Digital timekeeping software has made it simpler than ever before for employers to accurately track when workers are on the clock down to the second. However, despite the availability of such highly-specific records, many employers still pay their workers in increments larger than a minute.
They may round an employee’s time at work to the nearest five-minute or 15-minute increments. Workers may therefore receive slightly less pay than they feel they should because their employer has rounded down when calculating the hours that they work. Is timeclock rounding an illegal practice and form of wage theft?
Timeclock rounding is only legal when neutrally applied
Despite what some workers think, rounding a worker’s time on the job to specific increments is not inherently a pay violation. Employers cannot create a payroll policy specifically intended to minimize what they pay their workers, and that should not be the intent or impact of the time-rounding practice. Rounding someone’s time was down by three or 10 minutes because the company pays in large increments could mean hours of unpaid wages in a single year.
The business should apply its rounding rules neutrally, meaning that it rounds up as frequently as it rounds down. If you work eight minutes of that 15-minute increment, they should pay you for the extra seven just as they don’t pay you when you only work six minutes of that 15-minute increment.
If the company lets bias influence when to round your time, then its practices are a violation of your wage rights and could lead to a wage claim. Especially when the rounding has eliminated overtime wages, you may have a sizable claim to bring against your employer.
Changed timeclock records can give rise to overtime claims
When you have proof that your employer has reduced how much time you worked to pay you less than they should, you may be able to pursue a wage claim against the company. If they do not cooperate with you to properly compensate you when you point out the issue, going to civil court may be necessary.
Understanding if your company’s failure to pay you overtime wages was a violation of your pay rights can help you take action if the company broke the law.