Should Every Employee Use A Timecard?

March 29th, 2010 by

If you don’t have all of your employees using timecards you might want to reconsider.  Many employers only use timecards for non-exempt employees- but it is a good idea to have all employees keep accurate records of their time.  Having everyone keep track of hours worked  provides for accurate  records of wage payments against time worked - which in today’s litigious society is alway a good idea- as long as the records reflect correct wage and hour practices on the employer’s part.  A couple of things to consider:

1)  As a rule of thumb don’t  make exempt employees use PTO for absences of less than a day.   Exempt employees can be expected to use available PTO for partial days absence but you cannot reduce their pay if they don’t have enough hours so what is the point really?

If the employee is taking more time off than expected treat as a disciplinary matter.

2) Automate your timekeeping process- there are any number of vendors and online programs that can make keeping accurate records easy for the employee and for the payroll department.

3) If you allow nonexempt employees to work from home, you still need to keep track of their comings and goings, just as you would if they were in the office. You need to be sure their time is being calculated correctly, that they’re not working unauthorized overtime, and that they’re not in fact on the clock (in the form of work-related e-mails, texts, or phone calls) when they should be off it.

4) Make sure that all employees are classifed correctly as exempt or non-exempt.  Salaried is not a classification related to overtime wage payment but rather a method for payment. Salaried employees can be non-exempt.  If you aren’t sure how to classify an employee check out the Department of Labor website or the KPA webinars -Essentials of Wage and Hour Law,  Advanced Wage and Hour Law or California Wage and Hour Law.

5) It is usually (there are some exceptions) illegal  to give non-exempt employees “comp time” instead of paying overtime.  However for the exempt employee who has been putting in 60 hour work weeks comp time can be a great moral booster- and having good records of all that hard work is just another reason to keep accurate time worked records.

Join the conversation: Do you require all employees to use a timecard of some type?

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2 Responses to “Should Every Employee Use A Timecard?”

  1. Cheryl says:

    I am a salaried employee who is required to complete a time card for PTO purposes however our company requires us to use small increments of PTO say for 15 minutes if you are late past your scheduled start time. However, nothing is tracked for the amount of hours worked over 40. Is this a violation of any labor laws?

  2. Don’t confuse salary with pay classification – the real question is are you classified as an exempt or non exempt? If you are classified as exempt the company is not required to pay overtime. However, docking exempt employees for small increments of missed time is not a good practices because it can eliminate the exemption from overtime. To qualify as exempt, employees have to be paid a set amount each pay period, without any reductions based on the quantity or quality of work they do and also meet standards for the type of work performed. If employers dock an employee pay in small increments they are now treating them like nonexempt employees, and the law might consider them as such — and thereby entitle them to overtime.
    Employers may make salary deductions (without jeopardizing the employee’s exempt status) for one or more full days for medical or disability leaves, sick days, vacation, jury duty or suspension for significant infractions. If the company has a policy of PTO for missed time off then the employee may use that time to make up any deductions.

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