How Your Small Business Can Use Time Clocks Correctly


For many companies, having employees clock in and out at the beginning and end of their shifts is the easiest way for employers to keep track of their employees’ hours. A manageable way to document the hours employees work, the system has been used for over 100 years.

While the system has been in use for years, companies have been increasingly pressured to ensure exact accuracy when measuring the hours their employees work. In an article by Restaurant Business magazine, lawyer Barbara Cusumano states that when an employee clocks in and out at exactly the same time everyday, a red flag is raised. This unvaried schedule may even call for further investigation by the Department of Labor, as it can be an indication that owners are trying to avoid paying their employees overtime wages. Considering it’s unlikely that an employee starts and ends their shift at the exact same time each day, it’s a cause for concern for the Department of Labor. Employees typically have some variation in their schedule as well; whether they arrive a few minutes late or leave early, each day is different.

Depending on the business, time clocks can be especially useful for monitoring their employees’ work schedules and ensuring accuracy. Corporations like Burger King, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart would greatly benefit from utilizing time clocks. Given these companies are massive in both size and revenue, they often become the target of many lawsuits regarding overtime hours and the amount paid to employees for them. The majority of the employees at these companies are paid minimum wage and corporate overtime policies have recently been under greater scrutiny.

While the implementation of a clock system at large corporations may be extremely beneficial, small businesses might not have the same needs. Based on the number of employees at the small business, a time clock system may be unnecessary because there aren’t a large number of people to keep track of. If employees were to arrive early or late, it would be more easily noticed by management at a small business in comparison with management at the corporate level.

Regardless of how your company manages employee work schedules, being aware of changing policies concerning overtime and scheduling will keep your business in the clear when it comes to the law.

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