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How to Manage Global Time and Attendance

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Compiling and using accurate time and attendance data is critical to managing labor costs and adhering to all the applicable legal compliance requirements. For global time and attendance management, the scope of details, data, and complexity seem to grow exponentially with each new jurisdiction added.

However, more companies are expanding their talent search worldwide, even to the point of opening local offices or factories to tap into local labor markets most effectively. Mastering the process of managing global time and attendance data collection is essential to successful global operations. As noted in the Global Payroll Complexity Index report, "[payroll] non-compliance fines are becoming a secondary tax, not only a complexity threat, but a wider business risk as well. "


Configuring time and attendance data collection systems to maximize compliance

A global company needs both its time and attendance data collection and processing systems to conform to multiple jurisdictions' requirements. Legal compliance is no place to rely on work-arounds. Time clocks and back-end processing systems must be specifically designed to handle multi-country time collection and payroll processing.

For example, companies shouldn't expect workers in offices and factories outside the United States to be comfortable interacting with a time clock that doesn't speak to them in their own language. If a company wants to take full advantage of the time clock's functionality, such as using it to collect attestations that can't be challenged, it needs to be fully localized. Not simply translated, but localized.

Another critical data point is capturing the local time and physical location of the time punch. Accurate, validated time and attendance data is key to generating records required to prove compliance with local labor and tax laws. Records' authenticity is undermined if managers, payroll, or HR has to edit time and attendance records regularly to align them with local conditions.

The scheduling and payroll systems must be built with functionality that applies current labor law business rules to ensure compliance with all labor, benefits, and tax laws. Capturing precise dates and times is critical to accurate execution of systems as the detailed legal requirements of different countries vary wildly.

For example, Mexico has precise parameters that define whether a worker is working a day, night, or mixed shift. What shift an employee in Mexico works then dictates how a host of other labor laws apply, such how exact start and end times of the shift and total hours a week that may be worked.

Even defining all local non-work holidays can be more complicated than it would seem. For example, Israeli law doesn't just mandate a certain number of consecutive non-work hours per week, as so many countries do. It specifically prohibits requiring workers to work on their weekly day of rest. Of course, what qualifies as any individual's "weekly day of rest" varies by religious background. These are all details that a global time and attendance system needs to accommodate and manage.


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What can global companies do with all that worker data

As people get increasingly concerned about data privacy, countries are passing increasingly strict restrictions on how entities – including employers – can use that data. In some cases, a jurisdiction's data privacy and use laws apply to an employer even if that employer isn't in the country.  The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides its protections to any "personal data or data subjects ... who are in the E.U." That means that companies that hire workers or independent contractors located in the European Union must comply with the GDPR, even if the company doesn't have an office or legal presence there.

The GDPR restricts how employee data can be collected and used. Companies must inform E.U.-based workers exactly what personal data is being collected and how it's being used for an approved purpose. "Personal data" includes location data, which can be collected via GPS on company car, smartphones, or even badges or cards used to clock in or gain access to restricted areas onsite. h


Tools designed for a global employment market do the grunt work

Complying with all local labor, payroll, and tax laws is not optional. A company that has one worker in a jurisdiction must collect, use, and process that worker's data in a legal manner.

However, with the right tools and systems, global time and attendance data can be legally managed. Each company still needs to define its requirements and workflows, including oversight processes that ensure compliance. At the same time, the global worker compliance burden is significantly eased when using a punch clock  and payroll systems designed to operate in the global marketplace.




Biometric Usage: Growing concerns over the privacy and security of biometrics are driving government regulations surrounding the definition of personal data and how to protect it. These regulations vary from country to country, state-to-state, and in some cases city by city. Most often the governing regulations are dictated based on the location where the information is being collected. It is important to understand the local regulations in the geographic areas in which you operate. If you are uncertain regarding your regulatory obligations, we encourage you to consult with your legal counsel.