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Importance of Employer Maintaining Time Records for its Employees in California

California law requires that employers maintain time records, including time off for the required duty free meal breaks, for all of their non-exempt employees. The form of the time record may vary from Company to Company or even within the Company by department, etc. Time cards or time sheets are used as a means of accurately recording hours worked and calculating pay. They record regular hours worked, meal periods, overtime, absences, and vacations.

Employers Should Require that Non-exempt Employees Clock In and Clock Out . . . NO Exceptions!!

Accordingly, non-exempt employees should record the time they begin and end work each day, as well as the beginning and end of each meal period. Employees should not punch in more than (e.g., five) minutes prior to the scheduled start of their shift or return from lunch, and should not punch out more than five) minutes after the scheduled end of their shift or beginning of their lunch break.

Employees must also record their time whenever they leave the premises for any reason other than Company business. It is important that the time card not be lost, falsified or mutilated. If there is a mistake on the time card, an employee should inform his or her supervisor and then make and initial the necessary corrections. The supervisor should also initial any corrections.

Los Angeles CA Employer Should Prohibit Employees from Punching in or out for Another Employee

It is strictly forbidden to punch another employee's time card or write on another employee's time sheet. Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who violates this rule. If an employee's time card or time sheet is missing, the employee should report this fact immediately and obtain assistance to locate the time card or time sheet or receive another.

Accuracy of Time - Important to an Employer Due to Rise in Claims by Employees that their Employer Forced them to Work "Off-the-Clock."

While employers are not required to have this policy, the current prevalence of wage and hour suits against employers makes this policy a high--priority. Those issues emphasized in the policy often are the main contentions of employees bringing suits against their employers for purportedly unpaid wages. It is the Company's goal to ensure that all employees are properly paid for all of their work. Therefore, it is every employee's responsibility to examine his or her paycheck and paycheck stub to ensure that he/she is being properly paid for all work time and that the paycheck and pay stub are accurate.

Employer Should Provide that "Off-the-Clock" Work is not Permitted

If an employee believes that he/she is not being properly paid for all of his/her work, the employee must immediately inform Human Resources. Additionally, no supervisor or manager can permit an employee to work "off the clock." If your supervisor or manager asks you to work "off the clock," you must immediately bring this issue to Human Resources. No employees are permitted to work "off the clock" at any time. For the purposes of this policy, "off the clock" work is where an employee works for the Company but does not accurately record his/her time in the Company's approved time record. Supervisors and managers are not permitted to require employees to sign any agreement or other statement of hours that falsely represents an employee's time. Supervisors and managers who do so are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Employers in California Should Discipline Supervisors or other Managers who Alter any Time Sheet of an Employee

Supervisors or managers are only authorized to change an employee's time record to accurately reflect the employee's actual work hours. If you believe that a supervisor or manager has modified your time record to inaccurately reflect an employee's work hours, again, you must immediately inform Human Resources of the alleged inaccuracy, in writing. It will be presumed that the Company is accurately compensating an employee, unless the employee timely brings a complaint pursuant to this policy.

Additional resources provided by the author

Wage and Hour Law

Glossary of Wage and Hour Terms
Overtime Law FAQ
Link to Overtime Law sections of CA Labor Code
Which Wage Order?
Index of Businesses and Occupations for Wage Order Classifications
Waiting Time Penalties FAQ
Deductions from Wages FAQ
Minimum Wage FAQ
Pay Periods and Final Wages FAQ
Reporting Time Pay FAQ
Tips and Gratuities FAQ

Human Resources Law - General

CalChamber HR California
Useful Table of Which HR Laws Apply to California Employers
Link to Free New Hire Forms
Paid Family Leave Poster
Social Security Number Verification Service
Sample Technology and Cell Phone Policy
Paid Family Leave Brochure

Meal and Rest Period Law

Meal Period and Rest Break Basics

Free Human Resources Forms

Free California Human Resources Downloads

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