Hourly employees — workers who are paid an hourly wage for their services — are an important part of the American economy. According to a recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 58% of the country’s workforce is paid on an hourly basis. There are federal and state labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), that protect an employee’s right to receive wages for the full hours that they worked.

Generally speaking, California law requires employers to pay their hourly and nonexempt employees for all hours they work, as well as keep accurate records and provide regular wage statements that correctly state the total hours worked by the employee.

California Time Keeping

California has adopted the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) time-keeping regulations for rounding hours worked. This standard allows an employer in the state of California to round employee work hours to the nearest five minutes, one-tenth of an hour or quarter of an hour, and presumes that in doing so, the time that is rounded averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually worked. In employment law, rounding is the practice of adjusting an employee’s hours worked to the nearest increment of a certain amount. For example, employers often round their employees’ hours worked to the nearest tenth of an hour. Paying an employee for 5.1 hours is easier than paying them for 5.09999 hours. Unfortunately for employees, rounding policies can result in being underpaid, which is against the law. Indeed, California law requires that rounding policies be fair and neutral on their face and in practice and not favor the employer. Plainly speaking, whatever the workplace policy is, the employer cannot fail to pay employees for all the hours they work. Furthermore, with the current state of technology, arguments can be made that rounding should no longer be acceptable at all, even if fairly and evenly applied, because there is no longer a burden on employers to accurately record and calculate hours worked. If you believe your employer is rounding down and underpaying you, you may be able to bring a legal claim for damages.

California Employers & ‘Grace Periods’

It is important for employees to note that ‘grace period’ policies are permitted, so long as the employer does not force the employee to put in ‘off-the-clock’ work. With an appropriate grace period policy in place, employees can ‘clock in’ a little early or ‘clock-out’ a little late and still be paid for the hours that they actually were assigned work.

If you  have questions about your employer’s rounding or grace period policies, contact the experienced employment attorneys at LOEAB Law today.