Hour Calculation

Our facility has always processed time cards by rounding the minutes. For example if a person is scheduled to work from 8 to 5 and they clock in at 7:55 and clock out at 5:02 we would round up to 7 and 1/4 for the time worked that day(excluding the lunch). Is there a rule for rounding as far as the FLSA is concerned?


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  • Minidoka,

    I did a quick search in the Newsletter Archive (in the members-only area of HRhero.com for Law Center members) and came across the excerpt from Indiana Employment Law Letter below. Although the question is phrased differently, I think the answer applies to your question also.

    If you are a Law Center member, I'd be happy to give you a quick runthrough of the Newsletter Archive. E-mail me at [email]WebEditor@HRhero.com[/email]. If you're not a LC member, here's a link for more info. The Newsletter Archive is an invaluable resource for finding quick answers.

    Hope this helps!

    Q:What can we do about employees who clock in before the start of their shift or clock out after their shift is over? Do we have to pay them for this time, which is in addition to their scheduled time? Those minutes add up, and this practice is costing us a lot of money.

    A:The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) -- which governs workers' wages, hours, and pay -- requires that all times during which employees are "suffered or permitted" to work be counted as "hours worked" for calculating pay and overtime. A few seconds or minutes outside scheduled working hours that are insubstantial or insignificant may be disregarded as hours worked, when such time is minimal and cannot, as a practical matter, be recorded for payroll purposes.

    You can round off working time to the nearest five minutes or one-tenth or one-quarter of an hour, assuming this arrangement averages to fully compensate employees for all the time they actually work. You must consistently round up and round down. For example, rounding off to the nearest quarter hour when an employee is tardy is improper if you do not also round up when the employee works over a few minutes.

    Where time clocks are used, employees who voluntarily clock in before their regular starting time or clock out after their shift ends do not have to be paid for such periods, provided they do not engage in any work outside their scheduled shift. But if you allow employees to clock in early or clock out late, those who would like a few extra hours of work each week are more likely to begin, or claim they began, working prior to their starting time. You are required to pay them for that time.

    To avoid liability, do not permit employees to clock in or work any more than a few minutes before they start or after their shift is over without a supervisor's permission. This rule expressly prohibiting any work prior to starting time and after a shift ends must be uniformly applied. Although you can (and should) discipline an employee who disregards this rule, disciplining or terminating the employees is your only recourse. You must pay the employee for all time worked even if that work was performed in defiance of your rule.

  • The general FLSA rounding rules are that a company's rounding rules must be consistantly applied. For example 10 minutes either way is rounded to the same hour. (The company will get into problems if it always rounds in favor of the company)!

    Good Luck!

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