Is it legal for an employer to round your total hours for the day down by 15 minutes?

I have been seeing on my punch sheet that times are being adjusted so that my punches for the day are being rounded down instead of up to the next 15 minute mark. Like 3 minutes are deducted so that instead of being counted towards punching out at 5 it counts for punching out at 4:45.

Asked on March 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, it is probably not legal for your employer to do this. The law requires that workers be paid for all hours worked. There is a recognition that it's difficult to clock things exactly, so if rounding is either fairly applied, so that it sometimes is in favor of the employee as well the employer, or if the amounts "lost" by the employee are truly deminimis--a total of say, 3 - 5 minutes/day--then the employer will, as a practical matter, be in compliance. However, consistently rounding down and rounding down in violation of mathematical rules (mathematically, 4:57 should be rounded to 5, not 4:45) may well be a violation of the wage and hour laws. You might wish to contact your state or the federal department of labor about this matter; you could also hire  your own attorney, since 15 minutes per day over many days might add up to enough money to make it worthwhile.

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