Soniga Software's SwiftTime web-based time and attendance application may not be much to look at, but it provides plenty of features, and it does it all for free. Soniga has been writing time and attendance software for a couple of decades. The web version is based on the desktop model that companies can run on their own servers.

The free version is available to only very small businesses as only 15 people can use the free system. After that, the price is $10 for up to 20 employees, and $15 for up to 30. Additional pricing options go all the way up to 500 employees.

As we noted before, SwiftTime is not a particularly pretty system, but it's easy to read. Employees can clock in from any web-enabled device including smartphones and tablets. Companies can integrate the time and attendance with their payroll to calculate hours and compensation. There is also a way to track salaried employees in addition to hourly. Contractor work can also be calculated and tracked in the system.

Administrators can set up rules for calculating accrued time off, and the self-service features allow employees to make time-off requests, which are then sent via email to supervisors who can approve or reject the requests. This ties into scheduling so managers can see employee availability and know whether or not they have the appropriate staffing.

Soniga touts the security of its cloud-based server for protecting company and employee data. That's also how it prevents a savvy employee from adjusting the time on their phone or browser to reflect a different time from when they clock in or out. All time is tied to the server in the cloud.

When it comes to "buddy punching," or employees clocking in for each other, Soniga offers a "Buddy Punching Report" that tracks patterns where one employee is typically punching in for another. It's easy enough to spot if one employee is having his or her buddy continually punch them in. It's harder for SwiftTime's system to recognize if done infrequently.

SwitftTime has an additional feature that supports job estimates by allowing supervisors to break out employee time on specific tasks. This does require a certain amount of diligence on the part of employees to punch in and out on those jobs, but it's a nice feature to have.

While you're reviewing SwiftTime's features, keep in mind that reporting is limited, and support is available only online and during business hours. The online guides, while not very attractive, are detailed and easy to follow, though.

See other options for Best Time & Attendance Software.

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