What is biometric time and attendance?
In its most basic form, time and attendance tracking is a schedule, in which workers, volunteers, or students write down entry and exit times so that they can be logged. A slight step up from that rudimentary system, you will find punch cards, or shared digital spreadsheets. But all of these systems have a critical flaw: they can’t prove you are who you say you are. Truants can have a friend sign in for them or punch their card—a fraudulent practice termed buddy-punching—and effectively steal time from employers or falsely claim hours of work they otherwise spent elsewhere.
Enter biometrics. With a biometric time and attendance system, there is no disputing who is signing in for duty. A scanned finger, iris, face, or other biometric modality ensures accurate payroll, efficient records keeping, and can even keep track of certain work related tasks, like what cash register a sales associate uses. When arriving for work, an employee signs in by submitting a biometric—an act only they can do—and scans out of work on breaks and when the shift is over. The result is a more accountable workforce, cleaner records, and a stronger bottom line.
Where is biometric time and attendance deployed?
Any workplace that requires an employee to be physically present is a prime candidate for biometric time and attendance technology. Healthcare clinics, retail spaces, construction sites—these are just some of the jobs that demand staff be present for work according to a set schedule. It’s especially important on large projects with multiple overlapping shifts. A payroll dispute due to an error in record keeping can cost administrative time, but with automated and accountable records, based on the strong identity assurance of biometrics, such a possibility can be minimized if not outright eliminated.
Schools and educational institutions are also ripe for biometric attendance. Such solutions can ensure students taking online courses are in fact the ones taking tests and participating in online discussions. In physical lectures, biometric systems can track large populations in student attendance, ensuring mandatory classes are attended and exams are actually taken by enrolled students.
How is biometric time and attendance making a difference?
In India, many time and attendance systems are linked to the Aadhaar national ID program. Such a system is used within the government offices of the country in order to cut down graft. Some departments even have their attendance records published online for reasons of public trust.
The Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia uses a sophisticated biometric system that fuses access control with time and attendance tracking. When employees use the fingerprint lock on their office door, their time is recorded automatically on the attendance record.
The biometric enrollment of public sector workers in Kenya has enabled the government to weed out ghost workers—non-existent employees who are buddy punched into to a work site to syphon funds. It is estimated that within six months of implementing biometric time and attendance, the Kenyan government saved over 11 million USD that would have otherwise been stolen by time frauds.