14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2016 — In many workplaces, throughout Cuba, the old time clocks that were used to record when employees arrived and left, have been breaking with age and lack of maintenance. The “clack” that used to be heard in the first hours of the mornings as workers punched in with their time cards is, in most of these places today, an echo of the past.
Punctuality has evolved into a somewhat elastic concept in Cuba and workers blame their frequent tardiness on buses that are slow or don’t arrive at all, the rain, electrical outages in their neighborhoods or a drop in the temperature to below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Any justification seems to serve, especially if one considers that the average salary doesn’t exceed the equivalent of $25 a month.
Lacking accurate mechanisms to register if someone arrived on time for their workday, there are improvised systems where the employee must put their cards when they arrive and when they finish their work. This photo shows a polyclinic in Havana, where it is common for nurses and doctors to help out by ‘marking’ the cards of the stragglers.