Unread 11-13-2001, 04:07 AM
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Default Punching Timeclock to early

My problem is not that the employee's forget to use timeclock. They time in 10 minutes before the shift starts or they take short lunches. This can lead to several hours of overtime pay at the end of the week. They have all signed our attendance policy which states that they can not time in/out early. Can I just change their time to the scheduled beginning of their shift. For example, if they are to start working at 4:00pm and time in at 3:50pm, can I change their punch time to 4:00pm, if I am consistent? If they are required to take a 1/2 hour lunch and only take 20 minutes can I change it to a 30 min. lunch? Our policy does state disclinary action if policy is not followed. According to wage laws do I have to pay them and just discipline them to use timeclock correctly?
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Unread 11-13-2001, 11:13 AM
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

It is my understanding that if a person clocks in and goes to work you must pay them regardless of whether you told them previously it was okay or not. Are they clocking in and working or clocking in and not working?

Our company has used our timeclock software to not allow people to clock in more than 5 minutes before their shift starts. It simply will not let them. Most people do not bother going to work if they have not punched in. If we need someone early or if someone works and has not clocked in, of course we adjust their time.

Our timeclock also automatically deducts 30 minutes for lunch. Our employees still clock in and out, but if someone clocks in after 15 minutes it still deducts 30. Of course, if the person is actually working the manager will know (we are production) and adjust their time. Most people do not bother trying to clock in before their 30 minutes are up.

But, to answer their question, I would discipline them before I would ever not pay them for time they worked.
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Unread 11-14-2001, 02:47 AM
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

We understand the dilemma you are in. I went to the dol.gov website and found this. Thought you might find it useful.

"Overtime Pay May Not Be Waived: The overtime requirement may not be waived by agreement between the employer and employees. An agreement that only 8 hours a day or only 40 hours a week will be counted as working time also fails the test of FLSA compliance. An announcement by the employer that no overtime work will be permitted, or that overtime work will not be paid for unless authorized in advance, also will not impair the employee's right to compensation for compensable overtime hours that are worked."

I suppose it may be useful for you to call your local Wage and Hours Office to confirm your practice. The tel. no is also located on the dol.gov website.

Hope this helps.

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Unread 11-15-2001, 04:10 AM
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

Big thing to remember is...it doesnt' matter to the DOL if the employee has gained permission to work or not...if they work, unauthorized or not or if they work even after they have been told not to....the law looks at it as the employer has gained something from the employee working and they must be compensated for it. Even if you tell an employee they cannot take work home and they do it and you find out about it...they must be compensated.

The only way you can stop a person from doing this is through disciplinary measures, which may include termination. Remember...you don't have a lot of these type people, but the few that you have are loose cannons.
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Unread 11-15-2001, 06:09 AM
Titilayo Akodu
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

According to Wage and Hour Law, you have to pay them overtime pay any time it is evidence in their time card that they worked in overtime. However, if your policy does not allow early punch in or late punch out, then then that become a disciplinary issue for violating company policy.

It they punch in early, release them early for the day, write them up for violating a set policy, but yOu must pay them regardless.
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Unread 11-15-2001, 07:00 AM
James Sokolowski
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

Under the FLSA, you must pay them for all the time you ALLOW them to work. It's legally risky to refuse to pay someone for unauthorized overtime. But, yes, you should treat it as a discipline problem.

There's a good discussion of unauthorized overtime in Chapter 5 of our HR Executive Special Report "Defusing the Overtime Bomb: How to Comply with the FLSA." Free to Law Center members, $47 for others.

James Sokolowski
Senior Editor
M. Lee Smith Publishers
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Unread 11-16-2001, 06:46 AM
Theresa Gegen TX
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Default RE: Punching Timeclock to early

Generally, the fair labor standards act will allow the company to round de minimus amounts of time (for example 10 minutes). But the company must round consistantly, so if the employee clocks in 10 minutes late, he gets the benefit; whereas if the employee clocks in 10 minutes early, the company gets the benefits.

But the FLSA will not allow the company to round only in its favor, by taking off 10 minutes a day from employees' time cards.

I think you need to talk to the employees and their supervisors about taking the full lunch 1/2 hour and not clocking in and out early and late.

Good Luck!
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