In Mexico, it is vital for companies to take appropriate measures to control their employees’ attendance. This not only entails confirming their schedules, but also issues related to the measurement of productivity within the company and how to avoid claims in the event of a labor lawsuit.
It is the employer whom, in case of labor lawsuit, has the burden to prove the following to the labor authorities: i) the work schedule; (ii) whether or not the employees worked overtime, and, if applicable, the payment of the such; and (iii) if the employees were absent from work with a justified or unjustified reason, and, if applicable, be able to prove the corresponding discounts for these absences or even to prove the rescission of the employment relationship without liability to the company for missing more than three days in a thirty day period.
The Federal Labor Law does not establish specific requirements on the type of attendance control that companies must have. However, the most common include attendance lists, punch cards and fingerprint or cornea scanners. The latter two being the most recommended, since such prevent employees from checking in for one another.
It is important that employers take into consideration that the check-in process must take place when the employee enters to provide services, when the employee leaves for food or breaks and when the employee concludes the work shift. Likewise, it is advisable that every pay period a hardcopy of the timesheet is printed to be signed by the employee, even in case of electronic control systems.
Another alternative is to include on the payment invoices a section reflecting attendance for pay period. With the signature of the receipt, the employee’s work schedule is also validated and acknowledged. In addition, for the purposes of controlling an employee’s absentees, it is very important to include on paystubs or statements an item detailing the employee’s absences and confirming whether or not absences were justified. Whenever applicable, paystubs should indicate the absences and corresponding deductions. In case of overtime payments, paystubs should also indicate the number of hours to be paid and if such hours correspond to double or triple overtime pay.
For employees in management or otherwise not deemed hourly, it can be difficult to track their attendance. In these cases, it is important that the individual employment contracts contain a clause corresponding to the work schedule and state that they are obligated to abide by the work schedule established by the employer. Such document should also state that the employee may only work overtime with prior written authorization signed by a legal representative of the employer and require these workers to submit a daily record of their activities in such a way that the company can prepare the corresponding attendance reports to be signed by these employees.
Having adequate attendance controls provides companies with the necessary evidence to respond to and defend potential labor lawsuits and inspections by the of labor and Social Security authorities.