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How can you rein in rogue ‘early clockers’?


Do you have employees who clock in before their shift starts, then stand around drinking coffee for a half-hour? How can you cut down on this? Contributors to our weekly HR Specialist Forum (www.thehrspecialist.com/HRforum) offered these suggestions:


“Early clock-ins were a continuous problem until we found a new time clock. It’s set so that employees can’t punch in more than nine minutes early or nine minutes after the end of their shift without a supervisor going to the clock with them and doing an override. This has helped tremendously.” — L.R.P., Massachusetts

“Our time clock rounds off every 15 minutes. If they punch in 10 minutes early (i.e., 7:50 a.m.), it will round it off to 8:00 a.m. Our employees have been warned about punching in early and if they do it habitually (our time clock tracks it), they are written up.” — C.J., Ohio


“Our company had some early clockers and we gave verbal warnings to those that we personally caught (fixing breakfast, doing make-up, reading the newspaper, etc.). After two verbal warnings they were written up. We did not dock their timecards, though.” — Debbie, Newport Beach, Calif.

“We use progressive discipline. Employees are warned not to clock in more than five minutes early. They receive an oral warning, then two written warnings. After that, they can be suspended without pay for a day.” — Mary Ann, Great Neck, N.Y.


“Our policy (allows punching in) five minutes before the shift starts. Ten minutes early and the employee will get a verbal warning. The next time, he or she will get a write-up until termination if it persists. We have already terminated four employees for clocking in early without authorization this year.” — M.S., Memphis

“We state in our handbook that no one may clock in earlier than 10 minutes before their shift starts. So if someone clocks in 15 minutes early, our software reduces their time by 10 minutes.” — D., Nebraska


“We had the same issue and stopped it immediately. We now have a sign next to the time clock with specific instructions as to when to punch in (the time is listed), unless the employee plans to begin work.” — Cyndi, Minneapolis

Supervisor meeting

“We would pay for the time, but inform the supervisor to talk to the employee. We have people who come in early due to car-pooling schedules. They are allowed to read or do personal business at their desk until 8:00 a.m.” — Michelle, Maryland

“If your company has allowed this type of behavior for a long period of time, you are facing a cultural change. Team meetings may help, as well as a review of old and new company policies.” —Jane, North Carolina