As an hourly worker in California, you only receive compensation for the time when you are present at your place of employment performing work. Unlike a salaried employee, you cannot always predict what your income will be from week to week if your schedule changes.
It is important that you receive fair and full compensation for the time that you work. Unfortunately, businesses sometimes use certain payroll practices to reduce how much they have to pay their workers. These practices could trim hours off of a worker’s income every month.
For example, the company might round down your time, cutting a few minutes off of each ship that you work. Is it legal for your employer to round down the time that you have work?
Rounding can be legal when performed fairly
Federal employment law and court precedent have both affirmed the theoretical right of an employer to round timeclock records for their workers. However, for such practices to be legal and not constitute wage theft, the company has to be appropriate and neutral in how it applies the rules. Whatever the increment of rounding is, the company should apply it to all timeclock records whether it benefits the company or the worker.
There should be no bias toward rounding the time down as opposed to rounding up. Whether or not the practice constitutes wage theft will depend on the long-term impact it has on employee compensation. If a review of the company’s practices over time shows that they round down far more frequently than they round up, they may not be neutral or fair in their application of the process, which, therefore, unfairly denies their workers the compensation they should receive in each paycheck.
How do you prove an issue with timeclock rounding?
If you think you need to bring a wage claim against your employer for rounding down your timeclock records, a careful review of your payroll records will help you determine if you have an actionable case.
Especially if you can show a pattern of rounding down to deny workers’ compensation for time worked across many months, you may be able to demand an end to the practice and compensation for the time you already worked. Learning about the different practices that lead to wage claims can help you connect with the compensation you deserve.