Should we automatically make payroll deductions for employees’ lunch breaks? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Should we automatically make payroll deductions for employees’ lunch breaks?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. Our payroll system automatically deducts 30 minutes per day from drivers for lunch since they are on the road and away from a computer. I have concerns about liability. Should we make this deduction? — Kary, Maryland

A. A decision to set up your payroll software to automatically deduct meal breaks can backfire if the employee doesn’t actually take the meal break on a given day—or claim to not have taken the break.

Changing the software setup is one option, although that may create a burden on the employee to get to a place to input the lunch break daily. Another option: Continue to use the current software, but require each driver to review and correct actual time worked before certifying the record as correct. This will help you defend a claim that the automatic software resulted in underpayments. (Keep records showing the driver certified the record as correct.)

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