Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 05 Clock In 1

Troubleshooter: How to handle dental staff who forget to clock in and out?

Feb. 14, 2019
This dentist-boss is frustrated that staff members often forget to clock in and out. How can that situation be handled?

Do you have a problem or concern on the job? Sometimes people are just too close to a situation to solve something themselves. Share your concerns with Team Troubleshooter, and the experts will examine the issues and provide guidance. Send questions to [email protected].

QUESTION: What is the best way to manage the forgetful employees who don't remember to clock in or out throughout the day? The concept of having a penalty seems harsh but may be the deterrent required to ensure that people properly log their hours.

ANSWER FROM REBECCA BOARTFIELD, HR specialist at Bent Ericksen & Associates:
We generally find that the best way to handle this kind of situation is to apply normal disciplinary procedures. This includes verbal and written warnings, possible suspensions without pay, and ultimate termination if the problem persists and your staff does not correct the problem.

It is not legal to issue penalties such as paycheck deductions or fines for these kinds of problems. Once wages have been earned for working, the wages cannot be taken away.

You could, however, make it a part of any eligibility criteria for something else. For example, if you have some kind of bonus program, you could either reduce the bonus or take it away completely if this issue arises during the bonus earning period. Prior to taking this action, you would need a well-written policy that describes the criteria for earning and receiving the bonus so that your employees know what to expect.

More popular Troubleshooters:

Was it legal for dentist to take ‘his’ patient list when he left practice?
Dental professional horrified at lack of infection control practices
Dental hygienist questions fairness of new hours and is promptly fired

Don't be shy! If YOU have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed, send it to [email protected]. for the experts to answer. Remember, you'll be helping others who share the same issue. Responses will come from various dental consultants, as well as other experts in the areas of human resources, coding, front office management, and more. All inquiries will be answered anonymously here on DIQ.

About the Author

Team Troubleshooter

This weekly column on DentistryIQ features questions from everyday people who work in dental practices, who have issues they would like addressed by the experts. Those who regularly take the time to answer questions include Rebecca Boartfield, Patti DiGangi, Dr. Chris Salierno, Laura Hatch, Karen Daw, Jill Townsend, Lisa Marie Spradley, Shelley Renee, Judy Kay Mausolf, Robin Morrison, Paul Edwards ... and the list is growing.

Send your question or issue for an expert to address to [email protected].. You'll be glad you did.