Time clock wins favor with workersPublished 10:54pm Thursday, March 20, 2014
Paula Hall starts each workday by punching her pin number into a machine the size of a video game controller. She takes off her glasses. Her hat comes off, too. The machine does the rest of the work, scanning Hall’s face and searching for a match.
Hall is a license inspector for Pike County. She and the rest of the county commission’s staff are the only Pike County employees who use the facial recognition time clock.
The system eliminates the need for time cards or badges. It also prevents “buddy punching,” employees punching in for co-workers. It’s not that this office has given any reason to mistrust their timekeeping. They have just done their homework.
“No, it’s not because our people are trouble or untrustworthy. It’s not about that at all,” said County Administrator Harry Sanders.
When the time came to replace the old timekeeping system, employees found the product in their office supply catalog and requested it.
Chief Financial Officer Debra Gibson said the system, which has been in use for about four years, had a price tag in the $300 to $400 range.
“Which is cheap for all that it does,” she said. “I would recommend it to any business.”
Gibson and Sanders are exempt from punching in as salaried employees, but they use the system anyway.
“I wouldn’t ask my staff to do anything I wouldn’t do,” Sanders said.
Before getting a facial recognition time clock, the County Commission used to scan their thumbprints. That system had its errors. Hand lotions used to interfere with good scans.
Most county employees clock in using timecards. Gibson said that department heads have to enter the information from the cards into the payroll system and employees sometimes waste valuable time double-checking their hours before signing their timesheets.
“We thought it would be easier because it is downloaded into payroll,” she said. “This downloads straight into the computer, Harry prints our timesheets and we’ve never had a problem with it whatsoever.”
The chance of human error is virtually eliminated.
Because the County Commission office has a very low turnover (the baby of the bunch has worked there for 10 years), employees do recall the days of punching in the old-fashioned way. But, they don’t miss them.
“We like this better than anything,” Gibson said.