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The Top 7 Free and Open Source Time Clock Software Systems

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Update 8/15/2017: We’ve updated our list to delete outdated software and software that altered its pricing, as well as updating the remaining seven software offerings to give you a better idea of their features.

TANSTAAFL is an unwieldy acronym.

Pronounced “tanstahffle” it stands for, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

The acronym was popularized by Robert Heinlein’s 1966 science fiction novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” which is about a lunar revolution.

To the inhabitants of the penal colony on the moon, not even the air they breathe is free.  Resources are so scarce, and the economic controls of the Earth’s government so stringent, that they must pay for everything, including each breath they take.

Free time clock software

While things aren’t quite so extreme down here on present-day Earth, the colonists’ sentiment, that nothing is really free, still applies to a lot of things.

There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as free time clock software.  I’ve scoured the hundreds of different employee time tracking systems to find time clock solutions that are actually free.  This list has no “30 day free trial,” or “free with purchase of a separate system,” or “free limited demo.”

The below seven alphabetical options are all free forever and some (like the open source time clock systems) also have no restrictions on number of users or admins.

1. CKZ Time Clock

Screenshot of employee punch card in CKZ Time Clock

Employee punch card in CKZ Time Clock

CKZ is an installed time clock software for Windows.  It’s free to manage up to three employees, and allows payroll reporting, real-time employee monitoring, time and attendance tracking, and vacation time, sick days, and holiday pay.

To upgrade and track additional employees, and enable system-level security, pricing starts at $49.95.

What free gets you:

  • Payroll and time tracking
  • Real-time employee use monitoring
  • Attendance and overtime tracking

And what it doesn’t:

  • More than three users
  • Any in-app security measures

Review it here!

2. ClockIt

ClockIt reporting

ClockIt reporting

ClockIt is a cloud-based time and attendance tracker. It has a web-based punch in and punch out option and graph reporting. A convenient mobile version brings in additional features, such as route mapping and employee GPS tracking.

ClockIt is free for up to three users. After that, pricing starts at $8/month.

What free gets you:

  • Everything: The free plan includes all of the product’s features, it simply has a user cap

And what it doesn’t:

  • More than three users

Review it here!

3. Open Time Clock

Open Time Clock’s time card editing

Open Time Clock’s time card editing

This web-based system is not, as the name might suggest, actually open source. The basic version is, however, free for unlimited users and employees. The basic, free version includes clock in/clock out, automatic payroll calculation, and mobile access.

Unfortunately, the free version doesn’t include reporting or web-camera functionality. To get that you need to upgrade to the standard plan, which is $200 per year.

What free gets you:

  • Unlimited users
  • Time tracking
  • Multiple shift tracking
  • Locations permissions and GPS tracking
  • PTO request and approval system

And what it doesn’t:

  • Free tech support (there’s a fee)
  • Free setup assistance
  • 24-hour customer service line

Review it here!

4. SwiftTime by Soniga

SwiftTime clock in view

SwiftTime clock in view

For when you need the bare bones and aesthetics aren’t the most important, SwiftTime has your back. It features time tracking, punch in and punch out features, and allows employees to request time off in-app. Employees can also view their schedules. It keeps track of how much time off your employees can have and won’t allow requests to go over the limit.

SwiftTime is free for up to 15 users, after which it starts at $10/month.

What free gets you:

  • Full time tracking
  • Compatibility with Macs, PCs, tablets, and smartphones
  • Basic timesheet reporting

And what it doesn’t:

  • More than 15 users
  • A super modern or sleek UI

5. Time Clock MTS

Time Clock MTS clock-in view

Time Clock MTS clock-in view

This is an installed software tool for Windows computers. The free version allows you to track and manage up to three employees and, beyond that, the software starts at a $99 one-time fee.

The free version includes all the functionality of the paid version, including employee time-tracking, time off requests, fingerprint attendance tracking, and even the ability to take webcam images of employees as they clock in or clock out.  Reporting is also included.

What free gets you:

  • Auto-setup to the free version if you end the free trial with four or fewer employees
  • Full security measures (including fingerprinting and photo identification)
  • Basic hours and attendance reporting
  • PTO requests

And what it doesn’t:

  • More than four users
  • More comprehensive attendance reporting
  • In-app overtime calculations

Review it here!

6. Time Clock Wizard

Time Clock Wizard main page

Time Clock Wizard main page

This online time clock and employee scheduling software is totally free for unlimited users and employees. The company makes money through selling additional, optional services, such as web design, merchant accounts, and small business loans, which they advertise through the dashboard from time-to-time.

The software is full-featured, including not only time clock features such as timesheets and reimbursements, but also employee scheduling with the ability to notify employees by email and text of schedule changes.  Payroll functionality rounds out the key features, and allows for customized payroll generation, overtime, and reporting.

Time Clock Wizard has updated its free plan and is now free for up to 3 users.

