A Powerful Ally In Controlling Your Labor Costs

Are you getting the most from your time and labor system? Acroprint software offers many powerful features that can help you control your labor costs while managing your risk from a wage and hour audit or lawsuit.

Unfortunately, many organizations don’t take full advantage of these features. One such feature is the “rounding” setting included in your Acroprint time and attendance software. Let’s take a closer look at rounding to see how using it could benefit your organization.

How Can Rounding Help?

Imagine a situation where employees arrive early, then spend ten or fifteen minutes drinking coffee, chatting and waiting for their shift to start. These are conscientious workers, so some of them even clock in ahead of time so they can get started working right away once their shift starts. Of course you want your employees to be on time, or maybe even a few minutes early arriving, but you may not want to pay them for coffee-drinking time.

The same situation can hold if employees tend to “hang out” for a few minutes after the end of their shift before clocking out.

The problem is, once your employees clock in and up until the time they clock out for the day, those hours show as work time. Which means under the law you have to pay them for that time.

Proper configuration of the “rounding” setting in your software can help you minimize the impact of this situation.

Use With Caution

If you are considering making use of rounding, you need to be careful! The configuration for rounding can be complicated.

The most common type of rounding is usually referred to as the “7/8 rule.” Let’s look at a few examples of how this might work:

  1. Let’s say one of your employees is scheduled to start her shift at 8:00am. One day, she clocks in at 7:53am — seven minute early. Under the 7/8 rounding rule, you can round the start time to 8:00am that day for this employee.
  2. But what if she clocked in at 7:52am? In that case, she’d be eight minutes early, so her start time would be rounded to 7:45am. (The law says you can’t decide to round only when the rounding is in your favor!)
  3. If she clocks in another day at 8:07am — seven minutes late — you would round her start time back to 8:00am. What happens if she clocks in another day at 8:08am? That day, you may round her start time up to 8:15am.
  4. The same rule holds at the end of the day. If an employee’s shift normally ends at 5:30pm, but he clocks out one day at 5:37pm, you can round his stop time to 5:30pm. But if he clocks out another day at 5:38pm, you must round so his stop time is recorded as 5:45pm.

Restrictions on Rounding

Federal law imposes important restrictions on how you can round employee time. In general, rounding is allowed only as long as the following criteria are met:

  1. The rounding must work both ways, both in the employer’s favor and the employee’s favor. You can’t decide to only round when it works out to your benefit.
  2. You cannot round more than 15 minutes. So if your employees are clocking in more than 15 minutes ahead of their scheduled start, you can only “round away” a maximum of 15 minutes of the coffee-and-chat time. You’ll still have to pay them for the rest.
  3. The rounding must be applied in such a way as the employee is still fully paid for all hours actually worked. If your employees are clocking in 10 minutes before their scheduled start time and actually starting work early, you cannot “round away” that work time, even though it occurred prior to the scheduled shift start time.

You should also check with an employment lawyer to see if your state has additional regulations regarding rounding. Remember, when there is a difference in Federal and state law, the one that “rules” is the one that’s best for the employee.

What If Rounding Isn’t Enough?

If you have a significant problem with employees clocking in or out at times other than their scheduled start and stop times, what you may need is an advanced time and attendance system such as Acroprint’s Pendulum Enterprise labor management software, which offers a lockout feature. This setting prevents employees from punching in more than a set number of minutes before or after scheduled shift change times. Employees can continue to arrive early for coffee and conversation, but they can’t put themselves on the clock until it’s time to start working.

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