Minutes May Add Up to Unpaid Overtime

The practice of rounding hours is a topic that often raises questions and concerns among employees. Rounding involves adjusting the recorded time worked to the nearest interval, typically in increments of five, ten, or fifteen minutes. While this practice may seem straightforward, it’s important to consider the legal effects of rounding.

The significance of rounding hours worked lies primarily in its adherence to federal, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and state labor laws. Under these rules, rounding is allowed as long as it does not systematically undercompensate employees over time. Essentially, the rounding method employed must be fair and neutral, treating both overages and shortages of time worked equally.

For example, if rounding consistently results in underpayment or non-compensation for significant periods of time worked it may raise legal issues. For instance, an employee who consistently clocks in at 8:53 AM and clocks out at 5:07 PM, accumulates an additional 30 minutes of work over a two-week period. If the employer consistently rounds down in such instances, the employee could be unfairly deprived of compensation for those extra hours worked, leading to wage theft and violation of labor laws.

Because not all rounding policies violate the law, if you have been consistently “shorted” hours worked based upon an employer’s rounding policy, the best option is to have a lawyer evaluate your situation to determine if you have a claim for unpaid wages.

If you have questions regarding overtime or your employment, please contact Shavitz Law Group at [email protected].

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