What is Time Rounding?
Simply put, time rounding is when an employee rounds up their time records resulting in getting paid for the time they didn't actually work.
Many companies have time rounding policies where the employee is asked to round their clock punches to the nearest 5 or 15 minutes. In the latter case, if an employee arrives at work at 8:05 am they should round their start time to 8:00 am. If they showed up instead at 8:10 am, they should round their start time to 8:15 am. The problem arises when an employee shows up at 8:13 am, or worse 8:30 am and puts 8:00 am on their timesheet. While 15 minutes may not sound like a lot, it really starts to add up. If you have more than one employee the problem can get much worse.
Not all Time Rounding is On Purpose.
Some employees round time up in order to get paid for hours they know they didn't work. This is called payroll fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), payroll fraud affects 30% of all companies with companies that have fewer than 100 employees affected at twice the rate as larger companies. If you are in a company with less than 100 employees, it's more likely than not that your company will be affected by payroll fraud at some point.
There is another cause of time rounding, and it's not from malicious intent. Sometimes the time keeping processes used can make time rounding more common even for honest workers. Paper timesheets often do not get filled out at the start and end of every shift. When employees, even honest ethical ones, go to fill out their timesheets they may remember that they got to work "at about 8:00 am" and mark that on their timesheet even if they actually got there at 8:15 am.
How to Stop Time Rounding
Time rounding can be stopped with better time tracking processes and a little technology. Mobile time tracking apps that use the system time of the device for time punches provide down to the minute time tracking and removes the ability for employees to change the time. Some mobile time tracking systems, like ClockShark, also include the GPS coordinates of each time punch so you see where the employee was when they clocked in or out. If they try and clock in away from the job site, you'll know it.
Mobile time tracking apps can dissuade the group of employees intentionally rounding time from doing it at all because they know they can get caught. Often, just implementing a system stops or at least reduces the problem. For the few that try to falsify time records anyway, they can easily get spotted and dealt with. For the group of honest ethical employees who unintentionally round time on occasion, they can see their actual time punches on the app and make sure they put in their full days work. For both groups, mobile time tracking systems help. This means you don't even need to worry about which employees are in which group because the system will handle both cases.
Stopping time rounding is a huge benefit of using mobile time tracking solutions, but it isn't the only one. Mobile time tracking apps are faster and easier for employees to use than paper timesheets. No more remembering and writing down details week after week, just show up and hit the "Clock In" button. That's it. Another benefit is time records are available for review in real time because they are all stored in the cloud. You can see who is working and where any time you want. And because all the time data is already digital, no one has to key it into a computer. You can even export your time records to be imported into your payroll or job costing system saving you even more time and money.