Early Punching Out

by Kim Jones
(Allentown; PA)

Can an Employer dock you 15 minutes if you punch out one minute early? I punched out at 6:59 a.m. and my hours are 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. My employer punishes us if we punch out before 7:00 by docking our pay by 15 minutes. I work in Pennsylvania. Is this legal?

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Rounding Pay is Legal, But it Goes Both Ways
by: Best Business Payroll

According to the Department of Labor, "rounding" to the nearest 15 minute interval IS allowed. However, it goes both ways: up and down. Since 6:59 is closer to 7:00, your employer should be rounding up. Rounding is not allowed to be used as a punishment for leaving early.

Rounding down 15 minutes would happen, say, if you punched out anywhere between 6:46 and 6:52. At 6:53 to 6:59 your time should be rounded up.

The DOL (www.dol.gov) says, "Some employers track employee hours worked in 15 minute increments, and the FLSA allows an employer to round employee time to the nearest quarter hour. However, an employer may violate the FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements if the employer always rounds down. Employee time from 1 to 7 minutes may be rounded down, and thus not counted as hours worked, but employee time from 8 to 14 minutes must be rounded up and counted as a quarter hour of work time. See Regulations 29 CFR 785.48(b)"

Bring this matter to your employer's attention and hopefully the matter will be addressed. If not, contact the Department of Labor, who can do an audit of your employer, which should rectify the matter for you. Good luck!

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