Security guards watching CCTV

Biometric Solutions: A Step Too Far?

After our blog not long ago on ‘Big Brother’-style time and attendance solutions, a Canadian airline has come under fire from its employees after implementing a biometric workforce monitoring solution, which takes workers’ fingerprints as they clock in and out.

Air Canada require all baggage handlers to scan their fingerprints twice a day – but employees argue that the system invades their privacy. Employees who are uncomfortable with the solution have even been threatened with losing their jobs if they don’t comply.

At IQ:timecard, we hear a lot about biometric time and attendance solutions. They’re surely a great way to stamp out time theft and boost security – after all, replicating a fingerprint or a retina scan is much harder than forging a signature! The security element is crucial when working in an airport, but local reports state that the system was introduced to prevent employees being paid for hours they haven’t actually work. Whatever the reason for implementation, many people find issue with these solutions. It seems they’re perceived as overstepping the mark when it comes to offering employees a modicum of privacy and protection.

Biometric workforce monitoring solutions fall well within the boundaries of the law – as long as the employer demonstrates a need to collect this kind of data. The employers must also show that they are protecting the data, and must not use it for any other purposes. Employees should be notified well in advance that the data is being collected, and they should have access to the data gathered at all times.

So why are biometric time and attendance solutions to unpopular with employees? They offer all the benefits of a regular solution – they’re conducive to accurate wages, they make scheduling paid leave easier and they allow employers to better monitor which of their staff are working the hardest.

Perhaps it’s the existence of these less invasive solutions that make biometric offerings seem like a step too far. After all, the most common use of fingerprinting techniques occurs when police need to track criminals – many employees feel this method has negative connotations and makes them feel like they’re being spied on, rather than monitored for the good of the company.

At IQ:timecard, our time and attendance solution is non-invasive, and there are plenty of reasons why employees will benefit from it.