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Forced to put incorrect time on time sheet Michigan

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  • Forced to put incorrect time on time sheet Michigan

    I work for the transportation dept of a local school. For the first 4 weeks of school, my employer has decided that all bus aides must put down 6.75 hours and drivers 7.25 hours each day. Last year my actual work time was 5.75 hours so that's what I put down. My employer changed the hours to 6.75 and then made me pay back the over-payment. Can my employer force me to put down incorrect hours, change what I wrote down on the time sheet (without notification) and then make me pay back the money? After the 4th week, we are timed and our hours stay the same until we gain or lose a student and are retimed.

  • #2
    In a word, yes they can. Where I work has an equally screwy system for paying drivers which I'm finally going to be getting them to change after 3 years and 2 rounds of union negotiations. The long and short is that they can tell you to put down whatever they want on the timesheet but only need ot pay you for what time you actually work. If you are overpaid, yes, they can make you pay it back. I agree with you that the policy stinks and there are loads of better ways out there, but for some reason variations of the one you describe are all too common in school systems. Dont' ask me why, I have no idea.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Curious?

      What happens if you are within a state where it is illegal to garnish wages? Too say, if you refused to return the wages......

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      • #4
        First of all, it isn't a wage garnishment. Overpayments can be deducted from future checks as well. If the employee quits and refuses to pay, the employer can sue them for the difference.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
          In a word, yes they can. Where I work has an equally screwy system for paying drivers which I'm finally going to be getting them to change after 3 years and 2 rounds of union negotiations. The long and short is that they can tell you to put down whatever they want on the timesheet but only need ot pay you for what time you actually work. If you are overpaid, yes, they can make you pay it back. I agree with you that the policy stinks and there are loads of better ways out there, but for some reason variations of the one you describe are all too common in school systems. Dont' ask me why, I have no idea.
          If your correct, and I am not saying you are not, why is Wal-Mart in a pickle due to the fact that they made associates (employees) enter hours of work that were incorrect.
          I realize that the issue with Wal-Mart is directly associated with overtime work and not being paid for the same, but i thought (apparently incorrectly) that an employee’s hours worked must be accurate.

          Eric

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          • #6
            You are comparing apples and oranges here. You are being paid for the hours you work. Employers must keep accurate time records for employees but how they do that is totally up to them. If they only retime runs once a month rather than have you punch a time clock each day they may do so. Since they are estimating in your favor, you are being paid for all the time you are working. I grant you this isn't a very efficient system, but it is legal. As long as you get paid for the actual time you are working, what is written down on the record is less important.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              There are sort of two different types of rules involved.
              - Non-Exempt employees are paid based on actual hours worked. This affects overtime, but also sometimes base pay and rates of pay. Minimum wage and regular rate of pay calcuations all are dependent on accurate time worked information.
              - The employer (not the employee) is required to maintain accurate time records. If the employer is telling the employee to lie about hours worked, then of course the employer is at legal risk.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
                First of all, it isn't a wage garnishment. Overpayments can be deducted from future checks as well. If the employee quits and refuses to pay, the employer can sue them for the difference.

                Although it has been years since I have worked in Texas, I remember well several issues that had involved deductions from an employee wages for over-payment. The employees had to agree to the deductions (one had not)…Another law forum has just had this discussion also: The outcome had been that an employer is required to have written consents for deductions of wages that would place the employees pay rate at below minimum wage rates……(this was within a state allowing garnishments).

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                • #9
                  I agree that recovery of overpayments cannot bring an employee below minimum wage without their consent. However, again, a recovery of an overpayment from the employer who overpaid in the first place is not a garnishment. And, Texas does not even ALLOW creditor garnishments.
                  I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                  • #10
                    So, I`m taking your answer in that this means that not all deductions from an employees wages are garnishments… But some could be considered debts… If the overpayment is a considered debt by the employee, then their should be a consent by the employee or a court order….? Not trying to argue this, just trying to find where that line is drawn in the sand….it should be one there, or the employer could abuse their ability to deduct wages. Then here comes the DOL or NLRB....and it hits the fan.

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                    • #11
                      Federal rules on recoveries (such as they are) can be found at the following website.
                      http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs16.htm

                      States can and sometimes do have very different rules then federal on recoveries. The employee is subject to whichever rules (federal vs. state) that are more favorable to the employee.

                      ------

                      "Garnishment" is one of those words with a very precise legal meaning, plus a somewhat looser common meaning. Precisely "garnishment" means "creditor garnishment" as defined by the federal CCPA law. Very specifically a type of court order directing the employer to withhold employees wages and remit the withholding (generally to court, sometimes directly to the third party creditor). It is fairly common for payroll people to refer to any legally required withholding order as a "garnishment", although this is not technically correct.

                      If the employer is either reducing wages due or otherwises handling a wage deduction, this is not normally referred to as a "garnishment" unless there is an actual court order requiring the action.
                      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                      • #12
                        So an employer can arbitrarily deduct wages?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Buzzard3006 View Post
                          So an employer can arbitrarily deduct wages?
                          Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. That is why I gave you a webpointer to the federal DOL rules no the subject. Have you had a chance to read those rules yet?
                          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                          • #14
                            Yelp, read that quiet awhile back and after a similar topic had come up on another forum (but thanks for refreshing my memory). The DOL had not seemed real clear to any on the forum; nor has that improved for me. This issue would not likely arise unless there was a clear indication of abuse by an employer. I know of many cases of an employer deducting for overpayment of wages. Never was a problem, legal issues had never been suggested. But I know of a case that involved retribution by an employer because the employee had simply quit. A recourse for this, of course, is available in court….which may not be practical, or even available for the employee……This topic has just recapped the same conclusion. Cut it close to the ending of the pay period, then you can slam the door on your way out.

                            This forum, by the way, is much more informative than the other. Maybe we have no or fewer lawyers…. (Rhetorical question).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Buzzard3006 View Post
                              This forum, by the way, is much more informative than the other. Maybe we have no or fewer lawyers…. (Rhetorical question).
                              No, we don't have many lawyers here, although 2 or 3 check in from time to time. Having said that, we have many responders here with decades of HR and payroll experience, including discrimination, wage and hour, tax, and other employment issues. I've had attorneys and ex-DOL investigators say that I know more about wage and hour compliance than most lawyers they know, and I'd venture to say the same about DAW, as well. A similar situation exists with cbg, Beth, and ElleMD for the more HR-related employment issues. (Other experts, if I've missed you, my apologies.) Experience does count for something, we hope. (Rhetorical answer )
                              Last edited by Pattymd; 09-12-2007, 06:03 AM.
                              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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