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Buddy Punching: Sounds Cordial But It’ll Cost You.


Everyone wants to be a pal, a good guy, a buddy. Sometimes this means helping out with small favours, like buddy punching. But these “small favours” can add up to big losses for your company.


What is Buddy Punching?

Buddy punching is what you call it when one employee asks a co-worker to clock in on their behalf. It might be because they are running late and need someone to punch in for them so their supervisor doesn’t see that they’re tardy. It could be a one-off, or it could be a chronic behaviour. Or it might even be more nefarious. There have been more extreme cases where employees use buddy punching to take entire days off work or make it look like they’ve put in overtime hours. Either way, it’s time theft, a way employees trick their employer into paying them for time not actually worked.

To make buddy punching possible, employees just need to share their personal clock in information, like usernames and passwords, with their pal – or shall we say accomplice? And if a company is still using a punch clock or paper timesheets, it’s even easier for someone to simply stamp their “buddy’s” time card. However, there are more extreme cases of employees using buddy punching to take entire days off work or accrue extra overtime. In short, some employees use it to trick their employer into paying them for large chunks of time not actually worked.

If you think this couldn’t happen at your company, with your completely honest staff, think again.  In a 2018 Time Tracking survey commissioned by T-Sheets, 62% of Canadian employees who track time admit to time theft. That’s quite astonishing. It makes you wonder what other dishonest practices they might be up to. But make no mistake, for a small business where every penny counts, money lost to buddy punching can be devastating.

Let’s break it down. If you have 50 employees and more than 50% admit to doing it, we’ll assume 25 do it, say, once a pay period. Now we’ll assume it benefits the other employee by at least 15 mins (otherwise why do it?). That’s 6.25 hrs per pay period. When you extrapolate that over an entire year, the losses really add up. And the numbers in this example are likely pretty conservative.



How Do You Stop Buddy Punching?

To prevent buddy punching and the significant costs associated with it, most companies are coming out of the dark ages of punch clocks and paper time sheets and turning towards more sophisticated – and tamper-proof – methods of time tracking.

One of these methods is biometrics. Biometrics use a person’s unique physical characteristics such as facial recognition, iris scans, fingerprint scans, or other methods to authenticate a person’s identity to grant access to a protected system or sensitive data – or to clock in or out. Can’t fake a fingerprint to buddy punch. Check out how TimeWellScheduled biometrics solutions can help with your fraudulent time tracking and buddy punching issues here.

Another solution to buddy punching is the use of geofencing. Geofencing uses GPS to define a specific physical location where employees must be to clock in or out. Find out how TimeWellScheduled geofencing solutions can improve the security of your time tracking here


Buddy Punching can be a serious problem for any business but results can be particularly devastating for small companies. Let TimeWellScheduled help with your time tracking needs.  Contact us today.

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