Time and Motion Study: Meaning, Objectives and Treatment

In this article we will discuss about the Time and Motion Study:- 1. Meaning of Time and Motion Study 2. Objectives of Time and Motion Study 3. Benefits 4. Treatment of Some Items.

Meaning of Time and Motion Study:

Time study is defined as a work measurement technique for recording the times and rates of working for the elements of a specified job carried out under specified conditions and for analysing the data to determine the time necessary for carrying out the job at a defined level of performance.


Motion study implies dividing the work into fundamental elements or basic operations of a job or a process with the object of eliminating unnecessary or defective elements in a job. After investigating all movements in a job, process or operation it finds out the most scientific and systematic method of performing the operation or completing the job.

Thus, time study fixes the standard time for a job or a process while motion study eliminates wasteful motions or the movement of a worker on the job. Both are complimentary to each other.

Objectives of Time and Motion Study:

Objectives of time and motion study are:

1. They eliminate unnecessary motions, fatigue, and seek to improve human efforts in doing a job.

2. They bring about improvement in method, procedure, techniques and processes relating to a job.

3. They make effective utilisation of materials, machines, human resources.


4. They also improve layout and design of plant and equipment and working environment.

Benefits of Time and Motion Study:

The following benefits are derived by the Management from time and motion study:

1. Optimum utilisation of materials, plant, labour and financial resources is possible.

2. Labour requirements can be properly assessed.


3. Determination of fair wage rates and effective wage incentive schemes can be determined.

4. Setting of labour cost standards and control of the labour cost are possible.

5. Labour budgets can be prepared.

6. Job can be standardised.


7. Improvement in work methods by making comparison between time taken to complete a job and time taken to complete the same type of job under different methods.

8. Effective cost control and proper planning can be made with the help of time and motion study.

Treatment of Some Items of Motion Study:

(i) Overtime:

Overtime is the work put in by a worker beyond normal working hours. The wage rate for overtime is generally 1½ times of usual rate. It is double or triple if the work is performed on any holiday or Sunday or on weekly holiday. In costing, the cost of overtime premium must be separated from regular earnings.

Additional payment for overtime may be charged to the:

(i) Job directly if overtime is worked at the customer’s request with the object of completing the job within a specified period;

(ii) To the department which has been responsible for causing delay;

(iii) To the Costing Profit & Loss Account if overtime is necessary to make up the time lost due to breakdown of machinery, power failure etc.;

(iv) To the prime cost if the work is on a peak load due to seasonal rush in the factory.

Of late, it has been a regular feature to grant overtime work to the workers for the reasons beyond the control of the management, so it will be logical and rational to charge the extra payment for overtime direct to production.

(ii) Holiday and Vacation Pay:

Workers enjoy some holidays like Independence Day, Republic Day, Mahatma Gandhiji’s birthday and other Festival holidays with full pay. Production on these days remains suspended. Though payment for holidays is unproductive, the expense is treated as direct labour cost and charged to production.

(iii) Leave with Pay:

According to the Factories Act. workers are entitled to annual leave with pay for some days as specified. This leave is known as earned leave. Moreover, they are entitled to casual leave, medical leave, special leave etc. with full pay. Practically speaking, the wages paid to workers for the period in which they do not contribute to production may be treated as unproductive wages.

It is not generally treated as a direct charge to a product or to a job but is treated as factory overhead and recovered through departmental overhead rates. Alterna­tively, an inflated rate of direct wages cost can be applied to absorb both normal wages and an appropriate portion of leave with pay.

(iv) Attendance Bonus:

Sometimes workers are paid extra wages for their regular and punctual attendance. This extra payment of wage is known as attendance bonus. It is generally treated as direct wages and charged to a product or job. But it can also be treated as factory overhead and may be recovered through departmental overhead rates.

(v) Apprentices’ Wages:

In many factories it is the practice that new workers have to work as apprentice for some time before they are absorbed in regular work-force. As they are novice they are less efficient than the skilled and regular workers.

During training period they are likely to cause more scrap and wastes. Moreover, they take more time than normal to complete a job assigned to them. For the reasons stated earlier they are paid a lower rate of wage per hour.

