Can an employer dock your hours if you are late to work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer dock your hours if you are late to work?

I recently received and email from my employer
stating a policy and being on time to work, here
it reads Showing up on time Starting
January 7, 2019, anyone clocking in 1-30
minutes late will forfeit 1/2 hour’s pay clocking
in 31-60 minutes late will incur a forfeiture of 1
hour’s pay, etc.

IsIf I am reading this correctly they are stating
that if I clock in at 803am then they will be
deducting a hours pay. Is this legal?

Asked on January 1, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you an hourly employee (paid on an hourly basis), your employer does not have to pay you for any time you are late or otherwise not at work, but can't take additional time, so if you are 5 minutes late, you are not paid for those 5 minutes--but they can't take a half hour. The law is very clear that hourly employees must be paid for all time worked, and if not, they could file a wage and hour complaint with the department of labor. 
There are other things an employer may do if you are late: suspend you; demote you; reduce your wage or hours going forward; even terminate you. But they can't dock pay.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption