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Thread: Can Employer Deduct for Break/Meal if the Employee didn't clock out? Wisconsin

  1. #1

    Default Can Employer Deduct for Break/Meal if the Employee didn't clock out? Wisconsin

    If an Employee clocks in when they arrive and then doesn't clock out again until they leave at the end of their shift, can the Employer deduct a period of time for breaks/meals?

    For example:
    6 hour shift-Employer deducts 30 minutes
    8 hour shift-Employer deducts 1 hour
    10 hour shift-Employer deducts 1.5 hours

    The Employees are not clocking out for lunch; instead, the Employer is automatically taking this time out.

    Is this legal?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    The Employees are not clocking out for lunch Are you saying that the employees are working through their rest and meal breaks and aren't being paid for it?

  3. #3

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    No, they're not necessarily working. The industry these employees are in allows multiple periods of "down time" throughout the day. They have the ability to leave the operation, eat a meal, read a book, etc. without having to do any actual work.

    Basically, an employee is on the clock for 9 hours but will only get paid for 8. That might mean that they took a 1 hour break, or even that they took a 3 hour break somehow throughout the day. They are continously on the clock but Payroll subtracts a certain increment based on the length of the shift.

    I'm just concerned that this is not ethical/legal.
    Thank you!
    Last edited by Lindsey19681; 11-21-2008 at 12:05 PM. Reason: add info/edit spelling

  4. #4
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    If the employer is paying for actual hours worked, then no laws are being broken. If the employer is not paying for (at least) actual hours worked, then laws are being broken.

    The policy per se is not illegal. The application of the policy might be illegal. It is very common for all time accounting systems for all employers everywhere to assume that a "standard" lunch time is being taken. That is not a problem per se. The problem is if employees are working and not getting paid for. Companies I have worked for did the following:
    - Repeatedly tell employees to review the time sheets that THEY prepared and notify Payroll of any errors ASAP. If the errors are not getting fixed, talk to HR, the supervisor or someone until the situation was resolved.
    - If the employee was violating work rules, such as unapproved overtime or working through lunch when told not to, we would pay the unauthorized time worked, but would also formally discipline the employee for a work rule violation. This could include termination. Employees are not legally allowed to set their own hours.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindsey19681 View Post
    No, they're not necessarily working. The industry these employees are in allows multiple periods of "down time" throughout the day. They have the ability to leave the operation, eat a meal, read a book, etc. without having to do any actual work.

    Basically, an employee is on the clock for 9 hours but will only get paid for 8. That might mean that they took a 1 hour break, or even that they took a 3 hour break somehow throughout the day. They are continously on the clock but Payroll subtracts a certain increment based on the length of the shift.

    I'm just concerned that this is not ethical/legal.
    Thank you!
    Sounds like the payroll system is set up with some "default" timekeeping rules, which is common and perfectly legal as long as the system (and paychecks) is adjusted when there is a deviation - for example, someone doesn't take their rest or meal break and works during that time.

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