Why a Manager Should Never Pad Employees’ Timecards

by Evil HR Lady on September 9, 2019

I was recently promoted and will be taking over a team that previously reported to my boss. A couple years ago, due to a new law regarding exempt employees, the team was switched from exempt to nonexempt. They were given a nice bonus, $5,000, to help “soften the transition.” Recently, my boss let me know he’s been adding three hours per week to their timecards. Additionally, he allows them to clock out from home after leaving the office. For example, one employee left the office at 4 p.m. but clocked out at 6:15 p.m. I told my boss I would be stopping these practices. Am I micromanaging the team by asking them to clock out when they leave the office? 

To read my answer, click here: Never Pad Employees’ Timecards

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Good gravy! What was he thinking!

What if the company payroll records are subpoenaed to provide an alibi for an employee suspected of a crime? And why would the boss steal from the company like this?

I’m astonished this hasn’t come to light before. I’d get the employees some refresher ethics training during this whole mess and I’d fire the old boss immediately.

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TuToo September 9, 2019 at 4:45 pm

And the company can decide to audit the staff at anytime (checking PC login-logout times) and claw back the extra pay! Could you imagine being told that you need to pay back $10K due to your managers “favor” that was actually fraud?

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MariaRose September 9, 2019 at 6:52 pm

Apparently, that former manager had a warped idea of what it means to payroll as far as re-classification from exempt to non-exempt. There should have been a re-negotiation of the pay rate of each of these employees when the company made that switchover, as obviously, those employees did not expect to get a lesser paycheck with the switch, hence why some of the employees did “clock outs” after leaving the office. Exempt workers get the same paycheck per week without the need to clock in and out as they are mainly expected to achieve a certain job performance. Unscrupulous workers may not work a full week of hours but do achieve the job performance in fewer hours but don’t want to exert themselves to do more work if it affects their other activities not job-related. The biggest complaint by employees switched from exempt (non-clocked pay) to non-exempt (clocked by the hour pay) has to do with the schedule limitation which they aren’t used to and are very slow to accept, especially when they had gotten a certain salary level prior without the need to really achieve the hours required. I am on the fence about what to do about the prior manager concerning this “padding” effort to keep the employee’s salary to the same level after the switchover, as I don’t know if it was approved indirectly by HR, who should have had this discussion with these employees about the effects of the switchover especially emphasizing the need to clock in and out. (Most employers who make this switch, claim they do so to control labor cost and efficiency).
That being said, yes this is a valid Labor Department violation and needs immediate addressing, plus each employee needs to realize that to achieve their same paycheck amount, they need to do so underclocked in time, doing actual work. (Like that employee who left at 4 pm but clocked out at home at 6:15 pm). A possible solution for this need to leave is to allow the employee to start earlier to enable them to leave early. If an internal audit was done by the accounting department, these discrepancies ( in clocking procedures) may result in pay being docked, depending on where exactly the employee needs to be when doing so. There’s no mention of allowance for work done from home, only the ability to clock in and out. I am assuming to be able to do so, the work has to be classified. Either way, all these employees need to get on board with the clock in requirements that the company set for hourly non-exempt employees, even if they have to make adjustments to their outside activities.

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Anonymous September 10, 2019 at 4:20 am

No you are doing the right thing to protect the company and the employees. God only knows how much this padding increases the Overtime paid as well as the extra straight hours. I know it will be tough with the precedent set but it is the right thing to do.

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