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Time and Attendance
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If you're still using a manual punch clock and time cards to keep track of employee hours then you're behind the times. Modern time and attendance systems automate the entire process, using computer systems to track employee hours.
With computerized time and attendance systems, employees clock in and out using technology like badges with barcode scanners, radio frequency identification tags, touch-screen terminals or biometric terminals that rely on technology like fingerprint or facial recognition. The computer keeps track of hours worked and automatically calculates wages based upon each employee's hourly rate.
Time and attendance systems help ensure compliance with labor laws, improve workforce productivity and control labor costs by reducing errors. They also make life easier for your employees by allowing them to keep track of hours, check work schedules, request time off or keep track of vacation time.
About Time and Attendance Systems
There are two basic components to a time and attendance system: hardware and software.
Hardware refers to any electronic equipment you need to get the system up and running, including clock-in devices like barcode or biometric scanners. These are generally placed in the entryway to the building or a particular work area to allow employees to clock in as soon as they arrive.
Time and attendance software records, organizes, stores and analyzes information about your employee hours. When an employee clocks in and out, the software keeps track of that information in order to calculate wages. You can opt for on-premise software that is installed on your computers and servers or web-hosted software that is managed by an outside service provider.
Time and attendance hardware and software can usually be integrated into the computer systems and equipment you already have.
Time and Attendance Systems Average Costs
Time and attendance systems are surprisingly affordable. Small companies can get into a basic system with an investment of $1,000 or less. Basic time clocks and software for companies with fewer than 25 employees can be purchased for $500 to $750.
More complex software and equipment with features like employee scheduling and payroll integration run anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000. These systems are usually best for companies with 25 to 150 employees.
Large companies can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 or more for on-premise software and equipment that manages all time and attendance functions. The price depends largely on the number of employees.
If you opt for web-hosted software, upfront expenses will be much lower. You'll likely pay a small down payment of $500 to $1000 and a monthly fee of $30 to $100 for smaller companies. Hardware such as biometric time clocks can be purchased for about $500 to $1,000 each or they can be rented for a monthly fee.
Portable Employee Time Tracking Systems
When you work in construction, the job site is your office. There are no computers on hand that employees can use to clock in or out, forcing many construction firms to rely on the old method of paper time cards. The problem is, paper time cards are unreliable. Even honest employees may forget how many hours they worked and guess at the end of the week. Employees that are not so honest might add a few minutes or hours to make an extra buck.
Portable time and attendance systems were designed with the construction industry in mind. They allow your employees to clock in and out directly from the job site using a rugged, portable time clock. They help control labor cost by keeping track of exactly how many hours your employees worked. This is especially important because labor is generally a construction firm's greatest expense.
About Construction Time and Attendance Systems
Portable time and attendance systems consist of one or more sturdy time clocks that employees use to clock in and out, and the software that keeps track of employee hours to send that information to your payroll department. Time clocks are generally attached to padlock-like devices so they can be secured to a fixed structure on the job site. The time clocks are rugged enough to survive harsh weather, including rain and snow. Employees clock in and out using individual key fobs or similar devices.
You can go as basic or as sophisticated as you like with a construction time and attendance systems. The most basic systems consist of one time clock, a handful of employee key fobs and basic software to keep track of employee hours. If you're willing to spend a little more, you might opt for GPS technology that allows supervisors to verify an employee's location from a remote location or Bluetooth technology that allows supervisors to check time and attendance records with their smartphones.
Web-Based Employee Time Tracking System
A web-based time and attendance system lets your employees' clock in and out with the click of a mouse. They can use the technology to view work schedules, check benefit accruals, and request vacation time or to indicate that they're taking a break.
For supervisors, a web-based time and attendance system provides an all-in-one place to monitor employee schedules, keep track of who's in, who's out, make informed scheduling decisions, and monitor overtime. For companies, web-based time and attendance systems offer easier deployment than traditional time and attendance software. Employees can access the system through a link in their browser, which means there's no need to install the software on individual PCs.
Web-Based Time and Attendance System Average Costs
The pricing structure for web-based time and attendance systems is different than traditional software. Typically, vendors will charge a monthly fee based on the number of system users rather than a large flat fee upfront.
Prices vary widely based on the type of software you select and the number of employees you have, but as a general rule:
- Companies with 25 or fewer employees can find web-based time and attendance software for $50 per month or less.
- Those with 25 to 50 employees can buy the software for $100 per month or less.
Some vendors charge a one-time setup fee, which generally ranges from $500 to $1,000. Others will include that in the monthly fee. Also, be sure to ask if features like payroll integration and services like customer support are included in the monthly price you are quoted. Sometimes they are; sometimes not.
You don't have to buy time clock devices with a web-based time and attendance system. Your employees can clock in by entering a specific user code into the web-based system. However, if you'd like to purchase devices that allow employees to clock in using ID badges, keypads or biometrics, plan on spend around $500 for each one that you buy. Or, you can rent them for a small monthly fee.
Is a Web-Based Time and Attendance System Right For You?
Web-based time and attendance systems are ideal for smaller businesses that can't afford the upfront expense of traditional software. They're also ideal if you have a limited HR staff because employees can check accrued vacation time and remaining sick days on their own.
Companies with multiple locations or those with employees who travel often also like web-based time and attendance software for the convenience it offers. Employees can clock in without from remote locations using laptops or even their smartphones.
If you're not sure whether a web-based time and attendance system is the right fit for your business, consider signing up for a demo or free trial period. Most vendors offer one or both to let you test the software before you commit.