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Feb22

Late to work

I want to know if it is a law that an employee can be 7 min late to work. We are a small busness and this would hurt is greatly. But 2 of my employees swear it is a law????

No, there is no such law.

Here is why your employees are confused: Under the federal FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer can legally round time to the next 7 minutes. If you choose to use this system, when an employee clocked in at 7:07 am you would round it to 7:00 am and when an employee clocked in at 7:08 am you would round it to 7:15 am. This method is lawful because it benefits the employee as often as it does the employer.

However, there is no law that you must use this rounding system (called the *7 minute rule*.) And even if you choose to use it, you can still discipline an employee for being late.

In many industries, it is a big, fat hairy deal if the employee is even a few minutes late. For example, a hotel front desk clerk might be scheduled from 7 am to 3 pm. If the employee arrives at 7:05 am, that puts the employee she is relieving into overtime. It also creates operational problems, because the exhausted employee who worked all night (11 pm to 7 am)  must stay even later.

In this example, the employer can discipline the tardy front desk clerk who came in at 7:05 am, even if the employer is using the 7 minute rule and the employee is paid from 7 a.m. The two issues are unrelated.

Our advice is that you set an objective standard for tardiness in your business. You may count employees tardy if they arrive 1 minute late, or 5 minutes late, or 15 minutes late — it is up to you as the employer to set that standard. Then you can discipline or terminate any employee who is tardy repeatedly.

Feel free to post any additional questions you might have — getting info on employment laws from employees is a very risky business!

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 at 1:18 pm and is filed under
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