Time Attendance Timeclock Systems : Glossary
1. Annualised Hours
2. Attendance Tracking
A method of tracking hours worked by an Employee to establish gross pay, or entitlement to
Flexitime working time benefits.
Making copies of data so they can be used to restore the original information in the event of data loss. Backups are useful
for two main purposes:
(1) Restore a state following a major system error, called disaster recovery
(2) Restore small numbers of files after they have been accidentally deleted or corrupted.
Most programs and computers are capable of scheduling backup events.
An ID-Card, or ID-Badge, that is used to "clock-on" to a Timeclock system. The cards and the contents of the bar-code
or magnetic strip were defined by the American Banking Association. A standard credit card size and material is normal for
this type of ID-Card, making it very robust and convenient to carry.
A series of varying thickness printed bars that represent digital characters when read by an optical reader. These readers
provide very fast data input of long strings of numbers and are popular in the retail trade, shipping and logistics industries.
Popular barcode versions are "3 of 9" (Code 39) and "2 of 5". Barcoded ID-Badges are very secure and robust, particularly when
compared to magstripe badges.
6. Clock Card
A type of cardboard card inserted into an electromechanical timeclock. Must be replaced when all blank spaces are
printed over. Data must then be manually tabulated to obtain timeclock totals. See Electromechanical Time Clock.
7. Compressed Hours
8. Compensation Time
Time off to compensate for extra hours worked instead of overtime payment.
Also known as time off in lieu.
9. Core Hours
Hours during which Flexitime Employees must be available at work each day,
which are typically 10am to 4pm.
10. Flexible Working
Any form of alternative working pattern that is negotiable between the Employer and Employee. Flexible working allows
Employees to meet personal commitments (such as taking children to school) and aspirations (studying for a degree) whilst
meeting business requirements.
A system permitting flexibility of working hours at the beginning or end of the day. Employees must work the
Core Hours set by the Employer and complete an agreed total number of hours in
an accounting period, typically a calendar month. Debit or credit hours are the variance between actual hours worked and the
accounting period target. In most cases debit or credit hours are usually carried over from one accounting period to the next.
12. Grace Period
Rounding rules can be adjusted to allow a grace period, which may be set
from one minute to several minutes. If a 3 minute grace period is applied the Employee will not be penalised until after
3 minutes late arrival.
13. Magstripe Badge
Used to carry encoded data information, such as badge number and name, on a magnetic stripe. A badge that has a magstripe
could have its data information erased if it is kept near a source of strong radio-frequencies, such as a mobile phone.
14. Midnight Crossover
A period of work in which an Employee is present on two consecutive calendar dates. Clock-in time is on one day, and the next
clock-out is on the following day. All time attendance software systems must have a special handling routine to be able to
calculate worked time that involves a Midnight Crossover. Many software systems require a manual adjustment for these time
stamp events. TIMY-Soft handles these events automatically, or manually if preferred.
15. Night Shift
16. Optical Reader
A robust type of biometric or badge reader that typically uses infra-red light to read the details of a fingerprint or a
17. Print Head
Used in a traditional electromechanical timeclock. It is part of the mechanical process, with an inked ribbon,
to print time and date onto a paper time card. It is an expensive consumable and requires regular replacement.
18. Proximity Card
Also known as 'contact-less'. The use of radio frequencies to interrogate the information held on the card or badge allows
this card technology to avoid physical contact with the card reader. However, the technology is much more expensive compared
to magstripe or barcode.
20. Rounding Rules
Also known as time rounding or quartering. It is a method of penalising Employees who do not arrive at work at the required time
(for example, losing 15 minutes clocked time). Rounding can also be used with Grace Period.
21. RS232C Protocol
A communications protocol, dating from 1969, that limited the cable length to 50 feet at a maximum data rate of 20Kbps in
the original specification. The use of UTP CAT-5 cable permits a maximum distance of 147 feet at a data rate of 1.5Mbps.
Lower data rates may permit the use of longer cable lengths.
22. Smart Card
Also known as a 'chip card' or 'IC-card'. Expensive and often results in slower verification of information held on the card,
compared to barcode and magstripe cards. A bank ATM card with 'chip and PIN' demonstrates
the slow verification speed.
Transport Control Protocol / Internet Protocol suite, created in 1983. A networking protocol that allows devices to
communicate using a popular network infrastructure. Fast, efficient and reasonably reliable.
24. Time Card
Usually made from cardboard or stiffened paper, time cards are inserted into an electromechanical timestamp machine (sometimes
known as a Bundy clock) when starting and ending a work period. Time is 'punched in' and its data must then be collated and
keyed into a payroll system. Also known as timesheets.
25. Time off in lieu (TOIL)
Employees take time off as compensation for hours they have worked in excess of their contractual hours. 8 hours
additional work would permit 8 hours 'time off in lieu' and the Employee would not receive overtime pay.
Originally developed to calculate payroll costs, Timesheets record the start and end of tasks, or the duration of worked
hours. This information is used for payroll, billing, project costing, time tracking and time management.
27. Traditional Timeclock
Invented by Willard Bundy in 1888, an electromechanical type of time recorder that stamps, or prints, the time and date onto a
clock card. See Time Card. This type of timeclock requires regular maintenance and
Generically, an inter-connectivity method that allows wire-free communications between devices. Radio-frequency wireless
protocols are always limited by distance, physical surrounding and electrical interference.
29. Work-life balance
Having a measure of control over when, where and how you work and being able to enjoy an optimal quality of life. Work-life
balance is achieved when an individual's right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as
the norm, to the mutual benefit of the individual, business and society.