Do you round off employee hours? Be sure to round both up and down

Employers that round off the time on employees’ time sheets must do so in a way that doesn’t cheat hourly employees out of pay in the long run.

That means that if you round down, you must also round up. Otherwise, your time records won’t reflect all hours worked, leading to potential violations of overtime and other wage-and-hour laws.

Recent case: Terrence Eyles worked as a picker for a warehouse and catalog company, retrieving items from shelves to fill customer orders.

All hourly employees clocked in and out using a time clock. For a while, the system automatically rounded up and down to the nearest 15 minutes. That is, an employee who clocked in or out at 12:07 would be shown as clocked in at 12:00 and one who clocked in at 12:10 would be shown as clocking in at 12:15.

Eyles found a management memo that explained that the company was adjusting time sheets in a way that rounded down, but not up. Eyles copied the memo and sent it around to his co-workers. Then he sent it to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Eyles was fired for absenteeism—and distributing a confidential memo he had no right to read.

The court upheld his discharge because he had violated company rules. However, the Department of Labor’s investigation went ahead, and the company was ordered to issue back pay to all hourly employees who had been cheated because of the employer’s one-way rounding. (Eyles v. Uline, No. 4:08-CV-577, ND TX, 2009)