Biometric time and attendance - Working Time Act

Working Time Act Ireland: let biometrics take the strain

Almas Team

‘Biometrics’ relates to unique criteria pertaining to an individual’s body and the measurement of those criteria. The main application of biometrics is the identification and verification of individuals. It may be done by a variety of methods, the most popular of which are fingerprinting, iris/ retinal scans and facial recognition scans.

This is part two of a post concerning the 1997 Organisation of Working Time Act and it’s implications for Irish businesses. In part one, we looked at the Act in more detail – so if you haven’t read this, do head over and do so. In this article, we will look at the reasons why biometric time and attendance solutions can help your business operate within the law, saving time and money.

What are ‘biometrics’?

‘Biometrics’ relate to unique criteria pertaining to an individual’s body and the measurement of those criteria. The main application of biometrics is the identification and verification of individuals. It may be done by a variety of methods, the most popular of which are fingerprinting, iris/ retinal scans and facial recognition scans.

What are a biometric time and attendance systems?

Biometric time and attendance systems use a combination of biometric identification and software to enable employees to:

  • Clock in and out of work
  • Clock in and out for breaks
  • Check their scheduled hours against their actual hours
  • Make absence or holiday requests electronically

The software allows employers to administer many aspects of HR, including payroll, absence and administrative tasks. These things can be administered remotely thereby saving time and money.

Will my fingerprints be stored?

By far the most common concern is that biometric systems store fingerprints, which could potentially be used for fraud, or that they will be uploaded to a national database. In reality, this isn’t the case at all. Rather than storing images of a fingerprint, it’s stored as encrypted partial data. Almas Industries’ biometric readers record the Minutiae – certain unique points created by the characteristics of your fingerprint, the ends of furrows and ridges – and do not take a photo of your finger. This data cannot be used to recreate the original image of the fingerprint.

Could someone create a fake fingerprint to circumvent the system?

In a word – no. Traditional systems could be tricked using everyday household objects that mimicked fingerprint. Modern multispectral imaging systems can tell the difference between human flesh and other organic or synthetic materials.

Almas Industries’ software analyses the images created when the finger is placed on the enrolment scanner and detects bifurcations, endings and other ‘minutiae’ characteristics which are turned into a binarised minutiae list – a binary biometric template if you like. When you subsequently put your finger on the reader, it matches against this template. Our biometric readers protect against films and prostheses that are typically used by fraudsters, rendering them ineffective.

How can I get my employees to trust biometric technology?

You may be fully on board with the idea, but your employees still may not be sold on it. Perhaps they are worried that their personal information is a risk or are concerned about their privacy. The key here is to keep them informed to alleviate any concerns they may have.

Explain to them why you’re intending on implementing a biometric time and attendance system. Explain that having an exact record of when they entered and exited will ensure they are paid fairly. It could also help protect them if there were an incident. You should reassure them as to how their data is being used and stored. Almas Industries can work with you to help everyone in your business understand the benefits of biometrics and dispel any fears that your employees might have.

Benefits of a biometric system

No more cumbersome and complicated paper, card, key or pin-based attendance management systems, which are prone to falsification, error and inaccuracy. A system that uses fingerprint recognition, offers a reliable, simple and very secure way to manage time and attendance. The convenience, security and performance of fingerprint recognition systems have made them the most widely used biometric system on the market.

The key to monitoring time and attendance is finding a system which can work with any business, no matter what sector or size. Installing a biometric fingerprint reader, allows you to track the movements of all your employees, every day. This eliminates buddy punching and gives employees personal responsibility for their time. Employee trust is established and maintained because the system provides confidence that everyone is being paid fairly for the hours that they are working. Biometric systems keep staff accountable, efficient and profitable.

No more paperwork

Gone are the days of collecting checking and collating timesheets and calculating hours. Employees can request annual leave entitlement, make absence requests and check their actual scheduled hours, all through their fingerprint. They can even request an HR meeting with their manager to discuss anything they want to – it’s logged on the system for future reference. Your business saves time and money as you have total control over every aspect of your employee management.

Not only that but you can control labour costs by reducing over-payments often caused by transcription or interpretation error, a common problem with paper-based systems. A biometric system can help protect you from payroll fraud while providing reassurance that wage payments are accurate.

The Almas Optima Biometric Reader

Almas Industries OPTIMA Ultra biometric reader, which uses fingerprint recognition, allows each employee to log in to their account and check their working hours against schedule. With the extension OPTIMA Time, employee hours worked are automatically calculated, simplifying payroll and administration. Absence requests can be made, and entitlement viewed by each employee. You can read how the Optima stacks up against its competitors here.

Don’t leave time and attendance to chance – don’t fall foul of the law. As market leaders, innovators, manufacturers and installers of biometric fingerprint systems, Almas Industries are well placed to help businesses with all aspects of biometric control and time and attendance. Our systems are effective, highly secure and easy to operate. You can arrange your free, no-obligation security survey by calling us on 0844 995 9454 (UK) or 01 68 333 68 (Ireland). If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected].