Auto-Lunch Deduction: Pros and Cons

We've got an ongoing debate on whether or not to trigger an auto-lunch deduction feature in our timeclock software. The Operations Director is in favor of doing this as a cost-cutting mechanism that puts the onus on the employees to report to a supervisor when they didn't take a lunch break. He would like an acknowledgement placed in the New Hire paperwork that the employees sign indicating they understand that our policy incorporates an auto-lunch deduction feature and that they are solely responsible for notifying the appropriate supervisor if a lunch break wasn't taken in order to be paid properly.

I'm actually against using this feature as I believe it's simply a way of avoiding the accountability process (i.e. Disciplinary process) for those employees that always abuse the lunch rule (by not taking or shortening their lunch breaks), or for those that are too lazy to punch in/out correctly. The excuse being used is that supervisors have too much work to do to be dealing with this.

Was wondering if anyone else uses auto-lunch deductions, OR if anyone is directly opposed to such a process in order to present PROS and CONS to our management team. Thanks for your feedback!!

San Antonio, TX


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You're spot on with your concern... In my experience, that is exactly why supervisors want that feature. Here's the problem, though. If the employee is allowed to consistently come back to work early, OR the employee is coaxed into coming back early, the supervisor is placing you in jeopardy. Likewise, if the employee is allowed to come back late, when everyone knows the auto-deduct is letting them off the hook, then your supervisor has opened you up to a host of discrimination or favoritism allegations.

    In short, [B]the reason supervisors want auto-deduct is the very reason they can't handle auto-deduct.[/B]
  • We have used auto deduct for our housekeeping staff and its been fine. We have a couple settings depending on the amount of time the staff are able to take that day based on work load (1/2 hour or full hour).

    It saves the employees from having to punch in and out for their lunch breaks.

    That said, its being used in a department that very closely manages the lunch breaks. I wouldnt be supportive of it otherwise.
  • I just read of a court case (although I can't locate it now) where the court ruled that if the employer has an auto-deduct system, the employer is responsible to ensure deductions are accurate. In other words, if an employee works through lunch, it's the employer's responsibility, not the employee's, to ensure the time records are adjusted accordingly. So, even though you may require employees to notify their supervisor if they work through lunch, if they don't, the employer is still responsible.
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