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  • Time sheet signatures Minnesota

    Are my employees legally required to sign their punch clock time sheets? I am a supervisor at a company in MN. One of my duties is to verify work hours of employees. In the past I simply reviewed the paper timesheets that employees filled out, signed them off, and submitted them to payroll without question. We have recently purchased a electronic punch clock used to track time. Employees now use this punch clock (proximity reader) to log their hours instead of writing down the times that they work. Instead of submitting paper timesheets I print out reports of punch times and turn them in to payroll. Recently I've been told by payroll that I will need to have employees sign these reports as well. Is this required by law? To me this seems like a waste of time to track down each individual employee and have them sign this form weekly.

  • #2
    If you are asking if there is an actual law that says employees must sign timesheets, then there is no such actual law. What actual federal rules that exist are the 29 CFR 516.xxx regulations, and those are imposed on the employer, not the employee.

    Way back in the late 1930, there was a famous court case (Yankowski v. Montgomery Ward) that said if the employee voluntarily completes the time sheet, then it becomes legally difficult for them to later claim different hours worked. The fall out from that court case is that over the years it become a "best practice" (which is not the same thing as a legal requirement) that employees fill out their own time accounting, and then sign the time accounting to indicated they did this.

    The problem with time clocks or any other automated time accounting system is if the employee later claims that some one else entered or fudged the time accounting. Again, not a legal requirement, but it is a best practice if the employer takes some effort to mitigate such claims. Signatures is a method, sending a copy of the results to the employee with a "say something if this is wrong" notation is possible. There is no one right answer, just a thought that doing nothing increases later risks in court.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      When the company used paper timesheets, the employees handwriting was on it which made it difficult to dispute.

      Using an electronic timeclock makes it much easier for "buddy punching". At my last company I had an employee who was on warning for being late. One day he called in sick but miraculously had already punched in. A short time later he also punched out. Employees were told to keep their timecards on them but many left theirs near the clock. Both employees were termed, the one who did the punching for falsicifaction of time worked and the other employee for attendance and not keeping his card on him.

      My current company uses a handscan timeclock. We don't need anything signed since I am confident the employee keeps their hand with them at all time. (although I did have an employee claim he never punched when I showed his hand scan. Lived on site and was drunk ).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HRinMA View Post
        I am confident the employee keeps their hand with them at all times.
        Now, that's funny.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          DAW + HRinMA,

          Thanks for your input and rapid replies. I work in a production environment and it is counterproductive to have my employees sign these reports weekly. I'm looking for ways to justify not having to do it but our payroll person is pretty stubborn. She insist that it's the law... and thus I asked the question. Now that I know that there is no law I can assail her line of reasoning. Man, I hope I don't have to have my employees sign this stuff each week. What a headache! The whole point of moving to a timeclock system was so there was LESS WORK! Thanks again!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HRinMA View Post
            Using an electronic timeclock makes it much easier for "buddy punching".
            In another life, in that "manufacturing environment", the company I worked for had 12 hour shifts. We also had a set of twin brothers that worked opposing shifts on the same days. You know what happened. Their respective supervisors were completely confused, and we figure the brothers worked something like 20% of the time for which they were paid.

            All four found new jobs without much trouble, but they did not have the old ones after it came to light. Started looking suspicious when one called in sick and it was discovered he had already "punched in".

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