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How does time clock rounding work?

You may have worked for employers in Missouri in the past that kept an accurate, to-the-minute time clock. However, at your current job, your time is rounded to the nearest quarter hour. Is that legal?

The U.S. Department of Labor explains that the Fair Labor Standards Act does give employers the right to track employees' time in 15-minute increments, and they may also round up or down. This rule has strict limits, though, and if your employer does not follow these, it could be a wage and hour violation.

Say you regularly clock in five minutes late and get right to work. The remaining 10 minutes of that quarter hour you worked should be rounded up to 15. In fact, even if you are seven minutes late, you should still be paid for the full 15. However, if you are eight or more minutes late, the remaining seven that you work do not have to be compensated.

Conversely, suppose you regularly clock in early or stay late. The same rule applies. Seven minutes or fewer of extra time are rounded down, and eight or more are rounded up.

If your early clocking in or late clocking out leads to more than 40 hours per week, your employer must pay you one-and-a-half times your regular rate of pay for the time over 40 hours. 

Although your employer must follow these requirements regarding your pay, the company could still have a policy that leads to termination if you habitually fail to work the schedule set by your supervisor. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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