What are timesheets?


Timesheets record the amount of time that employees or contractors spend on specific projects.

Timesheets are documents used by both employees and contractors to record the amount of time they have spent working on specific projects or tasks. They are an important tool for businesses in tracking and managing employee hours worked. Timesheets provide detailed information about the amount of time spent on each project and can be used to calculate both payments and predict costs. 

History of timesheets 

Timesheets have been in use since the early 19th century, when factory owners used timesheets to keep track of how long workers stayed on the job and how much they were paid. By the late 19th century, timesheet technology had advanced enough that employers could easily track the hours worked. 

Recent timesheet trends

The digital age has seen many changes in timesheet technology, from paper-based systems to online and/or app time-tracking software. This allows for more flexibility in managing employee hours, as well as increased accuracy compared to manual systems. Many organisations have adopted cloud-based timesheet software, which allows for easy access to employee records and data from any location. 

Advantages of timesheets 

Using timesheets offers several advantages for companies and employees alike. For companies, it is an effective way to manage payroll, as well as track hours worked by each individual employee or contractor. This information can then be used to make decisions about staffing and project costs, and when additional resources may need to be allocated or shifted. Additionally, timesheets can help employers monitor employee performance and productivity.  

For employees, timesheets provide a record of their hours worked, which they can use for tax purposes or reference in the event of a payroll dispute. Additionally, timesheets can help employees better manage their time and ensure they are taking the necessary breaks required by local laws. 

Disadvantages of timesheets 

Despite its benefits, there are a few potential disadvantages to using timesheets. For one, the process of tracking employee hours is often labour intensive and requires manual input or review. This can lead to errors, resulting in incorrect pay-outs and disputes between employers and employees. Manual timesheets are also vulnerable to fraud, as they could be altered or manipulated by either party. 

Use cases 

Timesheets are used across industries from construction retail to hospitality and healthcare. A recent case in the US in which an Illinois home healthcare provider was ordered to pay $1.1 million, including damages and back wages to 69 workers demonstrates how timesheets can protect both employees and employers. The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company paid a daily rate to caregivers, the majority of whom worked 24-hour shifts, regardless of the number of hours worked, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations. 

A court determined that the employer owed the affected workers $562,389 in back wages and assessed an equal amount in damages. The court also ruled that the company violated record-keeping requirements by failing to track its employees’ hours worked. Following the investigation, the company began paying workers on an hourly basis and recording overtime for hours over 40 in a week.