buddy punching

Buddy punching a common problem in the gig economy. In 2017, research showed that this loophole caused American employers more than $379 million every year. This loophole known as buddy punching is well known and a widespread problem. In this blog, we will go over what is buddy punching, how it happens and what you can do as a business owner to prevent it.

Buddy Punching? What’s that?

Buddy punching is the act of one employee asking another employee to clock in or out for them. It can result in many different outcomes, all of which hinders business owners. Many employees may see this is trivial to have their friend clock them on time when they are going to be late. Nevertheless, there are some employees who abused this loophole by receiving overtime pay or by taking days off of work.

In 2017, a survey of approximately one thousand employees stated that 16% had clocked in for a friend or employee. Regardless of the reason, buddy punching is fraudulent behaviour. Employees being paid for extra work that was not done is deceitful and immoral. In many cases, buddy punching can be grounds for termination of a contract, for both employees using this loophole to their advantage.

How do People Punch In?

Manual Time Clocks

This method is one of the oldest methods of keeping track of time and attendance. A majority of business today still use a manual time clock. Clocking in to an employee’s shift can include time sheets, time cards or even paper punch cards.

Punch cards are a major source of buddy punching. With manual entry, buddy punching is prevalent as any employee can punch in for others. With time sheets, employees can also input incorrect times to increase the number of hours worked. Manual time clocks are the riskiest method in terms of time collection methods and is something your company should consider if you use this method.

Mobile Phones

Nowadays, many people own a smartphone. The use of mobile apps to clock in is becoming increasingly more popular in the recent years. Celayix’s app, Team Xpress is a mobile app that can check in employees to their shifts. In addition to checking in and out from the app, Team Xpress can also track breaks, location and time and attendance.

Buddy punching is harder with mobile apps, but not impossible. Having individual user accounts for each employee puts up a barrier for buddy punching. The only way for this loophole to be prevalent is if employees share their password with another employee so they can check in to the site with the original employee’s credentials.

VOIP Call in System

Automatic call systems are great for companies where access to internet and smartphones are not feasible. The system has a series of automated prompts and commands that can record check in and check out times. The voice calls are then recorded and can be reviewed by managers.

Buddy punching can be quite easy depending on the manner that the VOIP call in system is being used. Having each employee registered to a one phone number reduces the likelihood of the loophole being abused. Without a registered phone number assigned to any employee, friends can call in for other employees and buddy punching can be abused. Managers would also have to regularly scrub through the phone calls to make sure the right employees are making the phone calls in to check into their shift. Another way managers can mitigate the risk of fraudulent behaviour is to have a phone at the job site that employees can check in from.

Online Time Sheets

Another method to clock in is through online time sheets. Using online time sheets gives employees autonomy to report their hours. Employees submit their hours and then managers approve of the time sheets. This method of keep track of time and attendance can cause a lot of arguments about time worked as employees are self-reporting. A great amount of trust must be established in order for online time sheets to be successful.

Since this method is mainly self-reporting, buddy punching can be easily done. The employee may not even need a buddy to falsify their hours worked. Before implementing this kind of time collection method, consider the cost to your company to fix all the mistakes in payroll hours.

Methods to Prevent Buddy Punching


One popular method to prevent buddy punching is to have a geofencing around the job site. Geofencing is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. This will create a circular boundary around the job site that once employees are inside the geofence, they will be able to check into their shift.

Geofencing prevents buddy punch through physical position. The employee must be inside the geofence to be able to check into their shift. If you are looking for a time collection method which includes geofencing, Celayix’s Team Xpress is one of your best bets.


Another popular method used is through biometrics. Biometric data, such as the employee’s fingerprint or face is very hard to duplicate and counterfeit. Also, fingerprints or an employee’s face cannot be lost or stolen. A couple devices that can enable your company to use biometric is a terminal, which scans fingerprints or a smartphone, to recognize faces. To decrease the chance of buddy punching even further, companies can also use fobs or key cards in conjunction to biometrics. If you happen to be looking for biometric systems to implement into your workflow, take a look at our collection of clocks with biometric systems integrated into them.

Conclusions About Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is a major problem that results in the theft of hours worked and money paid to employees. By using preventative measures, this fraudulent behaviour will be harder if not very difficult to carry out. If you would like to know about how Celayix can help you and your business with the prevention of buddy punching, feel free to contact us at our toll-free number or email us today!