Time and Attendance

What Is Time and Attendance?

What Is Time and Attendance?

Time & Attendance helps you:

  • Organize and track employee hours and schedules
  • Prevent time theft and improve employee accountability
  • Track and monitor employee time, activities and productivity
  • Automate payroll and benefits processing and delivery
  • Comply with industry and government regulations

Organize and track employee hours and schedules

Gone are the days of filing in one-by-one, standing in line, taking your timecard and feeding it into a machine at the beginning and end of your day. The rise of flex schedules, freelancers and remote workers has muddied employers’ abilities to organize their labor cohesively.

Enter time and attendance software.

Workers arrive and leave at different times, need to hit certain hour requirements, swap shifts and deal with all the complicated scenarios that come with life outside of the workplace. With more than 158 million people projected to go to work in the U.S. in 2020, the mess of attendance tracking can pile up on supervisors quickly.

TAA software provides coordinators with the ability to automate or streamline employee scheduling and clock punching. A rise in mobile and web-based time clocks benefits off-site workers, with the ability to verify worker identification (which we’ll get to later).

Time and attendance also simplifies scheduling. Most vendors offer drag-and-drop interfaces and project employee hours during a pay period.

On the employee side, some solutions allow them to input their preferred schedules and request shift swaps. Some take it a step further and allow schedule managers and workers to communicate in-platform about assignments.

Increase employee accountability and reduce time theft

According to a 2017 market survey by TSheets, U.S. employers lose at least $373 million annually to “buddy punching,” the slang term for employees punching in or out for fellow employees. While it’s almost never malicious, showing up late or leaving early every once in a while adds up, and can cost a business hundreds of labor hours annually.

Both software-and hardware-based time clocks have several ways of preventing this. Here are some features that both types of platform enlist:

Software or web-based

  • GPS tracking and geofencing to make sure a worker isn’t punching in from home or the bus
  • Facial recognition in conjunction with a device’s camera to verify employee identity


  • Employee badge or fob scanning
  • Facial recognition from the manual time clock
  • Biometrics, like fingerprint scanning

TAA software extends beyond just authenticating when workers go on and off the clock, though. It can also make sure time theft and distractions are avoided once the employees are on site, too.

Track and monitor employee time, activities and productivity

TAA solutions do much more than tell your employees when to show up and leave and what work to do, though.

While time clocks are the “Attendance,” the “Time” part can be something else entirely: what employees are doing while they’re on the clock.

A survey by Salary.com showed that 60% of employees admit to some nonproductive activities at work, with more than 20% of workers claiming to waste up to five hours a week.

Making sure workers stay on task is a growing issue as more jobs go remote and become internet reliant. Because of this, some software allow for productivity management, whether it be through blocking certain websites, tracking screenshots, video or keystrokes of a worker’s monitor, tracking GPS location in real time or just overall productivity tracking on projects.

It’s not just productivity either. According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, roughly a fifth of data breaches come from miscellaneous errors, like sending sensitive data to the wrong recipient, and 34% originate from within a company. Employee monitoring software lets bosses protect from negligent practices that could lead to a leak.

One thing for software shoppers to consider, however, is the ethics of employee monitoring and how far they are willing to go with it.

Automate payroll and benefits processing and delivery

Employees need to receive compensation. TAA applications can automate that process by delivering payroll internally or streamline it by allowing for easy data export into Excel, CSV or PDF format, which can then be delivered to a third-party payroll provider or accountant.

But it’s not just about cash, either. Most TAA systems have some form of benefits tracking, be it the accrual of paid time off, sick days or counting time until a benefits threshold is achieved. It can intertwine with scheduling modules, allowing employees to request and employers to deny/approve time off. A shared view lets managers and workers both see if the employee qualifies for time off and what times are best to use it.

TAA solutions should:

  • Enable export to a third-party payroll provider.
  • Track employee hours in the context of overtime, and assist managers with managing it.
  • Track benefits and their accrual.

Comply with industry and government regulations

How up-to-date are you on current labor legislation?

Keeping track of legal changes is not only time consuming, but it can also be hard to interpret with all of its jargon. And, unless you’ve really got your finger on the pulse of both your state and federal legal systems, you could be blindsided by or completely miss new regulations, throwing your business into compliance turmoil.

TAA tools enable businesses to offer healthcare coverage, make sure employees are taking proper breaks and meet labor law posting requirements.

Some vendors employ staff specifically to monitor changes in legislation and consult with businesses about compliance with laws like the Affordable Care Act, Fair Labor Standards Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act. Others provide support on industry standards like the Defense Contract Audit Agency requirements.

Different companies have to be compliant for different things, and TAA software can automate and ensure that your business meets all relevant requirements.


What is Time and Attendance?

