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What is a Muster Roll | Meaning and Definition?

You may not wonder if I say that the cars you see currently used to look way different back in the 1900s. The reason is that you know every technology evolves with time, so what you have today took its time and many iterations to become what it is today. 

The same is the case with keeping records of employees, their attendance, leaves, and payroll. Today, you may use an app to do all this, which takes a few clicks, and you are done. But back in the past, our ancestors used to have physical registers to do the same thing. 

What Is Muster Roll?

First thing first, what is a muster roll? If we go by its name, we may not end up with a logical answer because it pretty much resembles nothing. But what’s in the name, right? But worry not, we’ll also discuss the name origination, but first, what’s it? 

It’s a register that an employer uses to keep a record of all the employees in an organization. It has all the necessary information about employees, like their names, ranks, and other details. However, it’s only the first half; in its second counterpart, it tracks the organizational data about the employees like their payouts, leaves, attendance, etc. 

Now, how did it get its name? While there’s no simple and clear answer to it, it is said that muster roll got its name when it was first implemented in the military. How and why is this name still a mystery, just like the existence of Bigfoot? So, this is what a muster roll is. Now, let’s see its components in detail. 

Components of Muster Roll

The components in a muster roll can be divided into two categories. Firstly, there is information that mostly never changes or does not get updated frequently. It includes the employee’s name, role or rank, date of joining, etc. 

On the other hand, there is information that gets updated daily or frequently, like the attendance and payout. Here are the important components of a muster roll:

1) Names

The name of the employee is written on the muster roll for identification purposes. 

2) Rank or Job Role

In most organizations, there are multiple job roles and ranks of employees. So, it’s important to mention the job role and rank of the employee for payout purposes. For example, a worker may get a lower salary than a manager or supervisor. 

3) Joining Date

The date and day of joining of employees is also mentioned to keep the record of their employment in the company. It is crucial for performance appraisals and other purposes, such as timely retirement. 

4) Attendance Section

Now, one of the most important parts of a muster roll is the attendance section, where employees’ attendance is updated daily. It helps to know who’s present for work and who’s absent. 

5) Leave Manager

A muster roll may also have a leave manager section. In most organizations, leave is provided to employees, such as sick leave and casual leave. The leave manager section is used to keep a record of who has how many leaves left. 

6) Remarks

A remarks section in the muster roll helps evaluate employees’ performance from time to time. For example, suppose an employee didn’t complete his/her work on any day. In that case, a remark may be added to keep a record of this inefficiency for future references like payout deductions. 

7) Payout Manager

Another primary element of a muster roll is the payout manager, which helps to maintain the record of payout for the employees. Suppose an employee has taken an extra leave other than that provided by the employer. In that case, it must be mentioned in the payout manager so that the deduction can be made at the time of distributing the salary. 

Is a muster roll relevant for modern businesses?

While the role of muster roll is very crucial in any business, its relevance to today’s businesses may not be very significant. The reason behind this is not one but many. Here are some disadvantages of muster roll that make it not a great option for present businesses. 

1) Manual Maintenance

A muster roll can only be maintained manually, which is why it’s prone to human error. For example, if a worker takes a leave of absence someday but the same is not updated in the muster roll, the employer will end up paying the worker for the day that employee didn’t work. 

2) Limited Accessibility

This traditional method only works physically with no digital access. Hence, in order to maintain it, the responsible person can only access it physically. Which, in today’s time, is not a viable option. Moreover, as a muster roll fills up, it must be replaced with a new one. So, if some data has to be procured from an older register, the old one should be physically checked for the data. 

3) Risk of Data Loss

As we just discussed, muster rolls have a physical limit, and after getting filled, they must be saved physically. However, in case of a casualty, the records can vanish from the earth with no traces left behind. 

These are some of the disadvantages of muster roll in today’s time. It’s not that these problems were not there in the past, but they were used because there were no alternatives to them back then. Today, we have multiple options out there that can replace muster roll. So, let’s have a look at them. 

Modern Alternatives to Muster Roll 

As technology has developed and the internet has reached every corner of the world, we have more convenient options for attendance tracking or any other task that a muster roll can do. Many software can help you in attendance management, payroll management, and even employee performance analysis. 

However, the best type of software is HRMS software. An HR management software is a tool that automates an organization’s HR department-related tasks. 

For example, it can automate attendance management by allowing employees to receive self-service. Similarly, it allows employees to take leave with a few clicks. This task earlier was done manually, which is why there was a chance of errors. 

Moreover, HR management software has almost no disadvantages compared to a muster roll. With mobile compatibility, the employees can access it anywhere. Additionally, it saves your data and makes it more accessible with the help of physical databases or cloud databases. 

Wrapping Up

This is what a muster roll is and how it works. Even when it was a great tool in the past, today, its place has been taken by technological advancements. Today, we have better options like HRMS, but we should not forget that what we have today is eventually derived from what our ancestors invented back in their time.