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Updated: Sep 5, 2019

A Suggested Policy for Handling Forgetful Employees

"We are just human and forgetful right?"

This is an often heard excuse provided by employees when confronted to explain their missing time logs. Makes sense right?

Companies who are exceedingly tolerant of employee forgetfulness fall into a trap of abuse. This is because repeat offenders are encouraged as this unscrupulous practice spreads to other employees. Some even use this excuse to escape from tardiness or undertime deductions.

When missing time logs are discovered, some HR staff runs after these employees by:

  1. Calling up these erring employees to simply request to supply the missing time log.

  2. Some remind them to file a "Time Correction or Timekeeping Offense Form".

  3. Others resort to examining of guard log books.

  4. Viewing of CCTV footage to gather the exact time.

Some companies have a "strike 3" policy wherein employees will be penalized only after committing this offense 3 times. Although a better policy, this is tedious to manually implement as this entails filing of forms and tracking the number of offenses committed by each employee.

Needless to say, the above tasks consume huge amounts of time and is a tremendous load on HR personnel. Furthermore, this causes undue delay of payroll processing.

What does the DOLE say?

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), employers may deduct compensation for forgetting to log in or out. In such case, if an employee cannot prove the exact time he/she arrived or departed the workplace, he may not be paid for that day. In other words, the burden of proof is on the employee, not on the employer.

Running after these erring employees is not required under the law. However, in actual practice, most companies perform some form of follow up. It is when employees expect that follow-ups are to be made that problems arise.

Suggested Policy:

In order to streamline attendance and payroll processing and reduce the man-hours spent by HR staff, we suggest the following policy:

  1. Adopt a low tolerance policy for timelog forgetfulness. This must be clearly spelled out in your Employee's Code of Conduct, Manual, Office Memorandum or similar documentation. For companies transitioning to this type of policy, discussions and consultations with labor representatives is highly recommended before implementing.

  2. Remind employees that reviewing of their own timelogs is their individual responsibility and the HR Department/Staff will no longer run after these employees. Provide employees a tool so a review of their time log records can be conducted on their own (self-service). This review should be done by each employee before the end of every payroll cutoff.

  3. Inform employees that they should initiate action in case they find missing timelogs. For example, filing the appropriate form in a timely manner. The cutoff for submission must be clearly defined as late submissions will no longer be accepted.

Technology to the Rescue:

Fortunately there are modern systems that help HR personnel reduce or eliminate this task. Without mentioning specific brands, here are what advanced some HR systems can accomplish:

  1. A biometric or time capture system that automatically notifies the employee of missing time logs. The system has a confirmation function to ensure that notifications have been received. Click here to see an example of such biometric system

  2. A Web Portal or Intranet that allows employees to review on their own their time log history. Click here to see an example.

  3. If the company has a "strike 3" policy or similar rule, the HR System can track the number of offenses committed automatically. This will remove the burden of manually tracking that will consume so many man-hours.

  4. The Web Portal or Intranet must allow employees be to file the necessary forms on-line and automatically route to the respective approvers. This will eliminate paper filing that is tedious and subject to mishandling.

#forgetfulemployees #hrguide

Disclaimer: The ideas, comments and suggestions expressed in this article are solely the author's and are not intended to replace proper consultation with DOLE officials. It is your duty to check with DOLE before implementing any of the above.

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