Can a government contract employee be penalized leave in 15 minute increments for tardiness?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a government contract employee be penalized leave in 15 minute increments for tardiness?

My contractor has recently started penalizing late clock-in times in 15 minute increments. So if I’m

scheduled to start work at 07:00 but clock in at 07:01, I get charged .25 PTO hours. I have just recieved a write up that I should not have if they were accurately charging my time. Is this a legal practice?

Asked on February 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal. The labor laws require that employers keep accurate time records for hourly employees, pay them for all time worked, and not dock them for being late (apart from not paying them for the time they were late--i.e. if you are 10 min. late, you are not paid for those 10 minutes). You may wish to contact the U.S. Dept. of Labor if this is costing you significant time/benefits. Note though that there are other, worse, things that your employer could legally do instead if you are late--like suspend, demote, or fire you. (Employees could be legally terminated for even a single lateness, unless the employee had a written employment contract preventing that.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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