What free gets you:

  • Multi-location tracking
  • Security measures
  • Basic reporting functionality

And what it doesn’t:

  • More than three users
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Extended reporting features

Review it here!

7. TimeTrex

TimeTrex Scheduling

TimeTrex Scheduling

An open source system, this time tracking software has no limits on employees, users, or time. The free download works for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

Features include modules for employee scheduling, time and attendance (with vacation and overtime tracking), and payroll with tax and benefit calculations and direct deposit functionality.

What free gets you:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Scheduling
  • Payroll

And what it doesn’t:

  • Invoicing
  • Expense tracking
  • HR document management

Review it here!

Buyer Beware

Any software that runs off of the computer clock can be tricked by a savvy computer user. All they need to do is change the computer’s clock settings, which will allow them to clock in and out any time they want, while fooling the software into thinking that they’re on time.

If you’d like to avoid this, lock your computer’s date and time settings so that they’re only able to be changed with an admin password.

Review it here.

Others?

Did I miss any other great free or open source time tracking systems?  Let me know which in the comments!

Want to learn more about legal software solutions? Check out these articles:

Looking for Time Clock software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Time Clock software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

Comments

Thanks for sharing JP, a great help for SMB companies who are not ready to pay for larger time systems or ones more integrated with recruiting and talent management like VIBE or Ultimate Software. Keep up the great reviews!

Thanks Ward!

thanks for the support

Thanks for sharing this list with us. Will check them now one by one. Hope they can be configured to work with my soyal device to keep track of my emplyees time.

Great list JP! Have you checked Hubstaff? They also have a free plan for a single user but with limited features. However, I really find their service really good specially with the paid plans’ features (Basic & Premium).

https://hubstaff.com/

Good list, though my main interest is in installed punch clock software, to keep track of a church’s sole paid hourly employee’s hours worked (i.e., a punch clock), and to print out that employee’s attendance record.

It’s not always clear from your program descriptions which of them allow this. I do know that CKZ Time Clock includes a punch clock function, but unfortunately it also allows an employee to edit his/her hours worked, which defeats the purpose of a punch clock.

I’ll take a look at each of these programs, but it would have been nice if you’d mentioned which offer a punch clock function, to save me and others time finding a suitable program. Thank you for at least narrowing down the choices!

I have checked most of the programs but it seems I can’t find program that display a calendar that staffs can view their work schedule. I’m in F&B industry and staffs including me can see all staffs on the calendar with time located to them. Then admin can do calculate their payroll. Can you recommend any program.

The Open Time Clock is free for only 30 days. Then they charge you. It says this in the Pricing section.

Hi Kristin,

That’s for their standard plan, the free plan (on the far left) says it is free permanently: http://www.opentimeclock.com/pricing.html

Do you happen to know of any that Employee can clock in using their phone or by calling in?

Do you have other options for webbased time tracker which able to connect to finger scanner machine?

Thanks for this great list of programs and websites. I am glad that you were straight to the point with the descriptions. It helped me to look at them for myself, without any bias, and choose which program to present at my most recent business meeting. I have been pushing this idea for a few months now, due to the fact that we use the tried and true, Paper time sheets. But that, as we know, has many downsides. This list cut my research time in half as I was able to go directly to the sites that applied to our needs and compare, as opposed to searching for the programs myself. Thanks again!

I have a question,
I am a remote manager to a clinic which only has two employees that clock in and out. I would like an online solutions that I can view and edit if I need to as the manager, but does not allow the employee to edit. Right now the program I have resides on one computer and they have full access to change any clock changes. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much! This is very helpful. I’ve been on the fence about switching to something more electronic, instead of the paper like we’ve been using and list this makes it a lot easier. I’m not necessarily looking for something free. But this gives me some options to look at. Thanks again.

eHour1 is free and opensource as well, available at https://ehour.nl/

You should check out ClockIt https://clockit.io. This tool helps employees get informed about their time performance. This way they have the liberty to contribute as long as they are able to make up for the week. ClockIt is the only cloud based time and attendance software that is compatible with over 900 different biometric time and attendance devices.

Can any of these software send SMS to a particular number on clocking in or out.

Hi Chiedozie,

Timetrex lets you record GPS location/photos with each punch through a mobile app, with TimeClock Wizard you can opt to receive real-time notifications, via text or email, when unscheduled clock-ins or clock-outs are attempted, and both Open Time Clock and Kimai have mobile apps, though I couldn’t tell if they can send text message alerts.

Timeclock Wizard’s free version only allows 3 users.

Some updates: Time Clock Wizard’s free version now only allows up to 3 employees and limits the features. TimeTrex’s open-source version is quite limited compared to their paid versions which are quite costly.

The problem with these is that all a person has to do to modify their time punch is to change the time on their desktop. If a person arrives at 8:10 a.m. and was supposed to be in at 8:00 a.m., all they have to do is roll the computer clock back to 8:00 a.m., punch in, and the change the computer time back to the actual time. Same at lunch or leaving early.

