timesheet management

Can employees fool an app to falsify their attendance records?

In the second of our series of blogs about asking employees to record their attendance using an app on their smartphone, we consider what security features to look for to prevent the possibility of staff dishonestly covering up lateness.

It’s an interesting observation that employers implement time and attendance systems principally to deliver two results: first, administrative time savings through automated calculation of timesheets and pay analysis and second, to improve the accuracy of recording their employee’s attendance.

On that latter point, the ultimate guarantee to prevent an employee fraudulently falsifying their hours is to use a biometric reader that recognises an individual by a unique part of their body, such as fingerprint, face or hand. However, many of our clients have small numbers of staff working irregularly at a number of sites where it would be uneconomic to justify the capital cost of such equipment at each location. In these situations, the low-cost alternative is to ask the employees to use their own or company-issued smartphone to record their attendance at each site. But without biometric safeguards, how can you be certain that the time clocking was generated by the registered user of the phone? That’s where easyLog has consulted with its growing number of users and delivered a solution that gives the employer confidence that any attendance record has been generated by the identified person.

So how does our app prevent clocking fraud?

Firstly, the app is used with QR codes, the latest generation of barcode representation. Generated from free-to-use websites, they can be printed and assigned to each location to uniquely identify the specific site. When the app is used it accesses the camera of the smartphone and the employee simply moves their phone over the code until an image is captured to record the date, time and location. The app also records the GPS reference at the point the attendance record was made. This is significant if an employee should have thoughts that they could photocopy the QR code – and then record their attendance from the comfort of their bed for example – as it will automatically be brought to the attention of their employer!

Within the easyLog software, each location is defined with a unique reference (used by the QR code) and also has their GPS latitude and longitude coordinates entered against it. So if the QR code is scanned from somewhere different to its defined location, the easyLog software will know and flag accordingly with a link to Google Maps to identify the actual location of the errant clocking.

Software that can’t be fooled

Secondly, the app records the date and time that the attendance record is sent to the back-office timesheet management software application. This may not seem immediately significant but if the employee has changed the time on their smartphone – moving it backwards to avoid being flagged as late or forwards to falsely claim overtime – then this will be detected by the easyLog software.

Thirdly, when downloaded the app automatically creates a unique ID reference for the individual smartphone. Again, in an online world familiar with website cookies, this may seem like normal practice. However, it provides another preventive measure against the dishonest employee who may be tempted to help a colleague who is running late.

As mentioned earlier, each employee is given a unique number to identify that it is them using the app each time – and they enter this in the app when they first use it. So what if they change that number to use their smartphone to clock in on behalf of a colleague? The software automatically identifies the phone used for each attendance record from the unique ID reference so if it finds clockings from two different employees but with the same ID then it will be raised with their manager to take appropriate action.

Peace of mind for employers

We hope the anti-fraud measures that we’ve included in the app won’t actually require use but unfortunately rogue staff do exist. Most importantly perhaps, easyLog can give the employer the peace of mind that their workforce is recording their attendance accurately, easily and with certainty – and at a price that is economic for any size of organisation.

If you would like to know more about these features, other apps in our range and the time and attendance and staff scheduling modules with which they integrate, please call on 01892 834406 or email us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, business support, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday Pay, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, time and attendance, timesheets

What’s important in choosing an attendance recording app for your staff?

In the first of two blogs about using a smartphone app for employees to record their attendance, we explore the key issues that experience has taught us you should look for.

There are three important questions to ask when introducing attendance recording via a smartphone app to your workforce:

  • Is the App easy to use for the employees?
  • Is the App easy to download with the connection to my time and attendance software already set up?
  • Is it secure and not open to fraud by the employee?

Users of our Log-In App know that they can confidently say “Yes” to all the above. easyLog has created not only a simple to install and use app for the employee, but a solution that gives the employer confidence that any attendance record has been generated by the identified person. This latter point we’ll cover in a subsequent blog but in this one we’ll address those first two questions.

