Calculating Hours With a Time Clock-Rounding?

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Latest post Fri, Aug 3 2012 4:31 AM by angelinwilliams. 4 replies.
  • Mon, Feb 16 2009 8:14 PM

    Calculating Hours With a Time Clock-Rounding?

    We just started using a time clock instead of written time sheets to keep track of hourly employees' hours. My employer needs to know a couple of things:

    Does an employee have to be paid from the exact time he clocks in or out or can we round to the nearest 15 minute interval? In other words if he clocks in at 6:57 and works until 1:03, can his hours be calculated as 5 hours (7 to 1) or would it have to be exactly 5 hours and 6 minutes?

    Assuming in the above example that the time can be calculated as 5 hours, what is the rounding cutoff? If an employee clocks in late, how late after 7 would he be able to clock in before we could calculate his hours from 7:15?

    I tried to look at the State of IL labor website, but I could not find the answer. If you have a link or reference to the part of the law that has this answer, I would appreciate it so I can show the correct area of the law to my employer.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Tue, Feb 17 2009 11:46 AM In reply to

    • Beth3
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Mar 24 2001
    • Posts 5,466

    Feedback [*=*] re: Calculating Hours With a Time Clock-Rounding?

    "Rounding off time" for payroll purposes is quite common. You also need not compensate anyone for time not worked. In the example you gave if the shift starts sat 7am and someone punches in at 6:57, presumably they spent the next 3 minutes hanging up their coat, putting their lunch away, getting a cup of coffee, etc. Assuming that's the case, then you start paying the individual at 7am, which has nothing to do with rounding off. Same goes at the end of the shift. If it ends at 3pm and they punch out at 3:03 (for example), you pay then until 3pm unless they were working past 3:00. (You should also make sure that all OT paid or any deviation from standard work schedules is approved by the supervisor.)

    When rounding off TIME WORKED, you may do so in reasonable increments, e.g. in 5, 10, or 15 minute increments or some other figure in between that works with your timekeeping system. If the shift starts at 7am and someone punches in late at 7:05 and you "round off time" in ten minute increments goign forward, you would start paying the employee at 7:10am. You can round forward or round back but you must do this consistently and in a manner that doesn't favorthe employee. So if an employee WORKS until 3:05pm, they get paid to 3:10pm.

    One last thing to mention, rounding off has nothing to do with whether an employee is tardy. Some employees like to interpret rounding off as a "grace period" before they are considered late. This is an apples and bananas issue. If the shift starts at 7am and someone punches in at 7:05, they're late. When you start paying them vis a vis your rounding off timekeeping procedures is an entirely separate and unrelated issue.

    Ok, all that said, it might be worthwhile for your employer to check with a compensation consultant or local employment law attorney, just to make sure you have all your bases covered and any timekeeping policies you put in place are fully compliant with both State and federal wage and hour laws.
  • Tue, Feb 17 2009 12:52 PM In reply to

    • cbg
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Dec 21 2000
    • MA
    • Posts 7,062

    re: Calculating Hours With a Time Clock-Rounding?

    FYI, rounding is permissible within limits. Rounding can be done to the nearest quarter hour (or less, but no more) as long as it is done consistantly and without regard to whom it benefits.

    i.e. It is legal to round someone who comes in a 7:09, to 7:15 as long as someone who comes in at 7:07 is rounded to 7:00.
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