Q. We do not believe that one of our employees is keeping accurate time records of her work. Can we pay her what we believe she worked instead of what her time records show?
A. Possibly. It is important to remember that the employer is ultimately responsible for maintaining accurate records of an employee’s work time. Failure to do so is a violation of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.
The employer may delegate this duty to the employee, but the employer will be stuck with the employee’s records—whether accurate or not—and will be required to pay according to the employee’s records, unless the employer has also maintained separate, reliable and accurate records.
If timekeeping duties are delegated to the employee, the employer should review the records for accuracy on a regular basis. If the employer has concerns about accurate reporting, it should investigate—and take over the timekeeping duties.
Although the employer will likely have to pay wages according to the employee’s possibly inaccurate records, the employer can discipline the employee for the inaccurate recordkeeping, even if the employer does not know the exact hours the employee actually worked.
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