Q. Because of a time-clock malfunction, we couldn’t determine how much pay we owed some employees. What is our obligation to pay employees if we can’t calculate the exact number of hours worked? Is there any penalty for the delayed payment?
A. The burden is on the employer to maintain time records—and any doubts about amounts owed must be resolved in favor of the employees. You should ask the employees to provide information about what hours they worked and any supporting documentation.
Absent some contrary evidence, such as documentation from the employees’ supervisors, you will probably have to rely on what the employees say.
In terms of a penalty, the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law requires that wages be paid when they are due. If an employee prevails on a claim, he or she can recover interest on the amount owed.
Interest is also part of the remedies under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Depending on how late the payment is, you might consider adding interest to the amount paid to the employees.