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What do we do if employees are clocking in early? The supervisor did not approve the overtime – it is a bad and expensive habit.

What do we do if employees are clocking in early? The supervisor did not approve the overtime – it is a bad and expensive habit.   What do we do?

employees goofing off at work

Clocking in early can become a habit and a way for employees to add a little to their paychecks. Going unchecked – it can take away from the profits of the business.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the laws that regulate compensable time and minimum wage and such, employers are required to pay employees for working. If the employees are not working but are just hanging out – they should not clock in before they begin work. If they are clocked in but not working – it would be tough to prove that the time should NOT be paid. Here is what to do:

  1. Have a policy that states that overtime must be pre-approved by the supervisor. This policy should be a part of the employee handbook, and the employee should sign that they received the handbook and understand that the policies are about them.
  2. Discipline employees for working overtime that has not been pre-approved if you have the policy in place.
  3. Send employees home early during that week so that they don’t go over 40 hours. Remember- overtime is over 40 in a workweek, not over 8 hours in a day. That doesn’t always work out well for employers, usually we’re trying to cover a shift-sending them home early doesn’t provide you the coverage you need.

Keep in mind:

  1. You are still required to pay employees if they are clocked in – your policy cannot be to not pay if the overtime worked was not pre-approved.
  1. It is not a good idea to change their time card – make sure the supervisor and the employee sign off on a changed time card.
  1. Watch out for employees who aren’t “officially working” but answer the work phone or answer questions or do anything else that could be considered work. If they are at their work station you should pay them for the time.

If employees are clocking in early so they can get paid overtime that is not authorized, they should be disciplined for working overtime without authorization from the supervisor. Pay them, but discipline them

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