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Model Policy on Employee Time Theft

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Compliance Guidance-lca, Essential, Lab Compliance Advisor

This useful template can be used to develop a clear written policy on time theft for your lab in order to help prevent it.

As healthcare labor gets scarcer and more expensive, the problem of time theft grows more imperative. The first step in cracking down on time theft is adopting a clear written policy. Here’s a template you can adapt based on your lab’s particular circumstances and HR policies and protocols.

Policy on Employee Time Theft

1. Policy

Honesty and trust are the foundation of your employment with ABC Laboratory. The expectation that you will be honest and worthy of trust applies to how you use and report your working hours. The expectation is that at all times during working hours, except approved breaks, and while on the job, at a jobsite, or generally at work, you will focus your time and attention on work-related activities, projects, and other tasks. This expectation includes showing up for work at the scheduled time and refraining from using work time for personal activities. Time theft violates these principles and will not be tolerated.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish clear rules for use of employee work time and consequences for time theft.

3. What Is Time Theft?

“Time theft” refers to instances where employees intentionally and fraudulently represent themselves as working when that is not the case. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Failing to show up at work during working hours;
  • Buddy punching, or clocking in or out for a co-worker who is not there or asking a co-worker to do the same for you;
  • Altering, falsifying, or tampering with time records;
  • Coming in late for the start of a shift or returning late from a break;
  • Leaving work early without permission;
  • Leaving work to attend to personal activities such as errands without authorization;
  • Taking breaks longer than scheduled or approved;
  • Unauthorized overtime or recording overtime that was not worked; and
  • Attending to personal activities while at work or during working hours such as reading personal messages, taking personal calls, surfing the internet, chatting with colleagues, or playing games.

 4. What Is Not Time Theft

ABC Laboratory recognizes that employees may occasionally misuse work time without intending to steal time, such as when they run late or have to miss work due to unforeseeable reasons beyond their reasonable control; ABC Laboratory also recognizes the possibility of honest mistakes in recording their work time. Although it is still not acceptable, such occasions and mistakes will not be treated as time theft to the extent they are not a deliberate and fraudulent attempt to claim compensation for time not actually worked. When errors are made, employees can inform a supervisor and make arrangements to make up the lost time.

5. Time Reporting Requirements

In accordance with the ABC Laboratory Work Time Keeping and Reporting Policy (Work Time Policy), all employees must accurately record the time they begin and end work, as well as the start and end time of unpaid breaks, split shifts, or departure from work for personal reasons, and then sign the time card or record certifying the accuracy of the time recorded. Time cards will be reviewed and processed in accordance with the Work Time Policy and employees must immediately report any errors in reporting time of which they’re aware to payroll.

6. Consequences of Time Theft

Employees who engage in time theft will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination, in accordance with the ABC Laboratory Progressive Discipline Policy.

Inadvertently stealing time without intention to misrepresent or defraud the Company is still not acceptable. ABC Laboratory will take responsive steps to address this problem through information sharing, retraining, education, and additional supervision. If misuse or theft of time continues after the employee has been made aware that stealing time is not acceptable, disciplinary steps may be taken.


Please consult these additional ABC Laboratory policies for further guidance on avoiding time theft under this policy

  • Work Time Policy
  • Leave, Vacation, and Overtime Policies
  • Internet, Computer, and Mobile Devices Use Policies

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