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Why You Should Never Adjust an Employee's Timesheet

What do you do when the receptionist in your optometry practice or your dental assistant forgets to clock out for lunch — or at the end of the day?

It’s tempting for office managers, doctors, dentists, optometrists, veterinarians, and other practitioners to simply fix the inaccuracy, but that’s something you should never do. The management team of a dental, optometry, or veterinary practice needs to be aware of these nuances in order to ensure compliance with federal law, avoid fines and penalties, and keep their employees happy. However, there are tools you can use to avoid sticky situations that can arise when employees such as hygienists make mistakes on their timesheets. 

Who Is Responsible for Ensuring Employee Timesheets Are Correct?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the employer or practice owner is responsible for keeping accurate records and paying their employees within ten days of the payroll close date. Example: If an optician fails to submit timesheets on time, a office manager cannot intentionally delay or adjust that optician’s pay because of this.

So as much as you would like to penalize your pharmacy clerk or dental assistant because their dog ate their timesheet, you can't.

Recommended Reading: Timesheets: Can We Discipline Employees Who Don't Turn Theirs In?


What Problems Can Arise When Managers Adjust Employee Timesheets? 

When an employee's manager adjusts their timesheet without their knowledge, they open themselves up to liability because the person who did the work is not the one making the change. This could result in fines and penalties for falsifying records

Although managers think they are being helpful by fixing mistakes on timesheets, the problem is that now their name is associated with the change. Example: A dental assistant could easily claim that a dental office manager added or edited their time incorrectly. Putting the responsibility on the employee to amend the timesheet prevents these claims. 

What Is The Solution?

The best way to eliminate the problems caused by managers adjusting timesheets is to automate your timekeeping system. This completely takes the stress out of payroll compliance. The automated platform allows optometrists, veterinarians, pathologists, physical therapists, dental hygienists, and other healthcare employees to clock in and out, then compiles the data into payroll reports. If an error has occurred, employees can edit their data, and managers get a notification informing them about the change. They can then approve or deny the changes.

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Other Advantages of an Electronic Timekeeping System

Electronic timekeeping systems can auto-send payroll reports for processing. This makes it easier for the person or team in charge of running payroll because the data is automatically delivered, saving them time on a mundane task that they can then reinvest in other projects.

Electronic systems also help with employee oversight, as managers can see every time a lab technician, dental hygienist, pharmacist, optometrist, or other healthcare employee clocks out or in. They're able to keep an eye on employee hours without having to hover by the front door watching team members come and go.

Electronic systems also come with an audit trail: managers can watch employees' hours via report to check when changes are made and from which IP address.

Electronic systems like integrated time clocks reduce unintentional overtime because you can set them up to alert healthcare managers on the day that overtime is worked. This way they can make adjustments to prevent it for the rest of the payroll period instead of it being a surprise when payroll is calculated. 

These advanced platforms also allow the user to set up weighted averages for practices with people receiving different pay rates, like administrative assistants and registered nurses.

Why You Should Never Adjust an Employee's Timesheet

Are You Still Editing Your Team’s Timesheets?

If you're dental practice is not using a timekeeping system yet, what's holding you back? Timekeeping systems provide real-time data, which you can use to identify and fix problems before they become major issues that take up too much of your attention or resources.

They remove unnecessary stress from the jobs of office managers and the rest of the management team, allowing them to focus on delivering excellent patient care and boosting team morale. Let's face it, there's nothing fun about chasing employees like receptionists, physical therapy aides, and pharmacy clerks for their timesheets or trying to decipher their handwriting.

If you’ve been relying on paper timesheets for your employees, it’s time to consider an electronic timekeeping system. Paper timesheets are more prone to errors and take a lot of effort to manage when they need adjusting or reconciling.

The transition from paper-based systems can seem daunting at first, but HR for Health has many years of experience helping practices to transition. Our team can help you streamline timekeeping management so that your practice can cut down on costly and monotonous administration. 

Do you want to revolutionize timekeeping management in your practice? Schedule a demo now to see the magic in action!


About HR for Health 

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 budget. Reach out to a HR for Health account representative to learn more, today: Schedule a Meeting