Whether you use an old-fashioned paper punch system –or new online time tracking software, having a time card policy is important for your company.

Time fraud is an issue for many organizations –and costs billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. It’s also considered to be the number one source of accounting fraud and employee theft. For this reason, having a time card policy in place, and in writing is important –for showing your workers that you take time fraud seriously, and also informing them of the consequences of time theft.

By having a time card policy in place, your team will know what’s expected of them, and what will happen in the event that fraud is committed. Your employees, regardless of how long they have been with you, also need to be kept informed and up-to-date with ever changing procedures –something that a time card policy can help with.

With this in mind, here’s a look at a few things you should include in your time card policy.


Start by introducing the time tracking system that your company uses. This is especially important if you have a new system in place, and need to bring your workforce up to speed on it. It’s also important to explain the purpose of the time tracking system. Your workers may feel intimidated by the new system, so it’s important to ensure that they know that the system has been implemented to ensure accuracy. You want to ensure that the time that they’ve worked is accurately logged, so that they can be certain that they will be paid for the hours they have worked. Time cards are often viewed negatively, so it’s a good idea to take the time to explain the benefits of them to help get them on board with the process.


Filling your workers in on how the time tracking system works is another important part of the time card policy. Not only will this help to familiarize them with a new system, it’s also an important step in establishing accountability. By providing an explanation –verbally, and in writing, they will be able to be held accountable for their future actions.

Prohibited Actions

Every company will have different rules when it comes to what actions are prohibited with time cards. However, there are some issues that are universal. Things such as signing coworkers in –and clocking in for hours not worked are clearly against the rules –and this should be stated in the policy. Be sure to outline prohibited actions to ensure that your employees know and understand which things are not acceptable.


Exceptions to standard time card procedures could include things such as overtime, or vacation pay. You should be sure to include these exceptions in your time card policy so your team knows what they can expect –and so your payroll staff will know how to handle unique situations.


Finally, it is important that you include disciplinary actions that may be taken in the case of time card fraud, or if time cards are used improperly. You should outline the steps that supervisors should take if they discover –or suspect that an employee is committing time card fraud or misusing their time cards. In many cases, supervisors are able to handle a minor offense on their own before coming to you for further direction. But more serious cases –such as forging a time card, may require more drastic action, and in some cases can even lead to termination of employment. This should be outlined so your supervisors and the rest of your team are all on the same page, and understand the procedure for handling time card fraud.

While time card policies will vary considerably from company to company –ensuring that you have yours clearly stated in a written policy is important. Make sure each of your workers has a copy –and that they have signed –indicating that they have read, and agree to the policy and the terms and conditions therein. You should also ensure that any amendments or updates to the policy are read, and signed by your team. Finally, have a look at the U.S. Department of Labor to make sure that you’re clear on your responsibilities and obligations as an employer, and to ensure that your policies are in line with the law. It’s also a good idea to run any policies that you create by an attorney –just to be certain that they’re in compliance.