Ways That Employees Steal Time


Theft is a very serious issue in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable that an employee at some time will steal from you. Most of the time, when we think about theft, we think about people taking things, but there are other types of theft as well. You can steal ideas and time. 

Time theft plagues employers, particularly those who hire remote workers, especially without a system to calculate the exact hours worked. It is a problem that is growing exponentially in almost every business. There are various ways that employees can steal time.

What Is the Theft of Time

Technically stealing time is anything that an employee does that is not work-related on company time. They receive pay for doing things that have nothing to do with the actual job. 

Timecard Fraud

Timecard fraud is one of the easiest forms of time theft to catch. There are a few types of timecard fraud. 

Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is when someone punches another person’s timecard, usually to hide the fact that the person is not on time. This form is very common in large companies but does not normally happen with remote workers.

Time Rounding 

Time rounding is not necessarily a form of theft, but it can be if it happens often. Some companies allow employees to round to the next quarter, half or hour. If it is not allowed it, the employee is stealing pay for time not worked. 

Outright Lying About Hours

Lying about hours is a problem that plagues many companies that hire remote workers. Instead of filling out their time card correctly, they add hours to it to pad it. 

Ghost Employees

Ghosts are one of the more serious forms of theft. In one case, a manager makes up an employee name and clocks them in and out daily. Then they collect the fake employee’s paycheck and take it for themselves. This is also a form of embezzling.

The other case of ghosts is when an employee clocks in, leaves and returns to clock out. The employee doesn’t do anything work-related during the day but still collects payment for the day. This is not as serious as creating fake employees but still considered a crime in many places.

Internet and Theft

Some employees do not realize it but playing on the internet, shopping, and other internet activities not related to work is essentially stealing. Employers do not generally notice this type of theft, or they ignore it. Although not condemned, it can get excessive, causing the company to lose money.

Extended Breaks

Extended breaks are another form of time stealing, but companies generally ignore it unless it is excessive. An employee taking a bit longer on a paid break once in a while is not necessarily an issue, but when they do it every break, multiple breaks a day, it rapidly becomes an issue. 

In some cases, stealing time is not a problem. For example, if an employee has young children or an elderly parent, they may need to do some personal things while at work. Most companies make allowances for some personal time during the day. It is only when it becomes excessive that there is an issue.

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