What is a biometric time clock?
A biometric employee time clock identifies an employee by a unique physical attribute and allows the employee to clock in and out for a shift. Possible identifiers include a fingerprint, facial geometry, iris scan or hand vein pattern.
How does a biometric employee time clock system work?
Any biometric employee time clock system requires a physical device and compatible software. The device may be a physical time clock or a personal device such as a smartphone or tablet. The software is typically a cloud-based time and attendance system.
Here is an example of how an employer would use a facial recognition time clock:
First, the employer would enter employee facial scans into the software database. Each employee would stand in front of the clock scanner one by one. The clock would scan each of the employees’ faces and measure the characteristics such as the distance between key landmarks like the eyes and nose. The device then converts the scans to a digital format. Each employee facial scan is stored in the software database. Most systems encrypt the information for security and legal compliance.
When an employee clocks in or out, they stand in front of the scanner. The time clock verifies the identity of the employee by matching the scan to the identical scan stored in the software database. The time of the clock in and subsequent clock out is tracked in the time and attendance software. Employee time worked is used for payroll, PTO accrual calculations, and compliance (federal or state FMLA, secure scheduling, minimum wage, overtime, etc.).
Why do employers use biometric time clocks?
Biometric work tech solutions are superior to both pen and paper timekeeping systems and other types of time clocks in four key respects:
- They are more accurate at tracking hours
- They are less vulnerable to employee time theft
- They create a quick, convenient and orderly clocking experience
- They don’t rely on fobs or passwords that employees can lose or forget
First, biometric time clocks can be more accurate than other employee time tracking systems. They aren’t susceptible to the human error inherent in pen and paper systems like miscalculation and indecipherable penmanship. They don’t rely on employees or managers recalling clock in/out times after the fact. Biometric time clocks synced with time and attendance software track hours automatically. As such, a biometric time clock prevents payroll mistakes.
Secondly, a biometric time clock can reduce time theft because employees can’t buddy-punch or pad their timecard. Buddy punching, or buddy clocking, is the practice of an employee clocking in for a coworker who is absent or tardy. Hours padding is when an employee dishonestly adds non-worked time on their timecard. If a biometric time clock is synced with schedule adherence software, employees can’t punch in too early or punch out too late.
Thirdly, a biometric time clock expedites clocking during busy shift changes. For example, a facial recognition or iris scan clock doesn’t require an employee to use a card, fob or PIN code. Employees don’t have to remove gloves. They simply stand in front of the time clock scanner and the device verifies their identity. Some biometric clocks confirm identity in less than a second.
Lastly, a biometric time clock can control entrance to secure work environments. They are used by companies that need to monitor who enters the workspace.