By Kyle Allerton

A growing number of businesses realize that monitoring employee time and attendance is fast becoming a necessity. In the construction industry particularly, where it can be difficult to accurately track costs and production, the use of specialized technology is now a popular way to monitor staff activity.

Why Use Time and Attendance Monitoring Software?

There are a number of reasons why construction companies choose to utilize technology in order to track time and attendance. The main benefits are:

·      It saves time – Time and attendance tracked manually is incredibly time-consuming. This is true both for the employee completing timesheets as well as for the payroll and HR departments monitoring them.

·      It is more accurate – Using time and attendance tracking technology ensures a far greater degree of accuracy compared to traditional methods. It helps to eliminate time theft and the rounding up of minutes that add up to hours.

What Are the Legal Ramifications of Monitoring Employees With Technology?

The legal issues that may arise in relation to tracking employees fall into two broad categories:

Privacy Issues And The Mishandling Of Data Collected

With the rise in popularity of tracking software, focus has naturally fallen on whether employee tracking has gone too far. In some cases, firms have been found to have breached their employees’ right to privacy by monitoring their correspondence. In others, companies may have had the initial right to collect data but not to use it outside of its intended parameters. However, laws surrounding employee monitoring and data collection vary from country to country so what may be a breach in one locale may not be in another.

Not Tracking Employees In The First Place

This may seem like it stands in contradiction to the issues outlined above. It is also the case, however, that not tracking employees’ time and attendance can bring about legal problems of its own. A recent law passed in Spain for example, dictates that companies are required to track the time and attendance of their employees. While some countries have made tracking mandatory, others – such as Italy – regard privacy as a higher concern than time monitoring. It is therefore important to check whether or not any company is under an obligation to track its employees.

How Can Construction Companies Avoid Legal Claims?

Whether construction companies are required to track the time and attendance of their employees or they’ve simply decided to use monitoring software due to the many benefits such technology brings, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to avoid legal claims arising in the future. Some of the most important steps to take are provided below.

Making Sure Privacy Notices Are Clear

When using tracking software, companies should always include this fact in a privacy notice. This should outline what type of data is being collected, how it’s being collected, the purposes it will be used for, how long it will be kept on record, how it will be stored, and at what point it will be destroyed.

Obtaining Consent In Writing

Getting each individual employee’s consent in writing prior to collecting or using any data is highly advisable. Consent is often a key factor in determining whether tracking is legal or not. As a result, businesses should ensure they have their employees’ consent on file in advance.

Only Using Data For The Agreed Purposes

One of the most common ways companies have fallen foul of the law is to use data for purposes other than those for which it was originally intended. Setting out the intended purposes clearly in privacy notices and thereafter sticking to them is a good way to steer clear of danger in the future.

Restricting Access To Any Data Collected

Keeping the pool of people with access to collected data small reduces the chances of breaching any laws or regulations. Companies should look to operate a need-to-know policy, giving access solely to those employees who require it to carry out their respective roles.

Checking Local Laws 

Checking the local laws on tracking is one of the best ways to ensure compliance with them. Regulations are particularly stringent around the topic of biometric data, therefore any businesses using tracking software that utilizes such information should double-check that they are not in breach of any regulations.

Setting Up For Success

It is important for all businesses to ensure they are fully compliant with any legal restrictions applying to tracking technology at all times. This can be achieved through the provision of clear privacy notices, written consent from employees, the use of data solely for its intended purposes and restriction of access to any information collected. By following these steps and paying close attention to key alterations in local laws, construction companies can avoid legal claims and benefit from the many advantages that monitoring and attendance software brings.

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