What is a Payroll Time Clock?

The Payroll Time Clock is the name for a time and attendance clock that can be either mechanical or electronic. It is also known under other names such as punch clock, time recorder or clock card machine. Regardless of the name though the result is the same.

The Payroll Time Clock is used to track the hours of an employee within a company.

This is done by inserting a card or timesheet into the slot of the timepiece and on contact with the machine the clock records the day and time at which employees enter and leave their workplace and this data is then used to work out the wage of the worker.

Who invented the Time Clock?

With the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, time was a measurement for work performance and productivity. There was a definite need for a machine to accurately record a workers time. Williard Bundy, a New Yorker jeweller, is accredited with having invented the Time Clock on November 20, 1888.

A year after Williard developed his Payroll Time Clock his brother Harlow, an attorney and entrepreneur saw a market for his brothers device and founded the Bundy Manufacturing Company in September 1889 and so the general production of time clocks began.

The time recording clocks proved to be very successful with the U.S. Postal Service being one of largests companies to use this device. Bundys was later reorganised as the International Time Recording Company which in 1911 merged with two other companies to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation and after more mergers the company became known as International Business Machines (IBM).

Mechanical Time Clocks

Most of us associate attendance clocks with those punch in cards that our parents or grandparents used to punch in their working day with, clocking or punching in or out. This was an accurate method for keeping track of an employees hours.

Who uses Payroll Time Clocks

Over the years the Time Clocks have evolved. The Clipper or punch hole cards have been replaced by swipe cards with a magnetic stripe pulled through a slot recording the data accordingly. At the end of the week the data is tallied and the employees paid. Time clock devices have been used in various sectors from finance to transportation, from government to healthcare, wherever there is a need to monitor hourly attendance, when an employee enters, leaves, takes a break, is sick or on leave, this information is recorded.

Drawbacks of Punch in Cards

Although used for many years now the mechanical systems have their drawbacks. Punch in cards or magnetic stripes can get damaged, soiled or are even open to the fraudulent buddy systems where one colleague swipes for a colleague not present. Precious time is then spent verifying the results.

Electronic Employee Clock In Software

Since the beginning of the 1990's computer based systems are more widely used to record the attendance of employees. There are several methods from a magnetic card which is used by holding over a magnetic disc to the biometric clock in system of scanning fingerprint or hand prints or the retina.

Who Gains with Punch Clock Software?

Here the advantages are numerous for both the employer and the employees. Accuracy and almost no human error in calculating attendance. Quicker and more efficient in calculating payroll, less time is required in verifiying hours, etc. This alone is quite a saving for smaller companies.

Employee Clock Software For Smaller Businesses

PC based this software eliminates terminals, timecards or badges and is ideal for small to medium sized firms with around 30 employees. A Quickview function gives you comprehensive information of in/out, overtime, hours etc. in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly pay periods. Tracking across departments is also possible, so that you can see how long a project has been worked on.


The software is very easy to install with technical support most often provided if required. Compatibilty with other operation systems should also be checked before purchasing.

Tracking information this way is definitely cost saving and should be taken advantage of. Organisation and comfortable being only two of the plus points of the computer based payroll time clock

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