Rounding Work Hours in California: What Is Legal?

As an employee in Los Angeles, you expect to get paid for every minute you are on the clock. If your employer disagrees with how to compensate you for your time, however, you could encounter issues that ultimately require a wage and hour claim in California. One common issue is whether or not to round work hours. Incorrect or illegal rounding could result in an employee being underpaid or overpaid.

If you have questions regarding rounding work hours in California or believe an employer has underpaid you, contact Mathew & George for a free consultation. Our Los Angeles wage & hour attorneys can help you protect your rights.

California’s Rules for Rounding Policies

California has multiple rules in place for deciding rounding policies in the workplace. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Service Contract Act both have regulations that determine hours worked and wage policies. Recently, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released an opinion letter on rounding policies. It stated that under CFR Section 785.48(b), an employer may lawfully round an employee’s hours worked, as long as this will not result in a failure to properly compensate the employee for time worked over time.

Furthermore, the DOL stated that it is its policy to accept rounding to the nearest five minutes, quarter of an hour, half an hour or one-tenth of an hour, as long as the rounding fully compensates an employee for the time he or she actually worked. The DOL also emphasized that an employer’s rounding practice must be neutral, meaning it must not benefit the employee or employer over the other.

What is a Grace Period Policy?

Some employers in Los Angeles adopt grace period policies instead of rounding policies. With a grace period policy, an employer allows employees to clock in early or late but assumes employees do not work during these times. The employer will not pay the employee for these minutes as a result. Instead, the employer will only pay the worker for his or her scheduled shift, even if that worker clocked in early or clocked out late.

Grace period policies are typically used to help workers worry less about forgetting to punch in or punch out when using timeclocks. California law permits grace period policies in the workplace as long as the employee does not perform any work during the grace period, and as long as the employer does not have control over what the employee does during the grace period.

What are Your Options if You’ve Been Underpaid?

Wage law violations are common torts in the state of California. An employer may negligently underpay a worker by failing to recognize that worker’s rights under state law, or else intentionally shortchange a worker to save the company money. Either way, the underpaid worker has rights under California’s employment laws.

Being underpaid could give you the right to file a missing wage or backpay claim against your employer. This could require your employer to pay you the full amount owed. If you realize your employer has been underpaying you based on California’s rule on rounding, contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may be eligible for compensation for being underpaid. You have a time limit on filing this type of claim, however. If you wait too long, you may not have the right to file.

Get Help from a Los Angeles Wage & Hour Attorney

Employment claims in Los Angeles commonly involve hour and wage problems. If your employer has slightly or significantly underpaid you, protect your rights as a California worker by hiring a wage and hour attorney. Mathew & George has years of experience representing clients during all types of employment claims in LA. We can help you understand California’s rounding policies as well as other wage-related laws. Contact us online or call (310) 478-4349 today to schedule your free consultation.