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A Roundup of Time Clock Labor Laws That May Surprise You

A Roundup of Time Clock Labor Laws That May Surprise You

A Roundup of Time Clock Labor Laws That May Surprise You

Time clock rule compliance applies to all employers. Time clock labor laws outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to employee wages, overtime, and hours. When rules are breached, whether you knew the rules existed or not, you could be penalized. Here is a roundup of some surprising time clock labor laws to make sure you are compliant.

On-Call Workers

Many industries require on-call workers are available to help ensure proper coverage. This is especially important in the healthcare and hospitality industry but has also become common in retail. First, it is important to know if on-call requirements are legal in your state and for your industry. For example, in the state of New York on-call scheduling is banned in retail.

On-call workers are also eligible for on-call pay. This entitles them to be paid when they are preparing themselves for unscheduled work. This does not apply to all cases, and therefore it is important to understand on-call pay rules in your area. In general, however, if the employee is on your premises in preparation for work, they would be entitled to on-call pay. This is because the time waiting at your place of business keeps them from personal activities.

Working Off the Clock

Time clock rules for hourly employees dictate that employees must get 1.5 times their normal pay rate if they work beyond their 40-hour workweek. Time clocks track this for you to help make sure you are not breaking the law by overlooking overtime. However, where it can get a little dicey is when employees are working off the clock. This refers to situations where an hourly employee is doing tasks outside their usual work without clocking in such as:

  • Changing in or out of a uniform required to perform their duties.
  • Serving a customer past their scheduled shift.
  • Preparing for their shift such as setting tables at a restaurant or putting away clothes at a retailer.
  • Doing tasks after the business closes such as cleaning up.

Although many employees are not aware of labor laws clocking in and out, it is your responsibility as an employer to instruct them to clock in or remain clocked in while these duties are performed.


The FLSA allows you to round employee’s time up or down. It is important to round up and down fairly, so you are not stealing hours from your employees. Rounding up adds minutes, while rounding down deducts them. If you round down, you could actually end up paying less than minimum wage. It could also cause issues for overtime laws. The safest way to avoid issues with rounding is to use an automated time clock system that will round fairly and accurately as required.

Time Tracking Accuracy

The FLSA doesn’t require you to use a specific time tracking system, it just needs to be accurate. Time tracking systems are designed to track an employee’s actual hours as well as breaks. It provides accurate records for both you and your employees so there are fewer discrepancies and conflicts can be resolved easily.

Clocking In Early and Clocking Out Late

If you want to avoid conflicts based on clocking in early or late, your best bet is to use an automated time clock. You don’t want to be faced with challenges by employees claiming overtime hours when they weren’t actually working. A time clock that allows you to limit clocking in early and late can help, as long as it does not interfere with recording actual overtime hours an employee has worked.

Hours Worked Confirmation

Employees have a right to confirm their hours and review their hours at the end of their pay period. This allows them to look for irregularities prior to receiving their pay. Conflicts can be investigated easily to ensure employees receive the pay they are due.

Clear Policies

All policies and procedures involving time clock use for hourly employees must be clearly communicated. Complete training on the system as well as a written policy is required to ensure you are covering your bases. Some of the most common policies that might require clarification include:

  • What the company considers tampering with the time clock
  • What is considered time theft and the consequences of committing time theft
  • The consequences for clocking in or out for colleagues

Although many policies might seem self-explanatory, employees might not agree. By providing training and a clear outline of policies in writing, you will avoid misunderstandings.

Understanding these laws will help you avoid facing penalties. Your employees will also be treated fairly and receive the wages they are due.

About The Author

Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.

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