Employees Forgetting to Fill In Timesheet

Maintaining accurate time-tracking and timesheet data helps businesses bill clients, pay employees, create estimates, monitor productivity, and more.  

That’s why it’s very important to ensure your employees stop forgetting to fill in timesheets. This way, you can avoid potential delays and miscommunication between you and your clients and employees, as timesheets are legal documents.

In this article, we will take a look at the most common reasons why employees forget to fill in their timesheets and the best solutions on how to make the time-tracking process easier and more efficient.

At the bottom, you’ll also find a section on the legal implications of time tracking, followed by FAQs.

Employees Forgetting to Fill In Timesheet
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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Forgetting to fill in timesheet - why does it happen?

Forgetting to Fill In Timesheet – Why Does It Happen and How to Address It?

Forgetting to fill in timesheets is a common occurrence and happens regardless of the exact nature of your business. In fact, it happens often enough that we’ve deemed it worthwhile to spend some time researching and explaining the reasons behind it.

And here’s what we’ve found:

Time Theft

“Time theft” is one of the common reasons behind inconsistent timesheets. This is a convenient solution for employees who want to cover up their tardiness, leave work early or prolong their breaks unnoticed. 

The right way to address this behavior will mostly depend on your company’s policy and could include a stern talking to, disciplinary action, unpaid leave, or firing said employee if the problem persists.

Lack of Liability 

Employers, and not their employees, are ultimately liable (under penalty of law) for all timesheets (we’ll get into this in more detail below). When there are no consequences (or at least perceived consequences) for filling or not filling out timesheets, some employees might simply choose not to do it. It means no money out of their pocket.

Poor Timekeeping System

While you can easily hold your employees responsible for the first two reasons for forgetting to fill in timesheets, this one is fully the employer's responsibility.

In many cases, having an unintelligible timesheet policy or relying on outdated time-tracking methods can increase the chances of employees not filling out their timesheets. To fix this, you should revise your company’s time-tracking policy and try to update your system. 

Overworked Employees

If your employees are constantly working under pressure or have more work on their plates than they can complete, they’ll get burned out pretty quickly. Lack of sleep and constant fatigue negatively affect people’s memory, so it would be no surprise if your employees forget about their timesheets.

To avoid this scenario, put some effort into creating a work culture that promotes communication between employees and employers. Your focus shouldn’t be on chasing deadlines but on improving your company’s estimating time and project management skills to have better results down the line.     

Lack of Motivation

A huge part of managing employees is knowing how and when to motivate them. If not motivated to fill them in and appropriately educated on how to do it, employees could choose to ignore their timesheets. Apart from educating your employees on all things timesheets, try implementing positive reinforcement methods to encourage them to fill out their data.

How to make time tracking easier for your employees

How to Make Time Tracking Easier for Your Employees?

There are various ways you can lower the chances of your employees forgetting to fill in timesheets. Here are some of the most common ones:

Improve Your Timesheet Policy 

One of the most common reasons for employees forgetting to fill in timesheets is a complicated or incomprehensible timesheet policy. A timesheet policy is the official company practice or document that details all employees' timekeeping objectives, methods, and obligations. 

The main reason for having an official timesheet policy is to keep everyone involved in your business on the same page when it comes to rules and regulations for time tracking and filling out timesheets.

Feel free to check out the linked article where we go deeper into this subject if you want to learn more about timesheet policies and how to create one for your business

Automate Your Timesheet Approval Process

Manual time tracking has been the main method for tracking employee work hours since the 19th century. However, just because something has been in use for a couple of hundred years doesn't mean it's the best way to do it and that it can’t be innovated upon.

Manual time tracking is prone to human error, inaccuracies, and time theft, so it can cause a myriad of different problems for businesses and companies.

The first step to eliminating the possibility of any of these problems (including employees forgetting to fill in timesheets) is to automate your timesheet approval process.

With a SaaS (or Software-as-a-Service) time-tracking app like My Hours and automating your time-tracking process, the entire process regarding timesheets will become more manageable and convenient for your employees.

Eliminating manual processes will not only lower the chances of timesheets not being filled (or being filled incorrectly) but will also save your business a lot of time and money that you would otherwise spend on administrative work. 

Use Timesheet Reminders

Many business processes, such as payroll, rely on accurate and timely timesheets. To ensure that those processes work well inside your company and mitigate the possibility of your employee forgetting to log in their hours, your best bet is to figure out and implement a good reminder system.

Depending on the type of solution you want to go with, there are different ways to do this. If you choose to utilize modern technology and all the benefits that come with it, you could invest in time-tracking software with a reminder feature. With My Hours, you can set automatic reminders that will prompt your employees to fill or send in their timesheets at preset intervals.

