Time and Attendance Systems

Time and Attendance Systems

Biometric Time Clock Options

Google Plus One LinkedIn Print

Biometric time clocks are high-security, high-accuracy systems - and as such, they're not necessary for all businesses. They are useful, however, for companies that have a problem with the practice of "buddy-punching", where workers punch in or out for their tardy or absent coworkers. This practice can be costly to employers, which end up paying wages to workers who haven't earned them.

With paper punch cards or other conventional time-clock systems, this can be hard to prevent. The addition of a biometric component to a time-clock system can stop buddy-punching the first day it is installed.


A biometric time clock uses a distinctive physical characteristic of each employee, such as a fingerprint or a retinal scan, to make sure that they are actually present when punching in or out. Combined with biometric time tracking software, this gives the employer an accurate and nearly fraud-proof system for measuring workplace productivity.

Software can take data from the time clock and automatically drop it into a database, which can be used to refine required labor estimates. Specific uses and benefits will vary from business to business, but one popular benefit of this type of analysis is understanding seasonal variations in hours worked, allowing employers to bring on temporary help during the busiest seasons to avoid the expense of excessive overtime.

A biometric time clock is useful for those employers whose workers may clock in early or stay late for overtime. It completely removes the temptation for an employee who's running late to call a coworker and ask him to punch in for him. Instead of hiding attendance problems and risking hidden resentments between employees, the biometric time clock makes attendance problems visible to the employer. Employees understand that they will be held accountable and that no one receives special treatment.

Fingerprint scanner vs. biometric time clock

The fingerprint and hand geometry systems are the most commonly used time and attendance systems. Iris scanners, however, are very accurate. They might also be the most hygienic because they don't require physical contact, which could be an advantage in a health care setting. That said, vendors of products like hand sensors will argue that their products are no less hygienic than when employees use the same doorknobs or shake hands.

While iris systems are the most accurate, other systems are also incredibly precise. For instance, vein patterns are 100 times more unique than fingerprints and used by institutions like New York University Medical Center to identify their patients.

Fingerprint scanners are relatively cheap and easy to install. They also have lower false acceptance rates than the other widely used system, the hand geometry scanner. So, they're less likely to falsely confuse two fingerprints, which is helpful when considering a fingerprint scanner vs. biometric time clock.

While the hand geometry system has been around the longest, it can fail to work when someone's weight changes or as a person ages. Some vendors store multiple images of a hand and routinely update the template after each scanning, compensating for any such potential changes.

While hand geometry has a higher false acceptance rate, it actually has a lower false reject rate than the fingerprint system. This means that it's less likely to reject a person's actual hand scan.

Ready to Compare Time and Attendance Systems Price Quotes?