old-fashioned “punch” time clock. These analogue tools are easier to manipulate than most modern time clock software.

It is often as easy as one employee giving their swipe card to a colleague, to allow clocking in on their behalf.

  1. Longer Breaks

Work breaks are great and essential for employee morale, however another common form of time theft is taking longer breaks than those allowed under contract.

A 30 minutes lunch break can quite easily turn into 45 minutes, especially if employees are not required to clock out for lunch.

  1. Misreporting their time spent on a job or on the road

If employees are paid for travel between jobs, then that is another area where hours can be mis-reported.

When employees are on the move, it is really difficult to keep track of their whereabouts. As an employer you have a responsibility towards your staff, and a ‘duty of care’ to ensure their safety. Impossible if you cannot be sure of their current location.

Too often, employers may not be aware of an issue until there is a customer complaint or it becomes clear that the work is not being completed.

  1. Spending time on personal tasks at work

Spending time on non work-related tasks is another way in which employees may ‘steal’ time from employers.

The Internet can create unique challenges for employers, with the advent of smartphones and tablets. Far too many employees spend time:


  • Checking personal emails
  • Online shopping
  • Playing games online
  • Using social media

Social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn can cause a distraction to employees resulting in time ‘theft’.

How to Prevent the time theft


We have highlighted the many ways in which time can be ‘stolen’ at work, and I am sure that you would love to know how to minimise this problem.

There are a few ways that you can prevent time ‘theft’ from happening at your business.

Our number one recommendation  would be to create a workplace that encourages respect and a high level of employee morale.

Employees who feel respected are more likely to respect you as a manager and follow your workplace rules.

Our next ‘hot’ tip would be to use our time and attendance software, which eliminates the use of inaccurate timesheets.

Our Geo Zoning guarantees that employees are only signing in at a particular designated area / workplace .

Our Biometric devices guarantee that buddy punching cannot occur at your workplace.

We have many different solutions to suit your business within our software suite. These will enable you to monitor shifts, employees, temporary staffing and sub-contractors too.

Why not get in touch with us to find out more about our ClockedIn solutions, and how they can assist your business in reducing ‘Time Theft’ and increasing productivity.


Please contact ClockedIn on 08454903901






Sheida Tawk To

Sheida Esfandiari

Part of the ClockedIn family since: 2020

Favourite quote: “Touching hearts, changing lives”