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blog banner of What Is An Employee Time Clock and Why Do You Need It

What Is An Employee Time Clock and Why Do You Need It?

Paying employees accurately and on time is necessary for a business of any size. It also constitutes a major part of attendance keeping. HR managers are responsible for meticulously streamlining the payroll process.

Automatic attendance systems like Truein enable businesses to simplify payroll and automate workforce management, but many companies still rely on traditional attendance-keeping methods. This usually involves manually tracking employee timesheets, calculating overtime hours, and converting minutes to hours before the salary can be calculated.

Such an approach uses valuable time and too many resources to ensure company policies are followed and workers are paid correctly. Systems like employee time clocks allow workers to input and manage their hours. It eliminates the burden of the managers and supervisors manually recording, collecting, and verifying employee attendance.

Furthermore, these systems can be integrated into the payroll software, streamlining the entire process. In this article, we will learn everything about time and attendance clocks and how companies use them to their advantage.

An employee time clock is a device often used to record the start and end times of hourly workplace employees. Most modern time and attendance systems like Truein are capable of offering employee time clock functionalities. Several types of time and attendance clocks are available that you can choose to install within your organization.

A face recognition time clock like Truein offers better security over other biometric and punch-in employee time clocks. Depending on your business and the kind of work environment in your company, you can choose from several available time clocks for small businesses.

The 5 most common types of employee time clocks.

1. Punch Card Clocks

The simplest type of employee time clock allows employees to insert a paper card when they arrive or leave work. The clock stamps the time and date on the card that indicates their shift’s start and end time.

Many small businesses prefer punch card clocks due to their simplicity. However, these clocks are prone to time theft practices such as buddy punching. Also, they cannot be used by companies that employ remote workers.

2. Digital Employee Time Clock

A digital employee time clock uses a swipe card with a magnetic stripe instead of a punch card. Workers swipe the magnetic stripe through a machine that records the time and date of the employee. Another variation of a digital clock is an electronic touchpad that doesn’t require workers to use a card.

Instead, they can input a PIN into the machine to automatically save the punch-in data. The HR managers can then import the stored data for payroll.

3. Time Station Software

Time Station software is an employee time clock that allows workers to clock in and out through a computer. There is a dedicated computer that employees utilize for all punch-ins. Some businesses also integrate time station software with a personal computer that allows employees to enter the time at their workstations.

Many IT and software companies use such software. One of the most significant advantages of time station software is that the data can be integrated with the payroll software system. It makes it simpler to conduct payroll later.

4. Biometric employee time clock

A biometric time clock uses a person’s human traits, such as fingerprint, Iris, thumb impression, etc., to record the attendance and shift timing.

The fingerprint time clock is the most common type of biometric clock used in companies. Workers put their fingers on a scanner that identifies them by matching them with the fingerprint data stored in the database.

The clock marks the attendance and punch-in time if the match is accurate. Organizations prefer biometric fingerprint employee time clocks because they can prevent buddy punching and any other time theft frauds. Another benefit is that workers don’t have to remember code or carry a punch card.

However, biometric time and attendance clocks are not suitable for every industry. For instance, workers’ fingers are usually covered in dirt or oil in the mining industry, making it hard to punch in. Portability is another issue as these biometric attendance systems are in a fixed position and need dedicated hardware with sensors to read the feature (fingerprint, iris, retina, etc.) and record attendance.

5. Application-based employee time clock

Such employee time clocks use a mobile or web application to authenticate clock in or clock out employees’ time. Truein is one such employee time clock that authenticates an employee based on their facial features using their smartphones instead of any biometric devices.

It is a complete no-hardware solution, that depends on modern smartphones for employee identification and attendance recording.

Why are time clocks important?

Time and attendance clocks are necessary for an accurate representation of the shift. It helps workers and managers know when they start working and when they finish. Timekeeping devices help HR managers to keep track of employees and to ensure that they are not spending too much time here and there while at work, such as taking a too long lunch break or frequent breaks in between.

The employee time clock is also necessary to ensure that employees work only the specified hours and not more. An adequate time and attendance management software ensure that workers are honest with their shifts and working when they’re supposed to be.

The punch-in data can also provide evidence to confront irregular and unpunctual employees. This ensures that there are no productivity or efficiency issues within the workforce. Time clock software can be integrated with payroll software, making it much easier for HR managers to calculate and pay salaries.

Payroll integration also helps to comply with labor laws and ensure that employees are getting paid correctly for the number of hours worked. In the absence of employee time clocks, payroll management can be tedious and cumbersome for the HR department.

Five benefits of using the time clock

1. It Saves HR time and money

Time clock software automatically collects and calculates the attendance data enabling HR managers to spend less time verifying attendance data. Managers and supervisors must no longer sort through hundreds of timesheets to conduct payroll.

There is no conversion of minutes to hours or overtime estimations, so there is less room for human error. Employees are accurately paid for the number of hours worked. Inaccurate calculations can cost businesses a lot, as correcting payroll errors is a long process.

Employee time clock software eliminates any room for human error and boosts the productivity of the HR department.

2. Helps to decrease fraud in attendance

Employee time clocks eliminate the possibility of time theft frauds. Face recognition attendance clocks like Truein utilize AI to identify and record employees’ attendance. Such timekeeping software can also use GPS to ensure that employees are at the location they are supposed to be when punching in.

It is a valuable feature for manufacturing, construction, and mining industries where workers are distributed over a large area. Geo-fencing can ensure that employees are present at the required site and not fraudulently marking their attendance from somewhere else.

3. Make it easier to track overtime and cost

As accurate employee attendance data is available, employers can see the number of hours workers work and identify areas with expensive labor. It assists companies with labor cost management.

Another advantage of an employee time clock is that it can quickly help you recognize employees using the most overtime to complete work. HR managers can estimate the accumulated cost due to overtime. It will help managers make more informed decisions and ensure no one is exploiting the overtime policies within the company.

4. Helps to increase productivity

Time and attendance clocks can positively impact the productivity and efficiency level of the employees. As workers have immediate access to payroll data, they can self-assess their performance and make improvements wherever necessary.

When they are informed with accurate data, they can address the attendance issues, and the management can take the steps needed to increase productivity.

5. Decreases absenteeism

Absenteeism is serious trouble for organizations as it can cause constant interruptions in business operations and decrease productivity. Furthermore, when some employees are absent regularly, it can hurt the morale of hard-working workers. Time clocks are excellent devices to track workers who tend to be absent frequently.

Truein: The most efficient employee time clock

Truein is a face recognition-based time and attendance system designed to boost workforce productivity and plug revenue leakages. Comes with 70+ automated policies, this employee time clock software does not require any additional hardware for deployment.

Employees can use their smartphones to punch in. It offers advanced attendance management policies such as GPS targeting, geofencing, overtime calculations, leave management, and shift schedulingIt is a cloud-based centralized attendance system that companies across industries use to automate and streamline their payroll management.


An effective employee time clock is essential for accurate payroll and efficient labor management. Whether a small business or an enterprise, time and attendance management are the core requirements for a profitable business. Manual timekeeping wastes resources, so you must invest in time clock software.

The time and attendance clock automates attendance and payroll management, prevents time theft, and enforces shift schedules based on workforce analytics.

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