Dan and Calvin, thanks for the catches. I’ll make sure those go in in the next update!

Which of these are web based time tracker which able to connect to fingerprint time attendance device?

Susie Wallace, that will not be a problem with SwiftTime by https://sonigasoftware.com because SwiftTime Clock is Real Time from the server. Employees can change the clock of their devices but they can’t change SwiftTime Clock.

Do any of these have the ability for quarter-hour rounding?

yes Jen Lofton, rounding is one of SwiftTime’s feature. Please take a look at:

https://sonigasoftware.com/swifttimeinfo.htm

thanks

great list! I tried Anuko first and settled on it

Time Clock Wizard is no longer free to unlimited users…It is free for up to 3 users, after that it is 12.95 a month and up, depending on how many users there will be. I liked it when I tried it, very simple and easy to use.

Any time systems that have different jobs that can be selected for each employee to allocate their time on jobs daily. We are in the construction industry and would like to install a better time system and track the jobs worked on.

Do you know of any time clock that automatically clocks a personin when their smartphone, tablet, mobile device or computer logs into the office WiFi. Since each device has a specific MAC address, when ever they enter or leave the WiFi network, the software would be able to track them.

[…] why. In life, there aren’t many things free so people are naturally wary. You can visit this url:http://blog.capterra.com/the-top-8-free-and-open-source-time-clock-software-systems/ here to know more. Does that mean you can’t get a free time clock? In actual fact you can but […]

Be sure to check out Homebase too! (joinhomebase.com) It’s free, and there’s both a time clock and employee scheduling, with lots of added bells and whistles. The time clock is available via web, Android and iOS apps.

There are also free employee apps which you can set up to allow employees to use to clock in when they’re at your business (using the phone’s GPS). They’ll also get upcoming shift reminders, be able to trade shifts with manager approval, and more.

Check it out at https://joinhomebase.com!

Hi
Im looking for an app that can be installed on an iPad that allows employees to clock in clock out from a single iPad at work
Where each can have their own pin or app can capture a picture of them to
Clock in and clock out
Then tonne able to pull out a report

Basically convert the manual timesheeta theybfill now into an electronic form
Thanks

I’m a Time Clock Wizard user. Good program and support. This is now only free for 3 or less users however.

I need something web-based with fast clock-in/out features via phone/web and that allows a supervisor to approve or send back for modification. Anything that handles supervisor approval well? I’m tracking over 300 employees, with about 50 or so different supervisors.

Also need the reverse of clocking in and out as we want salaried employees to just input time they missed, not time on the job. Vacation days used, sick time used, etc. Make sense?

Hi Toby,

For that many employees you’ll want something like Open Time Clock, which allows unlimited users and also has mobile access, or eHour which is also free for unlimited users.

Any time clock that automatically clocks a personin when their smartphone, tablet, mobile device or computer logs into the office WiFi. Since each device has a specific MAC address, when ever they enter or leave the WiFi network, the software would be able to track them.

Thanks for this list!

FYI Time Trex is cancelling their free service as of March 31, 2017.

Time Station works well. It is an app you use to clock in and out by phone/scanning your ID card.

I am looking for something that can track daily attendance not hourly for Mission specific events for 30 + individuals for a cert team any ideas?

I wanted a program that would allow be to log time for personal and for business on my Mac computer to document for the IRS. Ideally a program that didn’t require internet connection to use, but would settle for something otherwise. Tried some of these open source programs, but found their installation very difficult (I guess I’m not that computer savvy). Have had several failed attempts over the last couple hours. Any recommendation that is 1) simple to install 2) allows at least binary categorization of the time logged 3) preferably can function without an internet connection, but would settle for not having this if it met 1) and 2).

TopTracker is free.
Available fo Windows 7+, OSX 10.9+, Debian, and RPM.
More info here:
https://www.toptal.com/tracker/

I’ve just started using TopTracker. Seems simple enough for my needs: Reducing wasted time and focusing on tasks.

@Amy Pakidis – Just to clarify, the free cloud hosted service of TimeTrex Community Edition has only been discontinued for some geographical areas and/or industries. However there is still the On-Site installation of TimeTrex Community Edition that is open source and that will always be freely available. The On-Site installation of course recommends that you have your own dedicated web-server to install it on and the means to properly maintain and backup your data to avoid potential data loss if your server or hard drive crashes.

Additionally, the description for TimeTrex doesn’t convey very well that it is a complete rule-based workforce management suite, that includes full self-service and HRM functionality in addition to everything else that is mentioned, as well.

Going through the list I see some potential open source software that we as the government can use. Look at most of them I don’t see if they can be combined with an access control hardware ( door swipe system).
If you guys have any idea or refer me which software can make this possible, that would be great. So an open source software with time attendance done with access control hardware and also incorporate sick and vacation leave.

There are many free and open source time clock software in the market but i found http://zipclock.com/ time clock software best of them. It is free for Android and IOS as well as one month free subscription for web app.

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