In order to pay employees for labor, companies need a way to track their time. One method is with time and attendance software (also known as time clock software). Even though time clock software didn’t debut until the 1990s, various methods of tracking employees’ time go as far back as the late 1800s when the first time clock became available.
There are several types of time tracking methods, both with hardware and software, such as punch cards, digital time clocks, biometrics and web-based time clocks. Time clock software is typically deployed both on-premise and in the cloud, and some software allows for integration to physical time clocks. Time clock software even can integrate with payroll software.
Time Clock Market Trends
Time clock software has many benefits, such as eliminating manual time tracking, helping managers schedule shifts or assign projects, better compliance with overtime and other labor laws, and reduced instances of buddy punching (when an employee clocks in and out for another employee) and time theft.
Time clock software includes other features aside from time tracking, such as vacation/sick leave request and management, messaging for communicating with managers and other employees, and reporting and analytics.
The time clock software market includes several vendors that have been in the business for a long time, such as ISGUS, Wasp Barcode Technology, Hawkeye Technology and Mitrefinch Ltd. However, there have been new vendors and trends coming into the market in recent years.
One such trend is the change in federal regulations regarding overtime pay. In May of 2016, the Obama administration released a new rule mandating that employers must pay overtime to employees that currently earn a salary of under $47,476 if the employee works more than 40 hours a week. Previously, the overtime rule only applied to employees making less than $23,660.
Businesses may have to adjust to this new change by restructuring their employee base, be it converting salaried employees into hourly employees or hiring temporary workers to pick up the work if overtime is forbidden. The new regulation should go into effect Dec. 1. However, the House of Representatives has approved a measure delaying the rule until June 2017.
Another trend in time clock software is mobile functionality with clocking in and out. There has been a rise in telecommuting employees and remote workforces in the last several years. Having to monitor the hours of those employees can be challenging and inefficient. More vendors have mobile capability, either as an app or via a web browser, as a way for those employees to record hours worked. Some mobile features include a geolocation capability that records the exact location of the employee during the work day.
And finally, a new trend is the rise of biometric time tracking in the effort to combat time theft and buddy punching. Biometrics uses an employee’s facial or other physical recognition (such as fingerprint, handprint or eyes) when clocking in or out.
Top 5 Emerging Vendors
There are several new time clock software vendors that have come onto the market within the last few years. And they’re poised to continue offering features and benefits both in 2017 and beyond.
We’ve selected five of those vendors – they are:
Date founded: 2011 (but Humanity platform launched in 2016)
Location: San Francisco, CA
What’s unique: ShiftPlanning is a workforce management software that combines employee scheduling, a web-based time clock, payroll and general human resources features. In August 2016, it debuted its new Humanity platform, a more intuitive solution that includes all features of the ShiftPlanning software, but in a streamlined user interface. Other notable features of Humanity include a more robust mobile app and faster product upgrades. ShiftPlanning will be rolling out additional features, such as one-click integration to most HR and payroll solutions, more automated scheduling and a tablet-based app for clocking in and out.
Date founded: 2015
Location: Edmonton, British Columbia
What’s unique: TimeBison is a new time clock solution for small and large businesses. As it’s based in the cloud, TimeBison is accessible from any device with an internet connection. Managers can track regular and overtime hours as well as accrual of vacation and sick leave. Employees can also check their leave balance and submit vacation requests for managers to approve. TimeBison supports companies with multiple locations at no extra cost. There is a 30-day free trial, and pricing starts at $7 per employee per month (for either the web-based time clock or the wall-mounted touchscreen time clock).
Date founded: 2015
Location: San Francisco, CA
What’s unique: Homebase is a freemium time clock and scheduling app for small retail, food and other service-based industries. Users can sign up for a free account with basic features, including a time clock, tracking regular and overtime hours, tracking breaks, full employee scheduling functionality, unlimited location support and direct messaging to individual employees. Homebase offers two paid plans: Essentials and Plus. At $9.95 a month, the Essentials plan has compliance and alerts features (e.g., shift reminders, no-show alerts, setting overtime rules and storing time records for up to four years), records feedback of employees’ shifts and offers the ability to send a blast message to all employees. The Plus plan, at $29.95, includes more advanced features, such as the ability to track time of salaried employees, the ability to track overtime for multiple locations and a company-level dashboard, to name a few.
Date founded: January 2016
What’s unique: Timeular is a new time and attendance vendor that was founded this past January. Its new product, called ZEIº, is currently in beta testing mode (via a Kickstarter campaign) and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2017. ZEIº is a device that’s in the shape of a polygon, and each side reflects the task that’s being recorded on. It connects wirelessly with a computer or mobile device to record the time of the task. Users can write, draw or add stickers that represent the task they’re tracking. ZEIº is intended for companies that need to record time for billing clients (e.g., professional services or project management) and don’t want to handle the hassle of keeping time sheets. There will be a free version that offers most features, but Timeular will offer a paid version (ZEIº PRO) that integrates with time-tracking and other software, and includes a weekly productivity report and recommendation. As it’s still in beta mode, we’ll continue to track this vendor as its product becomes finalized.
Date founded: 2013
Location: Albuquerque, NM
What’s unique: ClockShark is a mobile time-tracking app for the construction and field-service industries. Employees in the field can view their work schedules, and log in and out via their mobile devices. ClockShark includes a geolocation capability that verifies the employee is at the right work location. All users participate in a 14-day free trial. ClockShark has two pricing plans: one for small businesses (for $5 per employee per month) and the other for businesses with 30 employees or more (businesses must contact ClockShark directly for pricing). Both plans include an unlimited number of employees and time punches, labor costs and budget tracking, employee scheduling, integration with QuickBooks, a geolocation feature, and email and phone support.