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How To Optimize Timesheet Compliance In Your Medical, Dental, And Optometry Practice

Yes, employees who don’t turn in their timesheets can be disciplined; provided that the discipline doesn’t involve withholding, reducing, or delaying pay; as practice owners are always required to pay their team members for all hours worked. 

According to federal law, and specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are responsible for keeping accurate records of hours worked and paying their employees within 10 days of the payroll close date. Under this act, failing to submit timesheets on time is not a valid reason to intentionally delay or make an adjustment to an employee’s pay. Time tracking is a critical component of any business, and every employer must create a system that allows them to appropriately track time. Employee timesheets must be turned in to appropriately track the number of hours worked in a pay period. How To Optimize Timesheet Compliance In Your Medical, Dental, And Optometry Practice

Like any recurring performance issues, the best practice to ensure accurate tracking of employee time tracking in your dental, optometry, or veterinary practice is a progressive discipline process. There should be written documentation (e.g. your employee handbook ) noting policies and procedures regarding timekeeping processes for employees to adhere to, and for you to reference when justifying discipline. This is the most effective method to address a lack of compliance once timesheet procedures have been thoroughly explained, and where the problem persists.

Top 5 Benefits of an Electronic Timeclock

There is no question that electronic timeclocks can make a huge difference in terms of the accuracy of your hourly employees. Indeed, employees no longer need to turn in their timesheets at all, as this happens immediately. Furthermore, electronic timeclocks - like those provided by HR for Health - provide streamlined access for practices to monitor and audit all hours worked. In many ways, they are superior to the traditional time cards. 

Below are the top 5 benefits of HR for Health's electronic timeclocks:

1. Legal Protection and Accuracy: Time worked is tangible and definitive. Having complete accessibility of past timeclocks is especially important when facing an audit of unpaid wages. Imagine facing an audit regarding your dental hygienist without any time entries. Even paper timesheets are considered inadequate because they can be compromised at future dates by employers. Furthermore, HR for Health’s software notes the specific individual that made an edit. Thus, if there are accusations of fraud, it can be determined who made the change - and if an employee attempted to make an edit.

2. Eliminate Time Theft: With electronic timeclocks you can follow up with overtime and tardies incurred in real-time, require employees to make notes for modifications to timeclock entries, and issue violations in tandem with documented tardies and unauthorized overtime incurred. When violations do occur, you can be ready, and create a template document within the HR for Health system that can further automate this process. This is a huge upgrade if you are currently using paper timesheets because you won’t have to depend on your team to remember their start and end times.

3. Eliminate Buddy Clocking: Password-protected portal access will require each employee to be present at the assigned IP address of clock in. So, for example, your associate optometrist won't be able to clock their assistant in. Also, as an authorized user (generally a manager or practice owner) you can see in real-time who is currently on the clock.

How To Optimize Timesheet Compliance In Your Medical, Dental, And Optometry Practice

4. Payroll Processing: Payroll processing has very specific legal requirements, and you are legally obligated to do everything you can to ensure that your payroll processing methods are as accurate as possible. With HR for Health, it is easy to adhere to all legal requirements. Detailed timesheet reports allow a quick export of hours worked and benefits accrued. One of the troubles of paper timesheets and third-party integration are the errors and time spent processing payroll. Electronically integrated timeclocks eliminate these obstacles.

5. Improved Accountability: Tangible attendance tracking and notifications will ensure objectivity when addressing poor attendance and performance reviews. Timesheet software can improve workflow, accurately track working hours, and allow for the creation of highly accurate timesheets. It also allows you to determine how employees may be accumulating overtime, and you can easily view the number of overtime hours that have been worked. Furthermore, you can adjust the settings for each specific employee, ensuring that you will receive a notification about a late or early clock-in. This metric is especially helpful in cases of discipline and terminations. It can also create complete timesheets that can be highly useful for an audit trail. 

Recommended Reading: HR for Health Feature Spotlight: Electronic Timekeeping

Are Timesheets Required by Law?

If you pay your employees on an hourly basis, you are legally required to have some record of when they clock in and clock out. This can be a written or electronic record, although electronic records clearly have numerous advantages. 

Different states have different rules about the tracking of these timesheets and how long they need to be stored. It is vital that you understand these rules, or hire a company that is knowledgeable in your state’s timekeeping requirements. Fortunately, HR for Health can help. 

Timesheet Rules for Hourly vs. Salaried Employees

As noted above, timesheet rules for hourly employees require that you maintain electronic records of when someone clocks in and out, and that you store those records.

However, this is not the case for salaried employees. Salaried employees - defined as those who receive a set salary per week, regardless of hours worked - do not have to clock in or out during the day. 

Similar rules apply for exempt vs. non-exempt employees. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of hours worked, while non-exempt employees are. As such, exempt employees do not need to have a timesheet, but non-exempt ones do. This can confirm the accuracy of overtime pay. 

What is Timesheet Compliance?

Timesheet compliance is the idea behind ensuring that your employees stick to the rules you set for clocking in and out. It ensures that an employee will accurately clock in and out when they arrive and leave at the end of the day, as well as doing so whenever taking any meal or rest breaks.

However, timesheet compliance is also felt on the employer's end. It means that you accurately pay employees for the time they worked, including any earned overtime. 

Recommended Reading: Daily HR Headaches: Timekeeping, Payroll, and Compliance for your Dental Practice

How Can You Foster Timesheet Compliance? 

The best thing you can do to foster timesheet compliance creates an atmosphere where you employees understand that their hours are being monitored on a regular basis. You can do this easily with electronic timesheets, like those managed by HR for Health. Furthermore, you want to make it as easy as possible for your employees to clock in and out. Again, electronic timesheets can help make this process simple and convenient. 

How HR for Health Can Help

Electronic timeclocks are a no-brainer. The number of benefits to an electronic timeclock outweighs any reason(s) that have prevented you from implementing them thus far.

HR for Health is an all-in-one HR software solution dedicated to helping the dental, optometry, and veterinary industries. Our human resources platform features all the tools practice owners need to manage payroll, timekeeping, 401(k), and more with total integration and ease. 

Whether you’re looking for HR support for a small business or you’re a large group dental practice, HR for Health has the solution to fit your practice and pricing needs.

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