Utilizing our skill, knowledge, and experience to find the best solution for you

Is it legal to round timeclock records for workers?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Wage & Hour Laws |

Hourly workers get paid based on how much time they spend at their jobs. Employers may use a variety of different systems to keep records of when someone starts or ends their shift. They might manually write down a time, clock in at a cash register or use a designated device that generates a timestamp on a physical piece of paper.

Any of these arrangements allow an employer to potentially track the exact time that workers start and end their shifts. However, quite a few businesses do not pay workers by the minute or second but by larger increments of time. They round timekeeping records up or down to specific increments and only pay someone based on those adjusted figures.

Is it legal for businesses in Florida to change when someone begins or ends their shift when calculating payroll obligations?

Time clock rounding is theoretically legal

Although rounding time clock records may seem like a violation of wage and hour laws, it is not automatically illegal. So long as employers properly apply rounding rules to time clock records, the practice is potentially lawful. Depending on the actual time in or time out for a worker, the company may round up or down to the next billable increment of time.

Under federal wage regulations, failing to pay workers for negligible amounts of time does not constitute a wage and hour violation. The three or six minutes of pay someone loses due to time clock rounding could fall under the de minimus rule that protects businesses from minuscule wage claims.

That being said, the increment of time used needs to be reasonable, typically less than 15 minutes. Otherwise, employees could lose a significant amount of pay due to rounding practices. Additionally, the company has to be neutral when rounding time clock records. Companies should as regularly round up as they round down. If there is an indication that the company consistently rounds down but does not round records up, then the practice may constitute an unfair violation of someone’s pay rights.

Workers who have noticed an unfair trend in time clock rounding practices may have grounds to pursue a wage claim against their employers. Learning more about Florida and federal employment laws may benefit those questioning the practices of the companies that employ them. Similarly, learning about these laws can help employers to better ensure that they comply with all relevant regulations.