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How to differentiate between time, attendance and leave management processes

How to differentiate between time, attendance and leave management processes

Time, attendance, and leave management have always been a priority item for most organizations where there are significant numbers of staff. As we all know, manpower cost is one of the substantial expenses of an organization, especially in IT-related businesses where it is the single highest expense. No wonder, there is a great need to monitor it closely to prevent any cash leakage or data error or fraud. It is the task of HR Operations or Payroll teams to implement and execute HR policies that govern these three processes.

Before we look at the various time trackers used by organizations, let us first differentiate between time, attendance, and leave management processes.

Time management is generally used for major projects or by professionals/consultants who track their time for either billing their clients or to track progress or milestones of individual projects.

Attendance management is the most widely used process in any organization to track the availability of employees for work and, in turn, provides data to HR/Payroll for salary computation. Maintaining attendance is mandatory from a Shops & Establishment Act perspective as this data is used by labor inspectors to check if employees have been asked to perform overtime and if they have been compensated appropriately as per law.

Leave management system tracks the availability of balance and leave (privilege, casual, sick, maternity, etc) by employees.

Over the past years, many challenges were faced by HR:

  • Completely manual process, cumbersome and expensive
  • Needs constant monitoring and oversight
  • Employee discipline in updating records
  • Timely approvals by manager on employee time forms
  • Data gaps in employee time records
  • Correlation of data between time or attendance data to leave data
  • Data flow for payroll action
  • Cumbersome pay calculations for LOP/reversal of LOPs
  • Unscientific or disorderly record management and repository


With challenges come innovations! Steadily & significantly, technology helped HR teams to overcome most (if not all) of the above-mentioned challenges. Today, HR teams have the option of choosing from a bouquet of such HR technology. Bio-metric, Iris recognition, Fingerprint reader, system login, card readers, voice recognition, and now facial recognition techniques.

Though these methods are quite safe, it is now perceived that fraud or malfunctioning can occur through tailgating, stealing & sharing of codes or passwords or entry/id cards, impersonation, injuries to a person, etc thereby forcing companies to look for more secure/better technology.

Facial recognition started off in smartphones as an alternative to passwords or pin numbers. This technology was recognized by companies as the closest one can get to ensure genuine access to systems or to property entrances. The features and structure of an employee’s face are stored in a remote, secure access-controlled system and that data is linked to HR, Payroll, Security,

Admin/Maintenance, and other related systems so that access is provided only if the device recognizes the face. The algorithms that drive this technology are so smartly built that one cannot use a virtual image or photograph or mask of the original user’s face in trying to gain access.

Face recognition may not be the answer to all the above tech flaws or risks as it is too fraught with issues that seem to be cropping up regularly, the most significant one being the angle of the face of injury or surgeries that may prevent access.

Can an identical twin of an employee fool the system? That is something to think about, isn’t it?

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