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February 16th, 2018, 9:46 AM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management |
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Altering Time Punches

I am a manager for a local restaurant and I’m having an issue with the General Manager altering not only mine but a few other employees time punches. I am usually asked to clock in early from break or I see my fellow employees needing help and I clock in and help (which is my job), but the GM goes into the time punches and alters them to reflect less time worked (my loss ranges from 5-20 min each time) even though I’m being productive for the company. Another issue is that the GM has her significant other working there as well but she ADDS time to his punches. Is any of this legal?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, employees are classified as either non-exempt or exempt. Hourly and salary paid are compensation terms.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Most employees are considered non-exempt.

Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary for any week during which work is performed regardless of the quantity or quality of such work. Exempt employees are excluded from overtime pay provisions.

The FLSA requires employers to maintain time records for each and every non-exempt employee. Any timekeeping method can be used as long its complete and accurate.

Employers are permitted to edit employees’ time cards in an effort to ensure the appropriate hours worked are recorded. For example, if an employee clocks in but doesn’t perform any work duties for 20 minutes, then the employer (you as the manager or the GM) is permitted to adjust the employee’s start time to reflect the correct time he started working.

However, it’s unlawful to alter an employee’s time card to lessen the number of hours actually worked in attempt to reduce the employee’s wages or prevent the need to pay overtime.

Most managers have the responsibility of overseeing their employees’ time cards. If this is the case in your situation, you may be held liable for FLSA violations imposed on your staff, especially if you willfully neglected to notify your employer of the infraction. So, consider discussing your concerns with the GM. There may actually be a legitimate reason for her adjustments (though it sounds this may not be the case since her significant other may be getting favorable treatment). If you truly feel your GM is at fault, then you should contact the next supervisor in line.

Make sure to provide concrete examples of the fraudulent adjustments. Providing written statements from affected employees or anything really that will prove an employee, even yourself, worked during a time that was deleted or changed on the time card.


February 15th, 2018, 3:51 PM |  Posted in: Compensation, Labor Laws |
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Bereavement Pay

Our bereavement policy for salaried employees is 3 days paid after 6 months with the company. If an exempt employee was paid, and then quits before the 6 months can it be clawed back?

It sounds like the employee was given permission to take bereavement time even though he wasn’t yet eligible for it. It was generous of you to provide the benefit to the employee but you can’t cry foul because he ended up not working out. It’s best to take it as a loss and move on.

Now, if the employee was told he wasn’t eligible for bereavement time and paying him for the time was a clerical error, then you may be entitled to recoup the overpayment. But, be very careful in doing so.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets clear guidelines on permissible deductions from exempt employees’ salaries. Recouping an overpayment is not listed as a permissible deduction. So, you would have to request the employee to payback the overpayment directly, which may be difficult since he resigned. Also, be mindful that many states have adopted legislation limiting the recoupment of overpayments to within a specified time frame. It’s important to know of any applicable laws in your state.

February 15th, 2018, 3:34 PM |  Posted in: Compensation |
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Vacation Carry Over

We use a 1.5 cap and pay 10 days vacation each year. So, on Jan 1 for an employee who took no vacation the prior year, is the allotment in the new year 15 days or 20 days? That is, on Jan 1 the employee would carry forward 10 days unused vacation but that 10 plus the new 10 would equal 20, but that exceeds the 1.5X10=15 day maximum accrual.

With a 1.5 cap in place, the employee in question would only receive 15 vacation days on January 1st. Because, as you state, the employee will receive 10 days on January 1st but considering the cap of 1.5, he’s only entitled to carry over a maximum of 5 days.

The policy should be clarified just so it’s easy for everyone to easily understand. Consider adding a statement like “Up to a maximum of 5 vacation days will be carried over in to the new plan year.”

It’s important to be mindful of any state law regarding vacation time. Some states have adopted legislation that mandates employers treat earned vacation time as earned wages. Meaning, earned vacation time cannot be forfeited.


February 15th, 2018, 2:36 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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FMLA & Overtime

Can an employee who takes FMLA leave regularly for a sickness be denied overtime and voluntary weekend overtime work?

Any employee exercising his or her rights under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) cannot be discriminated against for doing so. Thus, explicitly denying an employee the opportunity to volunteer for overtime work because he has used FMLA time is not permissible.

But, if an employee is on intermittent or reduced schedule leave and his physician has restricted him from working additional hours or overtime, then denying the employee overtime is not interference or discrimination, rather it’s following physician’s orders.

Basically, it’s best practice to treat employees on FMLA leave in the same manner they would be treated if they weren’t taking leave.

February 15th, 2018, 2:22 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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