Let’s talk about time theft. It’s an awkward topic and one that conjures up some difficult thoughts and conversations, and for this reason, it’s one of the most unexplored topics in business today. Time theft isn’t theft in the traditional sense – and because you often don’t see it, and there’s nothing physically missing, time theft doesn’t seem to raise the same alarm bells that other types of stealing do.
So What Is Time Theft?
Time theft is any act whereby an employee aims to get paid for more work than they did, and/or more work than their employer asked them to do.
In my experience, the second type, whereby employees work more than they are asked to by their employer, is by far the most expensive of the two. I see this commonly where staff who are rostered a normal shift, say 8:30 to 5:00, stay back until 5:30 or 6pm without any reference to their supervisor.
While this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, and having employees that are willing to do overtime when required is excellent, in an organisation with large numbers of staff, the extra time adds up quickly.
Just how quickly?
As an example, one of our clients employs about 150 staff. On average, over around a third of those staff were claiming an extra 30 minutes of overtime a day. At an average wage of $35 / hour, and at time and a half loading for overtime, that’s an average daily cost of over $2625. That’s $13K a week, or $680 000 per year
I’ll say it again. That’s $680 000 per year!
And that’s just for 30 minutes a day of overtime for a third of their staff. That’s a CRAZY big number and at the end of a year, is it any wonder that payroll budgets are hugely out of whack?
So how do you avoid this?
Firstly, let your staff know that its about looking after them! Overtime, isn’t great for us, and that’s why there’s a penalty rate associated with it. The key place to start is to let your staff know that you want them to get their work done inside work hours, then go and have their non-work time to themselves or with their family. As I always say to my staff, none of us have a family to support us while we work! We have jobs so we can support our families!
Secondly, put policies and procedures in place around overtime. It might sound harsh but the most effective way of doing this is to simply reject un-rostered overtime. If it wasn’t on the roster, then it won’t be paid. It teaches staff very quickly to work their work hours, and then get out of there, when it’s not worth their while.
If you need to roster overtime, then at least you know it in advance, and have budgeted for it. This gives you the opportunity to plan it with your staff, and them to plan it with their families. This is part of building a really good relationship with your employees and recognises that overtime isn’t an everyday thing.
If you do these things, and pay attention to getting your rosters right, and getting your staff to work the right hours, you will again be in control of your payroll. There’ll be no more payday surprises when the amount of money going out, is far more than was budgeted, and you’ll have happier, healthier staff who are leading better balanced lives. What’s not to like about that?
If you need help getting your wages under control, call Rype on 1300 420 026 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org