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Is HR Dept. Involved in Deciding Employee Data Collection?

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It should be.

A great article was recently published on the Society for Human Resource Management website called “How Will Workplace GPS Tracking and Biometric Data Collection Trends Affect HR.” This article discusses how digital data collection about employees isn’t just an IT issue – it’s an HR issue. Unfortunately, HR is too often left out of the loop when it comes to selecting applications that collect biometric and location (GPS) data. Often, they’re not even part of the policy development on how that data will be stored and used – they’re just tasked with the frontline duties of getting employees on board with it.

The article pointed out three main areas where HR has to be part of the decision-making team when it comes to biometric, GPS, and other forms of digital employee data collection.

1.Developing and implementing a comprehensive employee data cybersecurity program.

This includes helping decide what sensitive employee data will be collected and how it may be used and shared; how and when employee consent and training around these issues is done. For example, people commonly believe a biometric time and attendance system actually stores fingerprints, which isn’t true. IT teams, which may not have the same sensitivities to employee concerns and HS personnel, can easily overlook how important messaging and training on this issue will be to getting employee consent and adoption when rolling out biometric time clock readers.

2.Staying on top of the changing legal requirements and duties regarding biometric and GPS data.

Just as the HR team stays current with changing overtime or deduction laws, they have to start staying on top of what the current law is in their state regarding employers collecting and using sensitive employee data. The author of the article notes that more and more states are enacting laws regulating employers’ behavior in this area. It’s a challenge having one more legal compliance issue to manage, but that’s why point number three is so critical.

3.HR has to be part of the selection and implementation committee when looking at time and attendance, and workforce management solutions.

These are the main systems that will have the functionality and business purpose of collecting the GPS and/or biometric data. The choices made at these stages will drive a lot of these issues, such as whether the data is stored onsite or by a third party; and when and how employee consent is obtained and maintained.

It’s a valuable article and worth a quick look to get into more details of the author’s point of view. Collecting and using biometric and GPS data has great value when it comes to employer security and payroll accuracy, but HR is the stakeholder that can best remember the human element of this issue on behalf of employees.

While ATS is passionate about time and attendance and excited to support organizations navigate workforce dynamics around timekeeping, we recommend you reach out to your regional and/or local HR chapter for more information on common workplace advice and procedures.

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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.