Why Your Boss Makes You Punch a Time Clock

by Evil HR Lady on September 20, 2017

What do you think about the idea of professional or semi-professional (i.e., highly-skilled college graduates) hourly employees having to clock in and out daily and for breaks, etc., especially in a creative field? My company just adopted a product called “Humanity” which requires us to do that and many of us are disgruntled. As a midlevel manager friend of mine said, “no matter how you spin it, it screams ‘we don’t trust you’.”

To read the answer, click here: Why Your Boss Makes You Punch a Time Clock

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon September 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm

And…if we substitute “exempt” for non-exempt, what are your thoughts? Because that’s what we were notified of the other day, though its being rolled out to ALL employees who are not a member of a signatory union, as opposed to just the exempt ones.

The question was asked “so this obviously doesn’t apply to exempt employees, correct” and we were told “No, it does apply to exempt employees”.

(Not Humanity, but a similar app based software)

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Arrows September 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm

It’s very possible the the organization simply wants to track capacity. If one department has employees working 12 hour days, perhaps they need to hire more help. Is a department working 12 hour days and not producing a minimum level of product? Then something is going on and someone should take a look. Is another department working 6 hour days? Then maybe they have too many staff members and someone could be transferred? Is one department staying late doing the work of another department that is leaving at 3:00 everyday. Are managers only working 6 hour days while their staff works 10 hour days?
You can’t answer any of these questions unless you have the data.

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Goober September 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm

That’s an easy way to turn your exempt employees into non-exempt employees.

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Anon September 20, 2017 at 8:06 pm

I should add that the push for this comes from the Accounting Dept, not the HR department.

No physical “product” per se. Construction work ebbs and flows…we all know this and work accordingly. Sometimes we’re here 8 hours. Sometimes we’re here 20, no exaggeration.

We don’t even have “core” hours, and people come and go between the office and other work spaces.

It truly just seems nitpicky.

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Evil HR Lady September 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm

I’m absolutely opposed to tracking exempt employee hours for anything other than billable hours. If you’re an attorney or an accountant or a consultant, then yes, track those billables! But if you don’t need that, look at end result only.

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grannybunny September 20, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Unfortunately, sometimes it does just boils down to a lack of trust. I once worked in the Law Department of a Federal agency. Nation-wide, the decision had been made not to require employees of the various regional law offices — most of whom were attorneys classified as exempt — to clock in and out. However, the Manager of my office was a suspicious, distrustful control freak. We were in a secure facility, so had to swipe our badges to enter the office and the restrooms, which were in the foyer right outside the office entrance. Our boss obtained the computer printouts of the badge swipes and emailed them to all of us, so everyone could see when people were entering the office and restrooms. God forbid you arrived at work at the same time as others and entered the office as a group after one had swiped their badge. You would get an email demanding to know where you were and accusing you of being AWOL. By including the bathroom door data in the printouts, it also showed how long one was in the restroom before returning to work. Totally humiliating invasion of privacy. Ironically, the printouts showed that the worst offender — in terms of being late to work and spending long periods of time in the bathroom — was the boss himself. It was a huge relief to escape that oppressive, demoralizing, atmosphere.

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Julie September 21, 2017 at 10:47 pm

I agree that sometimes it does just boil down to trust. We have some issues going on right now with employees manipulating the system however they can. Whether it’s clocking in earlier or out later when they aren’t doing any actual work or trying to figure out how to get the maximum time off they possibly can, it can make an employer start to feel a little distrustful.

Obviously, we have some deeper issues that the supervisors need to work on but sometimes the employees are the problem (just as sometimes the boss/management is the problem).

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grannybunny September 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm

I recognize that there will always be a few who attempt to manipulate the system. My solution is to address those problematic few and not to penalize the entire workforce by managing down to the lowest common denominator.

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Evil HR Lady September 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Holy crow. What a horrible boss.

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Maria Rose September 21, 2017 at 3:25 am

Obvious most people commenting on this, either never worked at jobs that required one to punch in for work to start and for all breaks and at end of day. Okay that one boss situation with the monitoring of bathroom breaks was overboard, but the rules have changed since last year concerning how hours are worked by exempt salary employees.
Sure these employees are used to controlling their hours at their discretion, but the law requires the company to monitor hours to assure that employees get paid for overtime. Overtime pay is something, companies want to avoid for all employees. It is easy to monitor this with an hourly employee by schedule and insuring breaks are taken. This monitoring is done some variation of time clock punch program of which there are many. As I understand the law on exempt employees, their hours are measured via a computer based program by which they perform job programs ( usually signing in to job site) . Unlike hourly employees, exempt employees work by job, so they assume if they finish job fast they are going to get full week of pay anyway so they can be free of work for the rest of time that the salary covers. Companies want exempt employees to work full hours they are paying them for, especially since they are liable to have to pay overtime if job needs more hours than the salary covers, hence the monitoring of hours worked by exempt employees.
I personally don’t like working as an exempt paid person because of the pressure put on me by employer to work all the hours. I got paid better working as an hourly employee because I didn’t have work past my schedule ( 8 hour day, 40 hour work week). I would get overtime for any time over.
I am quite sure there was monitoring done on exempt employees before but the rules on the hours changed . Face the facts.

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grannybunny September 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm

I have worked jobs where I had to punch a clock — and, as a non-exempt employee — was paid accordingly, and have no problem with it. However, some managers do not appear to appreciate the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees when it comes to work-hours. The extreme control freak manager about whom I posted above had that problem. Most professional employees give more than the minimum required to get the job done. However, treating them all like irresponsible slackers who cannot be trusted to not abuse their employer’s time and attendance policies — over time — is counterproductive, and results in employees becoming disengaged and giving less, not more.

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the gold digger September 21, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Companies want exempt employees to work full hours they are paying them for, especially since they are liable to have to pay overtime if job needs more hours than the salary covers, hence the monitoring of hours worked by exempt employees.

No. Exempt employees do not get OT.

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Evil HR Lady September 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Right. Exempt employees don’t get overtime. Period.

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old_engineer September 22, 2017 at 3:50 pm

At one firm I was a contractor, BUT was forced to work a few 50 hour weeks in a futile attempt to work through a 1.5 year backlog. When asked what it would take to get rid of the backlog, one manager said 15 trained employees, with better computers and 6 months. At the time there were 4 contractors. He was demoted and sidelined for his honesty. And those 50 hour weeks? The contracting firm kept my overtime bonus. As a minority business, any complaints would result in my termination and blackballing in a small market.

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