What Is Time Theft?

Time theft refers to a period of time for which an employee is paid, but during which they are not actively working.

What Are Some Examples of Time Theft at Work?

Examples of time theft at work include:

  • Wasting time deliberately and excessively
  • Hiding from a manager
  • Falsifying a time sheet
  • Clocking in before arriving at work or after leaving
  • Wasting time online or on a cell phone
  • Doing personal activities during working hours
  • Taking excessively long breaks
  • Sleeping in the workplace

What Are the Different Types of Time Theft at Work?

The different types of time theft at work include:

  • Wasting time: long chats with colleagues, hiding from a manager, taking frequent breaks, etc.
  • Fraud: falsifying a time sheet, buddy punching, working more slowly to do overtime, etc.

How Can Time Theft at Work Be Prevented?

Strategies for preventing time theft at work include:

  • Using time and attendance software to keep track of employees’ working hours
  • Offering attractive and competitive pay and working conditions to encourage productivity
  • Implementing surveillance systems if required
  • Holding performance evaluations more frequently
  • Creating a recognition culture within the company
  • Building a trust-based relationship with employees

What Are the Laws for Time Theft at Work?

Time theft can be sanctioned according to a company’s HR policies. HR managers can, therefore, implement disciplinary measures, which may go as far as dismissal.

However, time theft must be intentional and the employer must be able to prove that the employee intended to commit fraud if it goes this far.

Legislation on time theft can vary from one place to another.

What Are the Sanctions Applicable to Employees Involved in Time Theft?

Sanctions for employees involved in time theft can range from a simple warning to dismissal for gross misconduct. Each business must manage cases of time theft individually.

As time theft is difficult to prove, some experts advise using specialized lawyers to help HR managers with the process.

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