Buddy Punching

What Is Buddy Punching?

Buddy punching is when one employee clocks in or out for another employee. This practice typically occurs when the latter is late to arrive or wishes to leave early without officially recording their absence or departure. Buddy punching is considered time theft and is illegal in many regions, as it leads to inaccurate time records and potential payroll fraud.

Key Features of Buddy Punching

  • Time Theft: Involves employees falsifying their working hours.
  • Policy Violation: Generally against company policy and can be grounds for disciplinary action.
  • Peer Complicity: Requires the cooperation of at least one other employee.
  • Ethical and Legal Issues: Raises ethical concerns and can lead to legal consequences for both the employees and the company.

How Does Buddy Punching Work?

  1. Arrangement: An employee makes an arrangement with a colleague to clock in or out on their behalf.
  2. Action: The assisting employee uses the absent employee’s timecard or digital login to record presence at work.
  3. Detection: Often detected through discrepancies in reported hours or security footage.
  4. Consequences: Can lead to disciplinary actions, including termination, and possible legal action.

Best Practices for Preventing Buddy Punching

  • Use Advanced Timekeeping Systems: Implement biometric systems like fingerprint scanners or facial recognition that require individual identification.
  • Clear Policies and Consequences: Establish clear policies regarding timekeeping and the consequences of buddy punching.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits of timekeeping records to detect any inconsistencies.
  • Educate Employees: Regularly communicate with employees about the importance of accurate time reporting and the implications of misconduct.


Through time and attendance software that flags unusual patterns, audits, and security cameras.

Employees caught buddy punching can face disciplinary actions, including termination, and potentially legal consequences.

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