What Is Time Theft, and How Can You Prevent It?

Have you heard of the term ‘time theft?’ Also known as ‘wage theft,’ this type of theft is more subtle and harder to detect than being robbed or ripped off outright - in fact, you may not even realize that it’s happening in your own business!

Common examples of time theft include: 

  • Buddy-punching

  • Unauthorized overtime

  • Over-extended breaks

  • Early arrivals

  • Late departures

So, how do you know if you’re susceptible to time theft? The simple explanation is that if you own or operate a business, you already are. The key is identifying your vulnerabilities and correcting them. These small changes will add up and can save you thousands in the long run.

Below, we’re outlining simple ways to overcome these common types of time theft.


Have you ever been the victim of buddy-punching? This type of time theft occurs when one employee asks another employee to clock in for them so they don’t get in trouble or lose out on pay. This type of cheating the system is simply staff members trying to earn a little extra cash - but employers can suffer huge consequences by paying for work that their employees did not do.

So - how can you prevent buddy-punching?

One of the easiest ways to combat this type of time theft is by implementing a biometric time clock. This type of tool requires employers to clock in and out via a machine equipped with facial recognition - meaning they have to be physically present in order to clock in, clock out, and get paid.

Harri’s Total Talent Solution includes a ‘Manage’ module with a feature called TeamHub. TeamHub is a cutting edge tool that helps hospitality managers track employee time precisely, automate the payroll process, and monitor and optimize workplace culture. Employee hours are tracked through biometric time clocking which automate employee time tracking and eliminate wage miscalculations from your organization. Employee timesheets are also created automatically. 

Additionally, this data can be sent to an existing major payroll provider, thus streamlining your payroll process. 

Unauthorized Overtime & Breaks

Unauthorized overtime is easy to fix with a digital platform that allows employers to review and approve or reject requested employee overtime. With Harri’s TeamLive module, employers can check staff availability, assign shifts, and respond to changes and time off requests, all from one mobile-first platform.

Regarding unauthorized or over-extended breaks, there are a few simple steps employers can take to minimize this type of wage and time theft. With certain digital platforms, employees have the ability to create alerts for overtime, breaks, no-shows, and no-clock-outs. By creating alerts, you’ll be notified if an employee is consistently overextending their breaks and can then step in to solve the problem.

Early Arrivals & Late Departures

Early arrivals and late departures - even by a few minutes - can add up quickly and cost you big. The best way to handle this is by having a manager oversee your staff’s schedules. With TeamHub, managers have to be physically present and provide authorization in the form of a PIN in order for employees to clock in early or clock out late.

A smart team tracking platform should also monitor and optimize workplace culture. In addition to biometric time clocking, Harri's TeamHub does this by gathering employee feedback through questions and surveys given to employees at the beginning or end of their shifts.