Automatically updates back-office software

The Log-In App is downloaded free of charge for the employee from the Apple, Microsoft and Google stores. easyLog supplies a five-digit Customer Code number to each organisation that the employee is prompted to enter when first opening the app. This automatically sets up the parameters in the app to link it with the web browser-based back office software that collates and reports on the time and attendance records received from the smartphones.

Next the user is asked to enter their own unique ID number given to them by their employer. This is saved in the App and means it will not need to be remembered again at the point of use.

And that’s it. When the employee uses the app they are presented with large, clear buttons that they touch to record if they are arriving or leaving a site. There are other user-settable options also to enable the additional clocking in or out from a break and a panic alert feature that will automatically send an email to defined individuals on pressing.

If you would like to know more about these features, other apps in our range and the time and attendance and staff scheduling modules with which they integrate, please call on 01892 834406 or email us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, employee attendance, flexible working, invoicing staff time, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, smart phone App, timesheets

NFC reading capability for iPhone added to easyLog’s Log-In app

Android smartphones have been quick to see and embrace the opportunities that NFC (near field communication) technology has to offer. easyLog customers have, for example, used NFC tags to uniquely identify locations in areas as diverse as property management, cleaning supervision and night checks at care homes to accurately record and report on employee attendance at any site. In reverse, staff can carry a NFC tag to identify their attendance by placing it on a growing range of terminals and readers located at a single or multiple places of work.  By contrast, Apple used NFC readers for its Apple Pay application but did not allow access to the wider software development community to provide the benefits that our apps were able to offer to Android users.

However, last summer Apple announced that it was opening up access to its NFC reader capability from the iPhone 7 model onwards; a capability that easyLog has delivered on with our NFCClock app now available at the Apple Store. The App gives the facility for staff to use their iPhone to easily record their attendance at any location with a NFC tag, specifying whether they are arriving or leaving the site.

If you would like to understand a little more about how easyLog’s software uses NFC technology on iPhones and maybe evaluate it with your own employees, please call us on 01892 834406, request a callback or send us an e-mail.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, business support, employee attendance, flexible working, mobile worker tracking, timesheets

Sleep-in shifts: Still not put to bed?

female carer sleeping on shift

Since 2014 the payment of sleep-in shifts at an hourly rate rather than in a single agreed payment has been an ongoing and unresolved issue despite the ruling of an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) in that year. The tribunal found in favour of at least National Minimum Wage hourly payments by deeming that the care worker was required to be at a place of work at certain hours and was at the disposal of the employer during that period. Furthermore the employee would be subject to disciplinary action if they failed to arrive on time for their shift.

How do you calculate hours when a carer sleeps on shift?

In 2015 it seemed further clarity was provided through guidelines issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These stated that “A worker who is found to be working, even though they are asleep, is entitled to the national minimum or NLW [National Living Wage] for the entire time they are at work.” But this apparent confirmation must be contrasted with National Minimum Wage legislation published in the same year, which said a worker can only be considered to be “available” when “awake for the purposes of working”.

In another tribunal as recently as this May, involving a carer working for the charity Mencap, the EAT decided in favour of hourly payments for an employee on a sleep-in shift caring for two vulnerable adults. However, ambiguity was given a further lifeline by the judge, who declined to provide a general rule but instead emphasised that each case should be determined on its own facts and considered in relation to different workers’ circumstances.

Care software that handles every sleep-in payment option

Sleep-in shifts are most commonly worked by staff in the learning difficulties care sector and, as a supplier of market leading employee scheduling, attendance recording and care management software, easyLog has many clients operating in this area. Irrespective of the cost implications of any definitive future sleep-in shifts ruling, easyLog clients know that they have at their disposal a functionally-rich solution that enables them to pay their staff efficiently and accurately at both single and hourly payment rates even within a single overnight shift.

What’s more the software can embrace pay schemes where carers are paid at different rates for working with more behaviourally-challenged service users and be paid at higher rates for working in more remote locations. All instantly calculated, clearly presented and exportable into a wide range of third party payroll software products such as Sage and Northgate.

Please contact us if you’d like more information on how easyLog’s software can future-proof your business.

