Each workplace may use slightly different methods to record the time you begin or end work. While some employers use the exact time you punch in or out, other employers may use something called the “seven-minute rule” to round your time up or down.
If you see discrepancies between the hours you receive payment for and the hours you work, it may be because your employer utilizes this method to keep track of your time.
Explaining the seven-minute rule
According to FindLaw, the seven-minute rule allows employers to round their workers’ time to the nearest 15-minute increment. For example, if you are running late and you clock in at 9:02 a.m., your employer can round that time to 9:00 a.m. If you clock in at 9:12 a.m., however, the employer will round your time to 9:15 a.m.
While this method can make it easier to process payroll, it is important to understand that the employer must be consistent in their practice. They cannot only round your time when it benefits the business, for example.
Defining legal requirements for employers
Federal law states that there is no requirement for time clocks at a place of employment, but most employers use them because it is easier to keep track of than manually recording hours. The following points are a few other federal laws that define wage and hour requirements for employers”
- Non-salaried employees must receive payment for the hours they work
- Arriving early or late to begin work must result in payment
- Arriving early or late, but failing to engage in work, will not result in payment
- Employers may choose to round time to the nearest five, six or 15-minute increment
- Rounding time up and down must accurately pay employees over a period
If you feel that your employer is utilizing the seven-minute rule unfairly, it may be a good idea to consult a professional.