You get to choose the time period for those intervals and set the timesheet reminder on a daily, weekly, or biweekly basis. 

Another way to go is to create your own timesheet reminders. You could do this by creating daily or weekly email chains, talking to employees, and reminding them in person or via messaging apps. Now, these solutions aren't ideal and, to be frank, pale in comparison to time-tracking software, but they’re still an option worth mentioning.

Educate Your Team on the Importance of Time Tracking

Managers, team leads, and company higher-ups probably understand the benefits and importance of time tracking and filling out timesheets. However, this might not be true for all employees. As a result, there's a chance that until they understand their importance, they’ll be reluctant when the subject of timesheets gets broached. 

So, the fix for this is pretty easy, and all you have to do is educate your team about the various benefits that timesheets can bring them. Benefits such as:

  • Added transparency about their work;
  • Insight into their own productivity levels by looking at the number of hours they spent working on specific tasks;
  • A clear overview of their work hours and performance to help them improve their skills and workflow;
  • A positive effect on their work-life balance;
  • Meeting deadlines and finishing their work in a specified time frame;

Streamline the Time-Tracking Process

Time tracking and filling out timesheets don’t have to be difficult. Try to look for a time-tracking tool that’s user-friendly, easy to understand, and can be easily integrated with your other solutions to motivate your employees to use it.

We are obviously recommending My Hours, but there are various time-tracking apps on the market that might fit the bill and will work for your specific needs. 

Let Them Ask Questions and Encourage Honest Feedback

No matter how you’ve chosen to deal with your employees forgetting to fill in timesheets, one thing is for certain, you have to let them ask questions and encourage honest feedback.

Once you create a new timesheet policy, implement new time-tracking software, or come up with an entirely new way of doing timesheets, there will be a period of adjustment you need to account for.

To make the transition as seamless as possible, encourage your employees to ask questions and give feedback. With direct communication, you can ensure:

  • That everyone understands the process and how it’s done;
  • That everyone understands the benefits of timesheets;
  • That the solution actually works for your employees/team members.

Who Is Responsible for Tracking Time and Other FAQ

Under FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act, all recordkeeping requirements, which include timesheets and time tracking, are the sole responsibility of the employer.

Records must be accurate and easily accessible to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or other government agency officials responsible for administering and enforcing tax or other labor laws.

The information featured in the employee records can differ from industry to industry but typically includes the ensuing data:

  • Employee’s name and social security number;
  • Address and unique zip code;
  • Date of birth (if the employee is younger than 19 years of age);
  • Employee’s gender;
  • Line of work;
  • The start time of the work week;
  • Hourly pay rate;
  • The way the employee is getting paid (hourly, weekly, or per project basis);
  • The total number of regular and overtime hours worked (daily and weekly);
  • Date of each pay period;
  • The amount of money the employee receives for each paid period; 

So, if employers are the ones that bear all responsibility for timesheets and other types of records under federal law, are there some other things they should be aware of regarding this subject? The answer is yes, so let’s take a look at several FAQs that might shine some light on this topic.

Does an Employer Need to Pay Their Employee If Timesheet Is Not Submitted?

The answer is an absolute yes. According to FLSA requirements, employers are obliged to pay their employees for all hours worked

This means that it doesn't matter if your employees fill or don’t fill in their timesheets; you still have to pay them for their work. The employer is responsible for creating and keeping accurate work-hour and all other records used to calculate wages. 

How Long Do Employers Have to Keep Employee Timesheets?

According to FLSA, employers are obligated to keep employee records for a period of no less than 3 years. This period can vary based on the industry, state, or country your business is located in, whether or not there are any pending litigations against your company, and more.

Do Employees Need to Sign Their Timesheets?

Whether employees sign their timesheets or not usually depends on the company’s policy regarding this issue. So, if your goal is to keep your employees accountable for timesheets they send in, having them sign theirs might be a good idea, but there are no legal obligations that require employees to sign their timesheets

Are Timesheets Required for Salaried Employees?

Salaried employees are exempt from FLSA regulations. Their pay is not directly connected to the number of hours they’ve worked. 

So, keeping timesheets for them, even though not a legal obligation, might still be a good idea as it will allow you to:

  • Keep a closer check on how they spend their work hours;
  • Measure their productivity levels more accurately;
  • Get an insight into how long it takes them to finish certain tasks;
  • Use the timesheet data to create better estimates for future projects;

Is It Legal to Change the Timesheets Once They Are Submitted?

Employers are required to keep accurate records. So, if employees make a mistake in their timesheets or just forget to fill them in, employers/managers can correct them and make revisions, but only for the purposes of creating accurate records.  

In any other case, the answer is no. And, in fact, it’s more than a no because it could be considered fraud and cause legal troubles for your company.