Posted by administrator in care home management, Minimum Wage, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

Meeting the demands of multiple charge rates

keyboard and coffee mug denoting office work

With cash-strapped councils scrutinising ways to save money, care contract negotiations have become an even greater battleground where, among other things, service providers are being pushed to be more flexible in their charge structures. That means implementing multiple charging bands, which in turn means increasingly complex invoice calculations for managers – and more headaches.

To meet the financial demands of the care commissioners, evidence suggests care providers are being asked to accept a number of different charge rates for bands of hours in the day or group of days during the week over which they are providing care services. This means they can find themselves applying multiple rates for morning, afternoon and night care provision and, in some cases, additional rates for Saturday and Sunday.

The result is an administrative nightmare, with potential for miscalculations, loss of revenue and delayed payments affecting cash flow – unless you have suitable software in place.

Multiple charge rates are dealt with in seconds

For less than the cost of a tank of petrol a month, easyLog’s Home Care Studio software takes the hard labour out of your service’s admin and record keeping. Multiple charge rates can be defined and applied in seconds, along with multiple pay rates per employee if required. So you can be confident that funder invoices together with payroll are calculated accurately and efficiently.

And with other functionality including care planning and risk assessments records, personnel management incorporating comprehensive training and supervisions facilities and a variety of electronic visit recording options, there’s never been a more relevant time to explore what easyLog could offer your business.

To find out more about our specialist software for community care providers, visit our website or request a callback from one of our team.

Posted by administrator in care home management, domiciliary care and supported living, invoicing staff time, nursing home management, payroll analysis, scheduling software

Clocks going back – will your software pay your night staff correctly?

That’s an interesting point given that British Summertime officially ends this Sunday at 2am with the clocks going back by one hour.

So if you pay night staff by the hour will you be paying one hour more for anyone working the night shift starting this Saturday? And correspondingly of course do you pay one less hour when the clocks go forward in March and British Summertime starts?

Some organisations appear to rely on the supposition that an employee working on the night shift when Summertime ends will also be working on the night shift when Summertime starts and therefore a natural order and balance to these things exists. But that is rather wishful thinking to my mind. Across those two days within any year an employee could be on a different shift, be off sick, have left or be on holiday. And if they’re on holiday and you pay that by the hour then what calculation do you use then to ensure the correct remuneration?

Surprisingly I find some organisations blissfully unaware of the point I am making; and when I bring it to their attention there seems to be an immediate fallback position of the ‘natural balance’ rule I mentioned earlier!

Aware of this conundrum or not, it really doesn’t matter if you are an easyLog customer using our staff scheduling software  as you can resolve the issue either way. A simple tick box parameter allows you to specify if you wish to pay to the exact hours worked or to the normal scheduled shift. And that will take care of any holiday hours calculations and payments as well.

If you are a current customer that would like some help with implementing this feature please call our Support Desk on 0845 225 3011. If you don’t currently use our scheduling software but this article has got you interested in exploring what other clever and efficient things it could do for your organisation then call us on 01892 834406 and speak with one of our team.

Posted by administrator in British summertime hours, business support, care home management, cleaning management, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday Pay, invoicing staff time, Minimum Wage, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

10 ways Home Care Studio can make work – and life – simpler

female carer visits elderly client

When you’re choosing a home care system, the chances are you’ll have a long list of boxes that need to be ticked. But we know from talking to our customers that often it’s the less obvious features that prove most valuable in terms of saving time and making delivering quality care that little bit easier.

The following functions of our Home Care Studio software may not be top of your checklist – but we think that once you’ve tried them you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

  1. Reviewing care plans on the move – on a phone

Our Care-Logger app enables carers to carry out evaluations and assessments as well as view care plans and tasks associated with client visits wherever they are via their smartphone – even when there is no internet connection. It can also be used to view and manage rotas and as a clocking device for ultimate flexibility and convenience.

  1. Set an ideal rota

We know most providers like to send a familiar carer face to their service users – and that most carers want some certainty over their rota. So that’s where the ideal rota comes in. A powerful and flexible function that allows you to define carers’ regular visit routes and then use this as the basis for the weekly rota.

