According to the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, employers must keep accurate records of non-exempt hourly employees. This might seem like a straightforward process. However, it can become too complicated when, for example, your employees travel for work, punch-in early or leave late, or use mobile devices to remain connected to work after hours. The following is a brief overview of some of the do’s and don’ts to help you manage your timekeeping responsibilities.
1. Use a reliable timekeeping system.
You may choose to use a timekeeping method such as an hour timesheet app or something else, including time clocks, badge readers, timesheets. Yet FLSA timekeeping requirements stipulate it allows employees’ hours for uncertainty or inefficiency (to a maximum of 15 minutes). You must apply the rounding policy fairly and can’t always round in favor of your company. Please note some states place limits on time rounding. Check all applicable laws before you start using this policy and consider your timekeeping system before applying a time rounding policy.
2. Any and all time worked must be recorded.
Whether it’s time spent checking phone messages, replying to texts, work emails, accessing the company network, or performing other work tasks, all of this considered compensable work time. That’s why non-exempt employees must understand what constitutes work. Then make an effort to report all time spent working outside of standard work hours according to FLSA timekeeping requirements. In a situation where employees can’t use your regular timekeeping system to record after-hours work, it is your responsibility to instruct them on how to promptly and correctly report these hours.
3. Reclassifying breaks as work time.
According to FLSA timekeeping requirements, all rest breaks must be paid if they are 20 minutes or less in duration. Thus, be careful not to let your employees punch out for breaks that last less than 20 minutes or less. Remember, it’s the break’s length, which determines whether payment is required, never the reason for the break.
4. Record training and travel time.
According to FLSA timekeeping requirements, you must compensate employees for any non-productive time in addition to time spent working. Non-productive time can be considered time spent traveling or in training. For instance, if one of your employees spends time traveling overnight for work, he or she must be paid for all time that cuts across their regular work hours, regardless of whether the travel occurs on their regular workday. As their employer, make sure you understand the rules on compensable training and can instruct employees on how to record their time correctly.
1. Never withhold pay if employees fail to submit or sign their timesheets.
According to FLSA timekeeping requirements, an employer must pay employees for all hours on the next regularly scheduled payday. Whether or not the employee has adequately followed the company’s timekeeping procedures.
2. Never withhold pay for unauthorized work time.
Employers may already have a policy in place that requires employees to get permission before working overtime. Yet, according to FLSA timekeeping requirements, employers must pay non-exempt employees for all time worked. That is irrespective of whether it was authorized in advance. If this policy is not respected by the employees, the employer can introduce disciplinary action. But they can never withhold pay.
3. Do not make automatic deductions for meal periods.
As an employer, it’s in your best interest to require employees to clock out and back in from their meals. This can help ensure that they are paid for missed lunch breaks. It also accounts for instances when employees return from lunch late. Their time records will accurately reflect that they took a meal during the period in question and for how long.
4. Never neglect your recordkeeping responsibilities.
According to FLSA timekeeping requirements, employers must hold on to their time cards and other such records from which wage calculations are gathered for at least two years. Additionally, employers must keep payroll records, including hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek, for a minimum of three years. These records are necessary for federal tax purposes and must be kept for a minimum of four years.
Hour Timesheet & FLSA Timekeeping Requirements
It sounds simple enough: stay on top of your timekeeping. But when you’re busy running a business, this can be easier said than done. You can quickly get busy, overwhelmed, and the next thing you know, you’ve fallen behind. That’s why it’s essential to develop policies and procedures to ensure that you keep accurate time records for all non-exempt employees. This way, you can ensure they’re being paid adequately for the time they’ve spent working.