The most popular reason is to prevent buddy punching. With a mechanical punch clock, I can leave at 4:00 and tell my buddy to punch me out at 5:00. Even with time clock programs that are password protected, I can just give my buddy my password and still head out early. The only way to completely remedy a situation like this is to either take a photo snapshot at every punch in and out and then compare the images to worker punch times, or require biometric authentication. If I want to buddy punch, I have to either disguise my colleague to look like myself or cut off a finger! Both seem a little too drastic just to cheat the company out of a couple hours work.
The second reason is to streamline the punch in and out process. Employers don't want workers having to fiddle around with the mouse and keyboard, select their name from a list, and enter a password. Rather, they want a worker to walk up to the time clock and swipe a finger that will both recognize who they are and punch them in all from that one finger swipe. This is usually an attempt to eliminate lines forming at the time clock station during times of heavy use.
Did I miss any other significant reasons for moving to a biometric based time and attendance system? Please drop me a comment and let me know.
We've been chasing biometric integration with our Virtual TimeClock software for the last 5 years, cultivating relationships and testing technologies. We made a breakthrough last month with a vendor who can now provide biometric fingerprint scanner support on both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac.
Virtual TimeClock Product Specialist