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When is it legal to round pay to nearest 15 minutes?

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in Human Resources

Q. We have an hourly employee who consistently arrives late—about seven to 10 minutes each time. Can we cut her pay to the nearest quarter hour? We would, of course, pay her for staying later.  — J.N., Indiana

A. Employers can “round” pay of nonexempt employees, as long as it does not always benefit the employer. For example, if you round to the nearest quarter hour when an employee begins her shift more than seven minutes late, you will be compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act, as long as you also round up a full quarter of an hour when she begins working eight to 14 minutes before her shift, or if she works eight to 14 minutes beyond the scheduled end of her shift.

Also, if you institute the practice, make sure you do it uniformly for all employees and do not single out any particular employee.

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