Paying the Invisible Man for a Hard Day’s Work

Employee Stealing Time | Business Consulting, Healthcare Consulting, Alternative Medicine Consulting, Salsbury & Co.

For fifteen years, two employees received full pay without ever showing up for work. It’s completely and ridiculously true. The city government in the town of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain reported that they fired the two employees after human resources opened up an investigation into the matter.

During the investigation, the city’s HR department also uncovered that two local police union members were paid their full wages last year without working the entire year; one employee worked sixty-six days, and the other forty-seven days.

It’s easy to blame the employer in a situation like this because they obviously did not have proper employee tracking measures in place: performance metrics, attendance reports, employee reviews, mandatory meetings, pay increase reviews, time reporting, etc. These employees had perfect attendance for fifteen years; shouldn’t they have received a plaque or some sort of recognition?

There should have been something that tipped off the people in charge that their employees were MIA. Are you telling me that in fifteen years neither employee called the office to complain about a missing or inaccurate paycheck? The city may not know where their employees are, but their payroll department is obviously top-notch (that’s my attempt at sarcasm).

The blame, however, does not fall on the employer, but the employee. Regardless of the lack of rules, regulations, and procedures; it’s the employees who are to blame for their own actions. They stole from their employer; plain and simple. They took advantage of a situation for their own personal gains. What they did was wrong.

But what do we, as business owners, take away and learn from this extreme example?

Hopefully none of you have gone through this, but unfortunately most of us have at some point in our careers, just not on this scale. Employees (not all because there are a lot of great trustworthy people out there) have been known to steal time, money, and products; which all affect your bottom line.

They say that it’s hard to beat a time clock when one has to swipe their badge in and out. Two employees, who worked for a well-known secondhand store, took extra-long lunches by sharing their badges. They had different schedules, and took their breaks at different times. One would clock out for lunch, hand the badge to the co-worker, who would then clock them back in a half hour later. No one knew how long their lunches really were, until they got caught.

Even though extreme, what have you learned from this article? What takeaways do you have that will better your employee tracking metrics? What processes can you improve on to cut down on employee theft? Remember that time is money, so make sure that it’s being recorded accurately.


April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.

Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.

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