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Time clocks are an essential tool for most businesses – without accurate time records, employers risk paying hourly employees for hours they didn’t work or incurring costly audit fees due to non-compliant systems.

In today's fast-paced work environment, paper timesheets, archaic punch clocks, or spreadsheets no longer meet employer or employee needs. Many organizations are moving to the digital time and attendance solutions that allow them to streamline the time-tracking process. One innovative and efficient element within these systems is the option to use biometric time clocks. The benefits of biometric time clocks have made them a go-to solution for today's top employers.

How do biometric time clocks work?

You and your employees likely use some form of biometric data every day without even realizing it. Whether it's gathering data from a fingerprint, face, voice, or iris recognition, many of today's systems (e.g., smartphones and smart speakers) use biometric technology. This approach authenticates someone's identity using unique patterns and biometric identifiers, such as ridges on a finger or the sound waves in someone's voice.

When it comes to biometric clocks, the options for gathering employee data apply the same methods. Some systems make use of fingerprints and handprints, while others use iris scans, facial recognition, or voice recognition. TCP specializes in providing industry-leading fingerprint biometric time clocks and biometric scanner devices to support employers' needs for modern clocking in and out solutions.

What are the benefits of biometric time clocks?

Numerous benefits make a biometric clock an essential solution for any employer with employees who clock in and out.

A biometric time clock solution helps organizations like yours:

Prevent buddy punching: Organizations lose money when workers ask other employees to clock in on their behalf. A biometric time clock solution will help you prevent these "buddy punching" issues because the system requires an individual's biometric data to clock in.

Optimize employee productivity: Biometric time clocks are also convenient because employees always have their fingerprints with them. Passwords, badges, and ID cards aren't required to clock in. Employees can quickly get to work without being delayed by finding what they need to clock in by using a fingerprint scanner.

Maintain compliance: When it comes to ensuring you have accurate ways to collect data for time worked, biometric time clocks are typically the best option. With a streamlined connection from an employee's fingerprint to your time and attendance platform, there's little room for errors and issues that come with manual processes.

Make the most of modern tech: Today's systems are safe, easy to use, and installed quickly. As an alternative to standard biometric options, TCP's BioScan 7 contains all the benefits of a larger clock in a simple USB. Because biometric solutions only require a scanner and a finger, very little training is required. These features all make implementation and user adoption turn-key.

Based on what we hear from our clients, once you make the switch to biometric time clocks, you’ll likely wonder why you didn’t do so sooner.

What are the legal considerations for collecting biometric data?

Regardless of the methods you use, collecting sensitive employee data means you must ensure you comply with regulations around security, storage and general use. If you don't follow biometric privacy laws or have secure systems in place, you could be in serious trouble.

"Businesses need to be aware of the significant compliance requirements associated with implementing biometric time and attendance systems. An employer's failure to have a proper compliance program in place can result in significant liability,” according to a report from Business News Daily.

In 2021, the state of Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

"Under BIPA, private entities that utilize biometric information must have a written policy, schedule, and guidelines for its collection, retention, and destruction. BIPA also requires advance disclosure and a written release from the subject or employee whose information is going to be collected. It also severely restricts the entity’s right to disseminate biometric information,” according to the National Law Review.

It's not just Illinois that’s taking action about biometric data. The National Law Review also notes that five other states, including Texas, Washington, California, New York and Arkansas, have adopted new laws or expanded existing laws to include biometric identifiers.

At a minimum, if you’re faced with an external audit, you want to be sure your system is SOC-2 compliant and that your workforce’s biometric data is secure. Fortunately, TCP’s time clocks meet or exceed biometric security and storage standards.

How to manage employee concerns during implementation?

You may find that some employees are hesitant to use biometric time clocks. If that’s the case in your organization, make sure your communications include and address the following topics:
  • Be transparent about how employee fingerprint or other biometric authentication data is used and why you decided to use biometrics.
  • Communicate that your time and attendance software collects, stores and uses biometric data only for identification and fraud prevention purposes.
  • Emphasize the value biometric time clocks provide to employees. These clocks help streamline time and attendance approvals, allow employees to clock in and out without wasting time, and reduce the need for back-and-forth verification. All of these benefits mean more accurate payroll data and timely pay for employees.
  • Reassure employees of your commitment to security and your intentions for the use of the data by crafting and distributing a biometric policy. (Need help drafting a policy? Check out our sample biometric policy.)

Effective business operations require that you collect employee time in a way that is easy for employees to use, accurately captures the data, and prevents fraud. Each business has unique needs and requirements, which is why TCP offers a configurable biometric fingerprint scanner as well as customizable time clocks. For more strategies and tips about using biometric time clocks, read our Time Clock Selection Guide.
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