When you get to work every day, you may need to physically punch a paper if your employer still uses a physical time clock. You may need to input your personal employee information in a specialized computer terminal if they use a digital timekeeping system. You then repeat the process when you take a meal break and later when you head back home.
Whichever method the company employs, you should receive payment for the exact amount of time that you work. As an hourly employee, your wages depend on how long you are at the business and on the clock. The total number of hours you work ultimately determines what you receive in each paycheck.
Unfortunately, some businesses might intentionally change your time clock records so that they get away with paying you less.
Can your employer alter your time in or out of work?
Employers can make small changes to your timeclock records if those changes are necessary for accuracy.
For example, if you started your shift as soon as you got to work, couldn’t clock in because of a power outage and then clocked in two hours later when the electricity came on, your boss could go back in and adjust those records later so that you receive full payment for your time. If the opposite happens and you forget to clock out, your supervisor can implement the information accurately reflects when you ended your shift.
However, those changes should only be in specific situations to protect the accuracy of payroll records. The company cannot legally change your timeclock records to avoid paying you for time that you have worked. This includes making small deductions to prevent you from accruing overtime wages.
Workers denied hourly pay can fight back
If you go back over your timeclock records and realize that your employer has denied you an hour of pay every week for several months, you may have grounds to bring a claim against the company. Those small changes add up over time to days and even weeks of pay that the company unfairly withheld from you.
Understanding your wage rights can help you take action against your employer when they haven’t paid you for the work you performed.