Buddy punching, the costly act of employees punching in for one another, is out at New Mexico state health facilities. As part of the New Mexico Department of Health's Facilities Division's efforts to automate time and attendance records, data collection terminals with biometric verification technology have been installed at some division facilities.

Chelmsford, Mass.-based Kronos is providing the Kronos model 4500 terminals with model 4500 Touch ID finger-scanning option as well as the complete automated system. To ensure worker privacy, the finger-scan technology doesn't store actual fingerprint images. Instead, it scans and converts the employee's fingerprint into an encrypted mathematical representation.

The time and attendance setup, which covers all seven of the department's inter-departmental agencies and 2,100-employee workforce, helps control labor costs, minimizes compliance risk and has improved employee accountability and payroll accuracy.

The system complements the state's ERP system with a bi-directional interface to PeopleSoft payroll. Kronos provides the ERP system with real-time, attendance data leading to accuracy in payroll, and consistency in the enforcement of compliance requirements. The Kronos system applies to all types of employees, including nurses, lab technicians, family planning associates, primary health care providers, operational, departmental IT and management staff.

Timeliness is crucial, said Anita Westbrook at the New Mexico Department of Health office of facilities management: "Payroll is typically a state and local government's largest expense, and even a slight delay or error in time and attendance can have a significant impact. Kronos helps us rein in budgeted dollars with increased efficiency and reduced payroll error through real-time labor information. A fair and automated system also improves employee accountability and satisfaction."

Christine Carmichael, director of public sector industry marketing at Kronos added: "We're operating in a time when government accountability is as heightened as it ever has been, and when labor costs account for as much as 40 to 50 percent of operational budgets, biometric reader technology can take worker validation to a whole new level of responsibility."

Kronos offers a variety of time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring and labor analytics applications.

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