Q, We would like to institute a rule subjecting employees to discipline for clocking in late. Are we permitted to do this even though we round our employees’ time to the nearest quarter-hour?
A. Yes, employers are permitted to track employee hours worked in certain increments to make payroll calculations easier. They also are permitted to have a late policy subjecting employees to disciplinary action for being late.
The Fair Labor Standards Act () regulations permit employers to round employee time to the nearest quarter hour. Thus, employee time from one to seven minutes may be rounded down and not counted as hours worked. Similarly, employee time from eight to 14 minutes must be rounded up and counted as a quarter hour of work time.
Under these regulations, an employee who clocks in seven minutes after his scheduled start time must be paid for the entire 15 minutes. But, an employee who clocks in eight minutes late is not paid for those 15 minutes.
Despite these regulations, employers are legally entitled to discipline workers for tardiness and to establish a scheduled start time by which employees are required to clock in.