• Oct 19, 2023
  • Wage & Hour

California Law Clocking In and Out

California Full Time Hours

California Law Clocking In and Out

California labor law requires employers to accurately track and record the hours worked by their employees – both those with a full time employment status and those part time employees – including clocking in and out. While there isn’t a specific method or system mandated by law for clocking in and out, employers are responsible for implementing a reliable and compliant timekeeping system. Tracking the clocking in and out of employees can include:

  1. Accurate Timekeeping: Employers are required to keep accurate records of the hours worked by their employees. This includes recording when employees start and end their work shifts and tracking any meal and rest breaks taken.
  2. Meal and Rest Breaks: California law mandates specific meal and rest break requirements based on the total hours worked in a day. Employers must ensure that these breaks are provided and properly recorded.
  3. Overtime Tracking: Accurate tracking of work hours is crucial for determining eligibility for overtime pay, especially for minimum wage and hourly workers. California law requires that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond eight in a workday or 40 in a workweek.
  4. Timekeeping Systems: Employers can choose the timekeeping system that works best for their business and employees. Common methods include manual timecards, electronic timekeeping systems, biometric systems, and mobile apps.
  5. Pay Stub Requirements: California pay stubs must include information related to the hours worked by the employee, the rate of pay, and any overtime calculations, among other details.
  6. Record Retention: Employers are required to retain time and payroll records for a specified period. California labor law dictates that employers keep these records for at least three years.
  7. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Failure to maintain accurate timekeeping records or comply with labor laws can lead to penalties, fines, and potential legal action against the employer.

It’s crucial for employers to ensure compliance with these timekeeping and recording requirements to avoid legal consequences and to provide a transparent and accurate record of employees’ working hours. Employees should also review their pay stubs and keep track of their hours worked to ensure they are accurately compensated. If they believe there are discrepancies or violations, an employee should consult with a wage and hour lawyer, like the ones at Lawyers for Justice, PC, by calling (818) JUSTICE.

Time Card Laws – FAQ

what happens if you forget to clock out? Sometimes, employees forget to clock out. In that case, the employer can understand if you forget to clock in or out, especially if it’s the first time, and might issue a verbal or written warning to ensure the behavior stops. If it happens more than once, termination is more likely since it may signify time clock insubordination and inaccurate time tracking.

can you clock in early at work? If an an employee clocks in early with permission from their employer, usually there shouldn’t be an issue. To cut down on payroll errors, the boss dictates when employees are clocking in and out. And thus, employee hours are dictated by the time clock and legally, every employee must be paid for each minute they work. So, as long as you have permission to clock in early from an employer, it’s fine.

do salaried employees have to clock in? Salaried employees are not legally required to be clocking in and out. Because they do need need to use a time clock, the decision of clocking in and out comes down to the employer. While some employers don’t require a salaried employee clock-in system, there are benefits to salaried employees using a time tracking software so they can see all their time clock activity, which days they worked, and can reduce time theft.

can an employer not pay you if you forget to clock in? Under the FLSA (the Fair Labor Standards Act), an employer cannot penalize an employee who fails to clock in by not paying them or paying them a reduced wage. The FLSA requires the employer to pay their employees for all hours they work, even if the time clock does not reflect those hours. If the work is done, regardless of time tracking, the employee must be paid.

how early can you clock into work? Due to more remote workers, mobile devices having time clock software and time clock systems on them, technically an employee does not have to use a physical time clock like they used to. However, employees should only use their work’s time clock system during their scheduled hours, or if they have explicit instructions from an employer to clock in outside their scheduled shift. An abuse of clock in and out for hours that are not permitted could result in termination.

can an employer change your clock in time? Typically, employers have the capability to adjust time tracking for employees or go into time clock software and adjust work hours for their employees. This permission can mean it is possible for managers to change workers hours in a way that diminishes employee pay for not paying them for all their work hours. However, if that were to happen, it’s a violation of California labor laws, and employees could file a lawsuit for a time clock attorney. Employees have a right to compensation.

what happens if i clock out early? Sometimes, if an employee clocks out more than ten minutes early, it may be considered an incomplete shift, depending on the time clock rules and employee time guidelines a company sets forth. If an employee has permission from their employer to clock in late or clock out early, they should not be expressly punished.


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