Q. We use a timecard punch-in/punch-out system. If an employee forgets to punch in, and we manually do it, do any labor laws apply?
A. It would be illegal to alter an employee’s time sheet to avoid paying money that the employee is owed.
If an employee forgot to punch in, it sounds like a change would be in order to accurately reflect the employee’s time. However, the employee should be the one to note the change or sign off on it, not the employee’s manager. That protects the manager from violating company policy about altering company records, and also protects against potential claims from the employee that he or she in fact worked the time and was cheated out of pay.