Right now, in some parts of the country we’re facing mountains of snow and record-breaking cold. Even where it’s warmer (and drier) it’s still hard to believe Daylight Saving Time (DST) is just around the corner.
But it’s true! Come 2:00am on Sunday, March 8, most areas in the USA will switch to DST.
For those of us in work environments that operate only during standard daytime business hours, the biggest concern we might have is likely to be how to ensure our clocks make the transition. If you have an Acroprint time clock or time and attendance system, many of our models can be programmed to make the change automatically. We also offer free instructions online so you can make sure you’re prepared for the time change.
Changing the clocks isn’t the only time change concern
If you operate a hospital, hotel, convenience store, 24-hour restaurant or any other business that might have employees working through the 2:00am time change, you have another issue to address.
The spring time change will cause us to “lose” an hour, while the fall time change will allow us to “gain” that hour back. The question is: how to handle these “lost and found” hours on your employees’ paychecks?
You might be tempted simply to pay them for a standard shift using the times indicated by their starting and ending punches. But this would be a mistake — it would have the effect of overpaying them for one hour in the spring and underpaying them by one hour in the fall. The law says you have to pay your workers for the time they actually work. You can’t “take the average” of the spring and fall time changes and just call it even.
So how do we (properly) account for employee work time?
Let’s start with an example of the spring time change. Imagine you have an employee who arrives at 11:00pm and clocks in for their shift, which will run until 7:00am. At 2:00am the time clock will “spring ahead” to display 3:00am. If you simply look at the employee’s start and end punches, it will look as though they worked eight hours, when in reality they only worked seven.
Similarly, in the fall, at 2:00am the clock will “fall back” to display 1:00am. Again, if you simply look at the employee’s start and end punches, it will look as though they worked eight hours. This time, though, they will have really worked for nine hours.
In the spring, you have two choices. First, you can just go ahead and pay the employee for eight hours. The law doesn’t prevent you from being generous! Most employers, though, will opt to pay their overnight employees for the seven hours they actually worked.
Either way, come the fall, you will still have to pay them for nine hours of work. You can’t try to offset the spring “lost” hour with the fall “gained” hour, because the two days fall into different pay periods.
Further, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act the time change will affect not only base pay, but could have an impact on overtime as well. In the fall, you will have to pay overtime if the extra hour due to the time change pushes an overtime-eligible work time to more than 40 hours in that week. (Note that some states require you to pay overtime if an eligible worker puts in more than eight hours in a workday.)
It doesn’t matter if the employee is hourly or salaried — if they’re eligible for overtime and they work more than 40 hours in a week, you have to pay them time and a half for the work time over 40 hours, even if the “overage” was caused by the time change.
Acroprint Can Help
While we can’t make you an extra cup of coffee to help you get moving an hour earlier on March 9, Acroprint can help ease your business’s Daylight Saving Time woes.
We offer a number of timekeeping solutions that will automatically adjust for DST, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. All our solutions provide you with accurate, incontrovertible time records — so important for wage and hour compliance! Our ES1000 and Acroprint BioTouch® clocks, timeQplus® and Pendulum® software, and our AcroTime® cloud-based service will also total work hours for you, saving time and eliminating clerical errors.
And if you’re tired of manually calculating payroll, check out AcroTime Payroll. While it integrates seamlessly with AcroTime Time & Labor Management, it will also work easily with any time tracking solution. No matter which Acroprint clock or software you choose, you can use AcroTime Payroll to ensure your payroll is prepared easier, faster and more accurately.