Taking longer breaks at work then your employer allows you to. This is probably the one you'll hear the term refer to the most.
It supposedly costs employers huge amounts of money every year.
Time theft can also apply to the time it takes to:
Clean up other people's messes.
Manager: Hmmm, Bobby took 2 minutes longer on his break then he was supposed to. I'm going to write him up.
Supervisor: He also helped two customers while he was on his way to his break. We should thank him for taking that time from his break rather then berate him for something as insignificant as two minutes.
Manager: That's still time theft. Bobby makes $7 an hour, that’s twenty-three point three cents a minute. Two minutes rounded up means he cost us forty-seven cents! If he did that every day a week for a year, assuming five days a week, that would cost us about one-hundred-twenty-one dollars over the course of a year!
Supervisor: Perhaps but isn’t that worth the price of a happy employee opposed to a stressed out employee? In the end, the happy employee will perform better. Besides, he always gets his work done and often gets quite a bit more accomplished. Maybe we should be happy for that instead of being picky. If we were talking him extending fifteen-minute breaks to thirty minutes and lunches to forty-five minutes then maybe.
Manager: You know what, you’re right. That much money is worth happy employees. Instead of writing him up, I’ll thank him for a job well done.