Stamping the card: waste of time or guarantee? Why have Time & Attendance Software
We see again a cult scene from the first “Fantozzi” (1975): Paolo Villaggio/Fantozzi runs along a long corridor, incited by his colleagues, under the watch of the office manager who dictates the rules (“No, don’t help him, otherwise he is disqualified”). He falls, struggles to get up, arrives with the last forces at the old-style stamping machine and manages to stamp at 8:30 sharp, before collapsing to the ground exhausted.
45 years have passed: how are things today?
There are some new rules, which have introduced obligations but also guarantees for workers since 2000. Let us first mention a recent ruling of the EU Court of Justice (14 May 2019, case C55-18). It is based on a previous Directive on the health and safety of workers and states that a system for recording daily working time must be established to guarantee the employee’s right to overtime. In other words, how can a worker prove that he is working overtime if there is no system to calculate the actual length of his working day?
Therefore, the judgment re-read the stamping of the time card not as a “nuisance” for the worker, but as a precise right of the worker.
Timestamps as a right and guarantee
In Italy, where SMEs predominate, smaller companies often do not have a coded time attendance system or time attendance software. Instead, they consider all workers present unless they are on leave, on holiday or sick. And in larger companies, usually workers and office workers have no difficulty in punching in, while graduate employees are often intolerant of this type of control.
The management of stamps is now intertwined with the matter of safety in the company. In a company that employs around ten people, it is not difficult for the secretary to know who is present in the event of a fire or other event leading to the evacuation of the workplace. But if the number of employees is higher, how do you know who is there without a safe and reliable attendance record?
Time stamps are therefore, in many cases, a right and a guarantee for workers.
And the methodologies have evolved compared to Fantozzi’s old stamping machine.
The introduction of cloud-based presence management software has led to various virtual stamping solutions. There is no lack of updated versions of stamping machines, but stamping through computers or smartphones is becoming widespread. Often the stamping from the phone is “geolocalized”, so you can know precisely whether the worker has done it from the workplace. This function is frequently used when there are more than one locations of operation or the employee works with a third party.
The risks connected with the protection of privacy in the case of geolocation have led the Italian Guarantor (measure no. 350 of 08/09/2016) to intervene in this matter. Apps for virtual stamping can be used, especially for those who regularly carry out off-site activities, but with certain rules to protect the worker.
The QR Code can also be used for virtual stamping. The methodology is useful where it is not possible to use a smartphone, for example in places without internet connection, such as isolated sites: workers can use a badge with QR code that must be “read” through a tablet or other similar tool.
But the “badge snippets” that have been talked about a lot in recent years have pushed technology to find additional tools to make sure that the stamping is really done by the worker and not by his friends or acquaintances. The Public Administration, with the so-called Concreteness Law (Law no. 56 of June 19, 2019) has introduced systems of biometric identity verification (for example, through fingerprinting or iris) and video surveillance for employees. It is clear that this mode is also suitable for disputes about possible violation of privacy and in fact the Guarantor has intervened repeatedly to highlight the risks when using both biometrics and video surveillance.
The last frontiers of time attendance
But the last (disturbing) frontier for presence detection is the microchip under the skin: you become a bit bionic but you can also buy drinks from the company’s vending machine, make photocopies, take the elevator without having to use other identification badges.
It really seems too much. It is better to rely on a modern and flexible time and attendance software, such as the HR platform of HR-Assistant. A time attendance program guarantees both the company’s right to control working hours and the protection of the worker, their safety and their right to overtime recognition. To find out how HR-Assistant addresses the issue of time stamps click here