Time and Attendance
By Megan Johnson
Mar. 22, 2022
As a manager of a restaurant, when you think of employee theft in the workplace your mind may automatically go to blatant examples, such as staff stealing equipment, cash from the register, or even snacking on supplies. However, there’s a less blatant form of workplace theft: employee time theft.
While employee time theft is not always easy to spot, the impact is. Employee time theft directly impacts labor costs, and sadly, it’s not uncommon. Time theft can be prevented by investing in innovative time tracking software that ensures maximum employee productivity at all times.
Time theft is when an employee is paid for time they didn’t work. It typically applies to hourly employees rather than exempt employees. Therefore, as a restaurant manager, you are at a high risk of being a victim of employee time theft.
Unfortunately for employers, there are no explicit federal time theft laws, which puts businesses in a vulnerable position. While there are ways some businesses may be able to recoup losses through a civil suit, there is no guarantee this will be successful. So, employers need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to prevent time theft in the work environment.
There are different forms of time theft. Here are the major ones to look out for:
While time theft can be difficult to prove, here are a few pointers that you may realize at your workplace:
Prevent time theft by using innovative scheduling and timekeeping software that ensures there’s no lost productivity from employees.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay staff according to what’s recorded on the timesheet. Therefore, it’s important that your scheduling software creates the right shifts in the first place. Moreover, all schedules should properly align with hours reflected on timesheets, as this will prevent paying employees for hours they didn’t work.
Eliminate the risk of falsifying time cards with a time clock app. Here’s how it works:
Provide your managers with a time and attendance system that stays on top of employee productivity. Managers should be able to monitor employees remotely — all from a computer or mobile device. This kind of monitoring should take the form of a live timeclock feed and tardiness notifications.
Managers should also receive notifications when employees clock in and clock out for breaks. With these instant notifications, it’s possible to cross-reference clocking in and out with the shift schedule to make sure there are no discrepancies in break times. Giving managers the ability to manage operations during the day ensures they can easily spot time theft.
Create attendance policies and communicate them clearly to your staff. Your staff might be unaware of their actions and how they can be perceived as time theft, so it’s important they know what time theft is and how they may be breaking company policy.
Make sure time and attendance policies include clocking in and out procedures, break periods, and cell phone and social media usage when on the clock. It’s crucial that employees know what time theft is and understand that it will not be tolerated. If necessary, make sure policies are enforced with disciplinary actions, as they may act as a deterrent.
Burnout, low pay, and minimal benefits may make employees more likely to commit time theft. Employers should provide staff with enjoyable working environments where they feel valued, taken care of, and respected – this always helps reduce time theft. Consider implementing something like an employee reward system to create a culture of positivity and motivation. You could also regularly grant time off — or add in an extra shift — for workers who excel in their roles.
While you can’t go back in time to stop prior time theft, you can certainly take steps to prevent it from continuing. Use automated workforce management software to empower employees to make the most of the hours they’re scheduled for. Contact us today to learn how you can get started.
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