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Overtime & Attendance Management

Not only is overtime seen as one of the biggest expenses for any company, but it can incur expensive and time-consuming CCMA cases or labour-related difficulties, low morale and abuse of company time and finances. Proper management and tracking of overtime plays a key role in correctly paying employees for additional time worked.

Firstly, overtime should be approved and an overtime policy should be present in your employment contract. In many cases, employees would slack off during the day, and use overtime to complete their work. Once this becomes a trend, companies could be paying out massive amounts to employees who have no reason to work overtime. It falls on management to monitor and encourage work progress during normal work hours, to ensure that overtime is only taken when absolutely necessary.

Many companies restrict internet access or only allow for smoke breaks during certain times, in order to increase productivity. Morale comes into play here. Efficient workers might feel that they are doing the heavy lifting, so to speak, while other employees take numerous breaks, longer lunches etc, and end up working extra hours to catch up on their tasks for the day. Thus, efficient workers feel that they are not being rewarded, while employees who “milk the system” reap all the benefits.

Overtime should be the exception, not the rule! If you find that a large part of your employees work overtime on a daily basis, it might point to an issue with understaffing / lack of competent staff.

With new technology at our disposal, some companies have implemented clocking systems that link directly to workstations, allowing them to see which employee is active on the system. Also, mobile clocking has made it easy for companies to track their off-site employees, keeping tabs on when they travel, hours they spend in meetings etc. Installing a Time and Attendance system will allow you to keep track of your employees’ comings and goings, ensuring that no-one can claim overtime when they were, in fact, not present at work. Of course, employees will still need to be managed, tracking productivity during the day. Should a query come up after payday, an accurate, secure T&A log will ensure that your company is protected from any wrongful claims or lawsuits.


Attendance should be a relatively easy task, however, when dealing with large-scale employees, it could become a little muddled. It is very important to keep track of employee absenteeism, be it because of sick leave, family responsibility or any number of valid reasons.

As soon as absenteeism becomes a trend, investigation is required from a managerial side. Absent employees could have a negative morale impact on the rest of your staff. Said employee’s workload will have to be dealt with and it often falls on co-workers to pick up the slack. This, inadvertently, could lead to extra overtime costs. It also steals time from management, trying to gage the reason and/or trend and finding a solution to the problem.

With a Time and Attendance system, it is easy to keep track of late arrivals, absent employees, work hours and to an extent even the habits of your employees. This also help enforce the same rules to all employees. If one central system is used to track absenteeism, no exceptions can be made by management to disparate between employees. This is particularly important to manage unscheduled absences from work.

Consequences play a big part in managing absenteeism. Employees need to understand that there are rules in place and that breaking said rules could lead to disciplinary action, even termination, if the employee is failing in his/her work attendance. Coaching and feedback is important. Engage with your employees, whether it’s because of positive or negative attendance and work ethics. Your hard-working employees will thank you.

In summation, negative results from poorly managed absenteeism or excessive overtime include:

  • Expensive overtime costs
  • Low morale
  • Unsubstantiated overtime claims
  • Expensive, time-consuming CCMA cases
  • Unproductive employees stealing extra time
  • Absenteeism becomes a trend


To see how ERS biometrics deals with overtime and absentee management, click here.