Time and attendance is an aspect of workforce time management, either through time clocks, time tracking software or hardware. At its core, a TAA system is responsible for the automation or streamlining of employee hours logging and tracking. It can (and should) include other features that assist with time management, like activity monitoring, benefits management or costing calculation.

Because there are so many different business types out there, TAA systems are built in various ways. Many of the industry leaders started out of a need for better internal time management for a company and spun off into a new brand entirely, building its foundation out of those principles. ClockShark, for example, was developed internally by a construction company with a focus on managing remote labor before it became a competitor in the field service industry.

Every business needs to track its employees’ labor to properly compensate them, and TAA provides a solution for the different needs of different businesses.

Why is Time and Attendance Important?

Every business has workers, and every worker needs to be adequately compensated. To do that, knowing what and how much work was done is essential.

The utilization of tracking time and attendance takes the labor out of labor tracking, doing away with manual time cards and hour tallying.

TAA solutions optimize worker and resource efficiency by increasing visibility and accountability. It automates tedious and time-consuming tasks like wage compensation calculation, payroll deployment and benefits tracking. It can make sure businesses stay in compliance with labor regulations.

In short, TAA is important because it increases profitability and productivity, and keeps business owners out of court.

What Features Should I Look For in a Time and Attendance System?

This varies from business to business and person to person. But there are some overarching capabilities that all enterprises should look for in a TAA system:

  • User-Friendly: Let’s say you own a hardware store. You’re going to have some employees that can build a chainsaw or lawn mower from nothing but a pile of parts blindfolded and dangling by their feet with a hand tied behind their back. But tasking those same employees with clocking in and out on a computer is the equivalent of asking them to fly a spaceship (wisdom I’ve gleaned from personal experience). Making a TAA system as accessible to workers as it is to managers is essential.
  • Time Management: At a bare minimum, TAA products should log when employees are on and off the clock. Otherwise, why even get one? But the standards extend beyond that into schedule building, overtime calculation, time-off tracking, missed punch correction, productivity monitoring and more. A good TAA system will automate as many time-tracking related tasks as possible, including exporting relevant data to payroll.
  • Security: This applies three-fold. A TAA system should:
    • Make sure employee information is safe.
    • Give employees access to the parts of the system they need to do their jobs. A line cook shouldn’t get access to change their punch-in time, but maybe their shift supervisor should if they miss a punch, if upper management wants to delegate time clock correcting to them.
  • Compliance: Any shift scheduling capabilities need to be paired with policy rules to stay within the bounds of labor law. Your shift builder shouldn’t let you schedule a worker for 60 hours a week with no overtime calculation.
  • Integrations: Do you already have a project tracker like Trello or Slack? Are you using a payroll provider like Quickbooks? A good TAA system should cooperate with your existing workflow infrastructure.
  • Business-Specific Functionalities: Each business functions differently, and should think about what they need out of a TAA system. Do you have three offices or have work sites that change regularly? You might need mobile and GPS support. Are your employees prone to falling down YouTube rabbit holes? Perhaps you want a time tracker with the ability to screenshot workers’ monitors. Do you have salaried and hourly wage workers? Your TAA software will need to be able to handle that. There is a multitude of TAA solutions on the market, and there likely is one designed to handle a business just like yours.

How Do I Select a Time and Attendance System?

When it comes time to automate your time and attendance needs, choosing the right solution is important. There’s a lot to consider. Does this system fit the needs of a company my size? Will it adequately work with the location of my employees? How tech-competent are my employees? How much should I monitor my workers’ activities? How do I need/want my employees to clock in/out? Do I need business intelligence insights and productivity evaluation?

It can get overwhelming quickly. SelectHub exists to bear some of the load. We have created a requirements template that can be tooled to your business’s needs, and our Features and Requirements Checklist can give you a more detailed view of what different products offer to help you start constructing your ideal vendor.

Or, if you’d rather have some hands-on assistance in the process, we’d love to help! You can call us at 877-692-2896 or email [email protected] to get in touch with our team for individualized vendor recommendations.

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Time and Attendance articles are written and edited by:

Mariah Hansen

Lead Editor

As the lead editor at SelectHub, Mariah edits and manages content for more than 40 different software categories, as well as writing for a couple of them herself.

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Time and Attendance System Features and Requirements Checklist


Time and attendance tracking is one of the most vital day-to-day operations of any business. It may seem trivial, but the management of hours is equally important for all members of an organization. Work times determine payment and benefits, influencing financial decisions. With the right time and attendance software features, this crucial function is automated and streamlined. An all-inclusive system can handle standard scheduling capabilities as well as more advanced functions like reporting.

Alainia ConradTime and Attendance System Features and Requirements Checklist
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