It’s Time to Stop Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is a widespread form of theft in the workplace. In fact, according to, buddy punching is estimated to cost U.S. employers more than $373 million every year. Many employers may not even know that it is going on or who is doing it. Buddy punching is when another employee punches in a co-worker that is not present or running late to work. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this type of time theft from occurring, and it could just help improve your company’s bottom line.

Why Do Employees Buddy Punch?

To some of us, it will remain a mystery why employees choose to buddy punch and steal from the company they work for. However, some reasons are obvious why people practice such lousy work ethics. We will first start with the simple reasoning of an individual that is running late to work. Instead of being honest and contacting their superior, they call or text a co-worker and ask that they punch them in, so they avoid getting into trouble. Now, all of us can agree that it is not fun sitting down with your boss to talk about why you were late, but if this is not a consistent problem, why risk losing your job by having another person clock you in.

Another apparent reason is when an employee may simply want the day off and request a buddy to punch them in and punch them out. Some employers are so busy and may not realize that Johnny is absent all day, but on paper, he was present the whole day thanks to his friend. 



Those who do this may not look at it as stealing from the company, but we disagree here at OnTheClock. A person is getting paid for time they are not working or aren’t even at work. What is the difference between this and reaching your hand into an employer’s register and taking your daily pays’ worth? To us, we look at it as being equivalent and unethical.

How Buddy Punching Could Be Affecting Your Business

So you’re going through your company's finances and notice that your projections are off for production and your revenue isn’t as high as you thought it would be. You start thinking about ideas to improve this, although you were optimistic that the system you implemented was working to meet your goals. You may think about hiring additional personnel, laying off some employees if you can’t afford them, or investing more money into labor hours to develop a new game plan.

According to an article written by Forbes, the number one reason for a small business to lose money is terrible accounting. Payroll and time card tracking is all a big part of accounting, and when it is done incorrectly, your business could suffer. 

You may not realize that your system was effective and worked great until your employees started buddy punching. This whole time you thought you had all hands on deck and everyone was on the clock working while you were accomplishing your side of the company’s tasks. Now, you find yourself hanging on to every dollar possible because you are worried and concerned about your company's financial future.



Ways To Prevent Buddy Punching

There are a few options that prevent buddy punching. First, you can do it the old-fashioned way and stand by the punch clock and document precisely who is clocking in and who is not. This can take precious and valuable time away from what you need to do to operate a successful business during the day.

Secondly, you could take time throughout the day each week to walk through the company and make tallies of who’s in and who’s not. Remember, once again, you would be taking the valuable time worth money just to make sure employees are honest. This can be such a headache for you and cost you money because you cannot give 100% on your end while being on the clock.

Lastly, you could invest in an employee time clock tracking system that does not involve any messy installations for a very low cost. This software has features such as geofencing, which allows you to set up a perimeter around your company or any specific designation of your choice. It will not allow an employee to punch in unless they are inside the geofencing boundaries. Also, you could use a thumbprint reading device that syncs with the online time clock system. These web-based time clocks can also be downloaded as an app onto mobile phones, allowing the employee to quickly punch in and out with a click of a button rather than standing in a long line for a traditional punch clock. This allows your employees to get straight to work and not waste any time.



Another perk of using an employee time clock tracking system is to conveniently see everyone who is clocked in or out and their times by just looking at a page under your account. This feature can save you time and offer the benefit of having peace of mind knowing your employees aren’t stealing time anymore. Each employee can be assigned a username and password that helps prevent buddy punching. You can also have it set up to automatically deduct lunch breaks and set up reminders to be sent to the employees to clock in or clock out to ensure no more time theft.  

The End Result To Putting A Stop To Buddy Punching

At the end of the day, we can all agree that it would be nice not to worry about employees being dishonest with their time and costing the company money. has done a great job of creating a web-based time clock for employers to use and allow accurate time tracking, the convenience of knowing who is punched in or out, improve a company’s bottom line by preventing buddy punching and relieving stress for our fellow business owners who have more important things to do rather than worrying about employees stealing time. Put money back into your pocket, eliminate buddy punching and improve your company by using an online time clock system.


a thought From Doug on 10/26/2020 ...
When you use On the clock as a time clock for many employees to punch in, can you take a picture to avoid buddy punch?
reply from OTC - Hi Doug, our employee time tracking system offer a variety of options and setting to prevent buddy punching. Some of these would include our strict punch features for businesses to select if they would like in order to eliminate buddy punching. We recommend signing up for our 30-day free trial to learn more and gain a hands-on experience with our time tracking software. There is zero obligation or commitment when signing up for the free time clock trial. Have a great day!

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