Has the Bundy Clock finally been killed off?

Before I answer this question, allow me first to clarify what a Bundy Clock actually is or at least what it is most often understood to be.


A Bundy Clock is a mechanical time recorder which comprises a display of the current time and date and an electromagnetic time stamping mechanism used to print the employee's time in and the time out on a cardboard card.

Individual cards are allocated to each employee, and they insert these cards into the printing mechanism whenever they want to clock in our out. This is most often at the start and end of the day but can also be for meal breaks during the day.

Bundy clocks are not connected to your network as they are merely stand-alone recording systems in the real sense of the word.


These two Bundy clock components are controlled by some electronics which, many years ago were very rudimentary, but in more recent times, can be programmed to perform some basic calculation of ordinary and overtime hours. This can mean that not only are the employees "clocking times" are printed but a calculation of their hours in perhaps three time categories such as ordinary time, time and one half and double time.

The reality is that the Bundy clock, despite its continued popularity in some sectors, was superseded by the modern Electronic Time Clock twenty years ago. Electronic time clocks have significant advantages over Bundy Clocks as they also include software which can be configured for more accurate attendance calculations and export to payroll.

These advantages aside it is not the efficiency of the new electronic time clock systems that may kill off the Bundy Clock but the increased and necessary focus on virus control. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has seen a spike in inquiries within the time & attendance industry for contact-less time clocks. Facial recognition, in particular, has now become the most sought after alternative.

The Bundy Clock, with its cardboard-based recording systems, is causing concerns with payroll staff who are aware that the Covid-19 virus ( and other viruses) can live up to 24 hours on porous surfaces. Moreover, the recent innovative move to add live reporting temperature sensors to some electronic time clocks is a feature that is not achievable in a Bundy Clocks due to their "unconnected" nature.


As far as costing goes, certainly electronic attendance systems are more costly in the initial purchase. Still, the case for a return on investment for electronic time clocks through process improvement and accuracy is quite clear.


There is a perception among some that Bundy clocks are much more straightforward that Electronic Time Clocks. That can be the case but not by a great margin. It would seem to me that advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

The advantages as of today and into the foreseeable future is that the modern electronic time clock is a more efficient attendance recording device and, due to recent innovations can now provide additional protection against viral contamination by virtue of the contact-less nature of facial recognition, temperature monitoring and contact tracing.

While the trusty old Bundy clock has held on determinedly in a few isolated pockets in manufacturing and specialized workshops, I suspect that the new sensitivities around virus transmission and the increasing responsibility for employers to protect their employees against the same  will kill the Bundy clock off once and for all



Jim Courtwood

Author of the Time & Attendance Guides series.

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