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WI Rounding up/down policy Wisconsin

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  • WI Rounding up/down policy Wisconsin

    I work at a small buisness in Wisconsin. The owner has used the rounding policy before with no issues. If it was 5:37 you were clocked out at 5:30, if the time was 5:38 you were clocked out at 5:45. From what I understand that is normal practice to balance out time work for employee and employer.

    Just this week he is changed his time clock policy. It now reads:

    To simplify your end time we will be paying by quarters. Example: If your shift ends at 5:30 and you complete all work by 5:38, you can find something to do so you punch out at 5:45. If you choose to leave prior, then you will forfeit those minutes. Your choice.

    I have looked up laws and can't find anything in black and white to explain to me if that's something legal he can do. If our work is done and we punch between 5:38 and 5:44 and leave, we forfeit all worked minutes?

    My co-workers and I have been here for years and pretty much clock out at 5:35 everyday (office closes at 5:30), and we understand that we forfeit the minutes due to the rounding policy. It is very rare that we stay past 5:38, so we hardly make up the minutes we have lost over the years. We also come in early and are always ready to work on time (in the office) but I feel he has started this new policy for his drivers who are always late and punch at very odd times.

    Is this his legal right to have this new policy?

  • #2
    (b) “Rounding” practices. It has been found that in some industries, particularly where time clocks are used, there has been the practice for many years of recording the employees' starting time and stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes, or to the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour. Presumably, this arrangement averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually work. For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.

    (emphasis mine)
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    • #3
      Thank you Pattymd!

      From what I understand from my employer though, unless my co-workers and I find something to do after the clock hits 5:38 to punch at 5:45, we will forfit our worked minutes. It's not alot, but it does add up. Everyday we stay over and work at least 5 minutes after 5:30. I don't see this working out to compensate the employees. If our work is done, I don't want to stand around for 5 minutes to get paid to the next interval.


      • #4
        We need to be clear on something.
        - If you work until 05:38, then under the federal rounding rules cited by Patty (assuming that rounding is used at all), you must be paid as if you left at 5:45.
        - HOWEVER, it is perfectly legal for the employer to FIRE you for leaving early. Very different issue. It is perfectly legal for the employer to order employees to keep working until the quarter hour.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          It's a gray area for me. We don't have a set end time. When we were hired we were told that the office closes at 5:30, but we maybe asked to stay till 6 to help finish paper work and help customers. The office usually isn't that busy lately to require anyone to stay much later than 5:40 to finish closing and leave. So we can't leave before 5:30, but anytime after that it's the employees making sure everything is cleaned up and locked up. Usually takes about 5 minutes. Very Rare does it happen we have a late customer, or the phones are very busy that we have to stay a few minutes later.

          We are confused, so if we stay any time between 5:38 and 5:44 we will not get paid the 15 minutes to 5:45. We must stay till 5:45 to get paid for those 15 minutes.


          • #6
            Here's the thing, though.

            While the employer MAY use rounding rules (and based on your description he was doing it accurately) he is not compelled to.

            The employer sets the hours of work. If he says that no one may leave between 5:38 and 5:45, that is his right and it is legal.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


            • #7
              Thank you cbg, that was the black and white answer we were looking for.

              You have been very helpful!