Most employers in Pennsylvania are going to be subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, as well as Pennsylvania’s wage laws.
The FLSA requires that employers pay a minimum hourly wage and, if applicable, overtime wages to their hourly non-exempt employees. As part of these requirements, the employer must be able to produce accurate records of the time each employee worked.
So long as the records are accurate, an employer has considerable leeway as to what type of time-keeping system it chooses to use.
Aside from being required by federal and state law, accurate time-keeping cuts down on the possibility of wage-related lawsuits and claims.
So long as timecards truly reflect what an employee worked, it should be fairly simple for an employer to calculate an employee’s pay and overtime accurately.
On the other hand, poor time-keeping can lead to underpayments, and these underpayments will usually be an employer’s liability even if they were the result of a mistake.
Common mistakes that can lead to inaccurate time-keeping
At the most basic level, an employer should make sure that its time-keeping system is accurate and up to date. An employer should address any lapses in this area promptly.
However, a good time-keeping system only works to the extent that employees use it as expected.
Employers should be insistent that workers, particularly hourly workers, clock in for all times in which they are working and clock out when they are not working, except in some cases like mandatory paid breaks.
If they do not, they may open themselves up to claims that they underpaid an employee, even if at the time the employee supposedly agreed to work off the clock.
An employer in the Pittsburgh or Philadelphia areas will want to review its process for tracking time carefully and make sure that all employees are respecting it at all times.