The wages paid to them are treated as production overhead and should be charged to the annual output by including it in the factory overheads. But, if learners’ wages can be easily identified with a job, they should be treated as direct wages.

(vi) Shift Premium:

When there is an unusual pressure of work, workers may be asked to work in the evening or night shifts. Generally, higher rate of wages or additional payment is made for night shift work.

This additional payment can be treated in two ways:

1. Where workers are asked to work in night shift at the request of the customers to complete their job within a specified time, extra payments are charged directly to the job concerned.

2. When the workers are paid extra for working in night shifts in order to increase the output of a whole or to make up production backlog, the premium element should be separated from direct wages and is to be treated as a production overhead.

(vii) Fringe Benefits:

An employee’s pay roll generally consists of basic wages, dearness allowance, house rent allowance, city compensatory allowance etc. Besides these, a variety of benefits are provided to the workers. These benefits are known as fringe benefits. Fringe benefits are not directly related to the direct efforts of the employee.

Fringe benefits may comprise:

(i) Holiday pay;

(ii) Leave pay;

(iii) Sick pay;

(iv) Employer’s contribution to provident fund;

(iv) State insurance and medical benefits;

(v) Gratuity;

(vi) Good attendance bonus;

(vii) Cheap canteen supplies etc.

Treatment in Cost Accounts:

The expenses in way of fringe benefits cannot be treated as direct labour cost and, as such, cannot be allocated to cost units as direct cost. They may be treated as items of departmental overhead and booked to standing order numbers allotted to each type of such expenditure.

If the amounts are not uniform in each accounting period, an amount is estimated in advance for the whole year and a proportionate charge is made for each period.

In some companies, however, cost of fringe benefits related to direct labour are charged as an additional direct labour cost. Horngren suggests that the latter approach is conceptually preferable because these costs are a fundamental part of acquiring labour services.

(viii) Idle Time:

Idle time is the difference between the time for which workers are paid and the time for which the workers do work. So, idle time represents the time for which the employer makes payment but from which the employer does not gain anything in terms of production.

Virtually, during idle time, the workers remain idle and contribute nothing to the production.

Idle time includes some unavoidable losses like time taken in travelling between the factory gate and the department in which the worker concerned is engaged; time lag between the completion of one job and the commencement of the next; tea breaks, tiffin breaks; personal needs and the time when production is stopped or interrupted for machine maintenance.

The wastage of time for the above reason or reasons cannot be avoided and the employer has to bear the financial loss arising out of such reasons. Idle time that results from unavoidable causes is treated as normal idle time. Abnormal idle time is the result of causes which are avoidable.

The following are the examples of abnormal idle time:

(i) Time lost through the breakdown of machinery due to inefficiency or bad mainte­nance or for power failure which is frequent in our country;

(ii) Time lost through non-availability of materials;

(iii) Time lost due to stoppage of work on account of strikes, fire etc.;

(iv) Bottlenecks in production;

(v) Time lost for waiting for instruction from the superior.

These above causes are also known as administrative and productive causes. Idle time due to productive and administrative causes can be avoided if little care is taken in respect of maintenance of machineries ; proper store control, performance of purchase department and coordination between store and purchase department.

All the above factors respon­sible for controllable and avoidable idle time can be regulated in favour of increased production if every aspect is planned well ahead.

(ix) Casual Workers:

A worker who is employed on a temporary basis is known as casual worker. A casual worker is employed as a substitute of- a worker who is on leave or may be employed to perform a specific job for a short period of time. When casual worker is employed on production job, job card should be issued in his name and work done by him should be certified by the authority i.e. by the foreman or by the supervisor.

In the event casual workers are employed for miscellaneous indirect jobs, time sheets should be issued and a proper check on them should be kept. At the time of termination of service prior intimation to this effect should be sent to time keeping and wage departments so that no over-payment is made.

(x) Out Workers:

Out workers Eire sent to sites or customers’ premises for performing work. A close control over the work performed and payment made to these workers is necessary. If the workers employed are few in number and for a short period of time, the record for their attendance may be kept by the foreman in charge.

When the number of such workers is large and the duration of work for which they have been deputed is long, clock system for recording their attendance may be installed.

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