  1. Log client visits by mobile phone

When time is money, an accurate and cost-effective visit tracking system is essential. One that is proving particularly popular with our home care customers is visit logging by smartphone. Using QR codes (smart barcodes), NFC tags or GPS global positioning technology, all are simple to use, highly efficient and surprisingly inexpensive.

  1. Update records on the go

With our specially-designed care-Logger app, carers can make visit notes directly into client records using their phones – no uploading or transcribing required. And to save even more time and bother, you can easily set up existing assessments in Home Care Studio.

  1. It’s not just about home care…

Our Home Care Studio software has flexibility built in – which means it’s equally suitable for supported living and agency care providers. This is particularly useful for customers who have multi-faceted care businesses.

  1. Personalise your invoices

You can customise your company invoicing by adding your own logo and adjusting the layout, creating a consistent, professional look and feel across your paperwork.

  1. Easy access to policies and procedures

Our policies and procedures section means staff can quickly and easily find important information when they need it, saving time and helping to ensure best practice is adhered to at all times.

  1. CM2000 interface

Because we know that, in the real world, larger care organisations especially use a variety of management tools, we have made our software compatible with other leading providers, such as Care Management 2000 for smooth transitions between systems.

  1. Client contributions made easy

Our invoicing section takes into account different payment structures, including client contributions, saving time and reducing billing-related headaches.

  1. Reports with everything

Whatever kind of report you want and however you want it presented, you’ve got it. You can even access a mileage report from Google Maps if you want.

If you want to know more about our domiciliary care and supported living system or any of the points above, request a callback from one of our team or contact us by phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in business support, care record management, care recording, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, mobile worker tracking, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software

Are you and your staff ready for Brexit?

brexit-logo

If there’s one thing we can be sure about following the Brexit vote, it is uncertainty. None of us knows for sure what the coming months and years will bring, despite all the claims and counter claims. But when it comes to the European working time directive, it seems fair to say there will be no change soon because the UK already has an opt-out of the 48-hour week.

While this means there is no urgent need to rethink your staff scheduling system, it’s a good time to make sure you are prepared for any changes when they do come.

Having the right staff management system in place will help you ensure you have the optimum number of staff on your rota to keep your business running smoothly while controlling contracted hours, so you can keep costs down and service levels up.

Add to that the benefit of detailed budgeting, invoicing and payroll reports that can be tailored to your needs and you have all you need to keep a check on your staffing expenditure.

With an easyLog system, you also get a range of extra management tools that help streamline virtually all aspects of staffing, from training to HR and personal record keeping.

Visit our website to find out more.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, flexible working, invoicing staff time, latest news, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

Cloud options for every hosting scenario and budget

clouds on tablet PC to represent cloud server option

At easyLog, one of our defining principles is to help our customers benefit from the latest technology, whatever their size and way of working. As a result of a number of industry developments, including a significant reduction in the price of cloud server options and an increase in broadband speeds nationally, we are now pleased to be able to offer an expanded range of cloud-based facilities.

This means we have options to suit every type of hosting and server set-up and can provide high quality cloud services for almost every budget – in keeping with our principles.

Broadly, there are three main hosting models:

  • We can install easyLog software on your self- or externally-managed cloud server
  • We can manage your easyLog software and related functions on your cloud server
  • We can provide a full hosting and management service through our own servers

To discuss the different options and their relative benefits to your organisation, please contact one of our team or request a callback.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

Clocking in with a QR code now available for iPhone

iPhone clocking app grab

The latest version of our multi-platform clocking app for iPhone can now be used with a QR code, or smart barcode – providing even more flexibility for cost-conscious employers.

As well as a choice of clocking methods, our smartphone clocking app offers a variety of possible data location options – making it suitable for a huge variety of working situations and employees. You can also choose what client and employee details are returned with the clockings, as well as whether you want the data sent to the chosen server immediately or held for subsequent download.

All our clocking options log location details, date, time and device ID automatically.

For further info about the app, read our blogs Smartphone clocking app offers more location data options and Now staff can clock in with a smartphone and a QR code. Alternatively talk to one of our team.

Posted by administrator in employee attendance, latest news, mobile worker tracking