What is Buddy clocking?

Buddy clocking is when an employee asks another employee to clock in on their behalf. In some instances:

Employee #1 is running late or hasn’t arrived at work at the scheduled time, so they ask employee #2 to clock in for them in hopes that the manager or supervisor on duty won’t notice the late arrival.

But in more extreme cases, employees have used buddy clocking to take off whole days of work or get more hours. In short, some workers use it to trick their bosses into paying them for a lot of time that they didn’t actually work.

Create a zero tolerance policy

The quickest and cheapest way to stop buddy punching is to deal with it straight on. If you don’t already have a formal policy about buddy clocking, now is the time to make one. Make it clear that no one is allowed to touch another worker’s time card or use your system for keeping track of time under a different name or for any other reason.

You don’t have to name names, but you should let your team as a whole know about the policy against buddy punching. Then, print out a copy of the new policy and put it up where everyone on staff can see it. If you catch a coworker punching, that’s a reason to fire them.

Remember that buddy clocking is often just a symptom of a bigger problem, not the problem itself. While you’re having these talks with your team, take the chance to look more closely at your attendance policy as a whole. If employees are often taking advantage of the timekeeping system by punching in for each other and then not making it to work on time, there may be a bigger problem.

How buddy punching can damage companies and workers
Just like other things employees do at work, buddy clocking can have these effects on your business:

Different levels of work

In many fields, the number of hours someone works is compared to the amount of work they do to figure out how productive they are. With buddy punching, you won’t have an accurate picture of how productive an employee or a whole team is because the numbers show more time on the clock than may be true. This can also be bad for employees, since you will expect them to produce more based on their past timesheets.

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