The holidays can be a wonderful time, but they can also be a financial hardship for workers. Extra – and sometimes extreme – spending can cause desperation that could lead to theft. It’s not surprising that every December robbery and personal larceny increase by about 20%. For construction businesses, theft commonly comes in the form of time theft. Time theft occurs when employees pad and/or fudge their paper time cards. For example, an employee looking for a bigger paycheck may claim overtime hours or those looking to take off early might claim they worked until quitting time when they didn’t. Whatever the reason, time theft can cost your construction company big time. 

How Paper Time Cards Contribute to Time Theft 

Construction companies that use paper time cards to track employee hours are at the biggest risk for time theft. Why? Paper time cards rely on employees to remember exactly when they clocked in and out throughout the week. If employees don’t fill out their time cards until Friday, they could forget leaving early for an appointment on Tuesday. There is also the chance for numbers to get transposed or smudged; construction sites aren’t always the cleanest. And while fudging time cards might be unintentional, like not remembering correctly, it can also be done on purpose. 

Two-thirds of all US businesses fall victim to employee theft. Time theft can occur when an employee intentionally writes down the wrong times or via “Buddy Punching” where one employee clocks another in or out when they’re not on the job. Both can lead to hours of false work records every month, costing you thousands in payroll. And if employees are trying to pad their time sheets to earn bigger checks for holiday spending, they could be taking advantage of overtime pay. 

Having errors in overtime pay is a big deal. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all employers are required to keep accurate time records of the hours that their nonexempt employees work. Construction companies must track the hours every employee works in order to pay them for all hours worked, including overtime pay. Construction companies that violate FLSA overtime laws put themselves at risk of a lawsuit. If you’re using paper time cards, your chances of having errors in your time records increases. It’s just another reason to switch to a better digital solution. 

Why Digital Time Tracking is a Better Solution 

Digital time tracking allows workers to clock in and out from a mobile device or a portable time clock. Workers clock in as soon as they get to the site and clock out when they’re ready to go home, eliminating the need to remember all their start and stop times at the end of the week. Great digital time tracking solutions, like ExakTime, come with built-in security features like face front photo ID verification, GPS and geofencing, that managers can use to assure workers are only clocking in themselves from the actual job site. 

  • Photo Biometrics: When workers clock in and out from the field with their unique four-digit PIN, ExakTime’s convenient FaceFront Biometrics feature snaps a photo with their front-facing camera, which your bookkeeper can use to verify the accuracy of every punch. The image is stored in ExakTime’s cloud software for quick review. Using a photo to verify identity is a better choice over more invasive biometrics like fingerprint scanning. Not only does keeping personal data about your employees – like their fingerprints – a potential legal issue, they don’t always work on the job. Fingerprint scanners require clean hands for a good reading, which isn’t always possible on construction job sites. 
  • GPS Tracking with Geofencing: ExakTime’s mobile app confirms each employee’s location upon clock-in with GPS, so you know they were at the job site when they clocked in and out. A geofence flags whether an employee is on site as they clock in or out or may allow employees to clock in only in designated areas. For example, a construction employee might not be allowed to clock in until they physically stepped onto the job site, with GPS coordinates and radiuses determined by the employer. GPS and geofencing can also work at stationary job sites, like manufacturing facilities, giving your HR team a better way of knowing who is at their machine at start time and who is still walking in the door. 

Using a digital time tracking solution over paper time cards also helps improve your payroll process. Aside from the lack of security, paper time cards are also notoriously difficult to read. Sloppy handwriting, smudges and data entry errors can all lead to payroll mistakes. Digital time tracking systems like ExakTime can transfer time sheet data to more than 100 payroll and ERP systems like Sage, QuickBooks, Viewpoint, ADP and 

ExakTime can help employers improve the accuracy of their payroll processes and when payroll is correct, everyone has a happier holiday season. 

Contact us to learn more about ExakTime and how it can protect your business all year round. 


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