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Aug09

Abusing the 7 Minute Rule

My employees tend to abuse the 7 minute rule. A typical employee clocks in 5 minutes late, takes a 65 minute lunch and clocks out 5 minutes early. Essentially I pay for 15 minutes of time the employee did not work, although by rounding they are still “on time”. Ideas?

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, employers are allowed to use any timekeeping method as long it accurately records the amount of time worked. Instead of tracking hours worked to the minute employers are able to round the actual time worked often to the nearest quarter hour. However, employers are not permitted to always round down.  Employee time from 1 to 7 minutes may be rounded down, and thus not counted as hours worked; hence, the term “7 Minute Rule.” But employee time from 8 to 14 minutes must be rounded up and counted as a quarter hour of work time.

Rounding guidelines under the FLSA are actually meant to help the employer by not having to count every individual minute of work time. Just because you adopt a rounding practice for the payment of wages doesn’t mean employees are allowed to arrive to work late, extend their lunch break, or leave early. These are performance issues that must be addressed.

Inform employees that they’re expected to arrive on time ready to work and must continue to work until their shift ends. Make it clear that excessive tardiness or early departures will not be tolerated in any increments and employees who violate the policy will be subject to disciplinary action. Follow through on your “threats” so employees know you mean business.

Allowing employees to come in 5 minutes late or leave 5 minutes early without consequence is a privilege that you allow. It’s not required by federal law (or any state law that I’m aware of). The same policy should be set for lunch breaks.

HTH!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 at 8:52 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management.
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