Can your employer round down your timeclock records?

If you are an hourly worker, you get paid based on how long you are on the job. You have to clock in and out at the beginning and end of every shift and possibly when you take breaks as well. Doing so ensures that your employer pays you for all of the work that you do.

Although you may understand that your employer has to pay you for the time that you work, you may not recognize when the company’s policies are a violation of your wage rights. For example, if your employer has a practice of rounding your time to pay you in specific increments, possibly 15-minute or 10-minutes intervals, you might frequently work and then have your employer round down how long you were there. Are such practices legal?

Time-rounding is legal when applied neutrally

Employers can decide to pay you in specific increments instead of for the exact amount of time you work, but they must then be neutral about deciding when to round up and when to round down the time that their employees work.

A review of when you worked and what you received for pay can quickly show you if your employer has a tendency to round down consistently even if the time you clocked in or out would have justified them rounding up to the next interval. If they are as likely to pay you for an extra increment as they are to deny you one, then their time-rounding practices are likely compliant with your wage rights.

However, if they only ever round down or do so far more frequently than they round up, the practice may be a subtle way for the company to force you to work without appropriate compensation.

Wage theft isn’t something you should ignore

If your employer frequently alters your timeclock records to deny you compensation for the time you have worked, you don’t have to accept that misconduct. You can fight back by making a wage claim, possibly involving coworkers who have endured the same unfair reduction of their pay.

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