Can a Company Charge an Employee for Turning in a Late Time Sheet?

Turning in a tardy time card has its consequences.
Turning in a tardy time card has its consequences. (Image: Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from charging an employee a late fee for failing to turn his time sheet in at the close of the monthly payment cycle. Employers can, however, use corrective measures to discipline employees for their tardiness.

Docking Overtime Pay

With no exact record of hours worked, employers who don't receive a time sheet from an employee by the end of the pay period can dock any overtime pay accrued during the month. The law holds employers accountable for accurately paying an eight-hour workday; not overtime. Employers can withhold the extra overtime pay until the next pay period. Under wage payment law, the employer must pay the overtime hours by then.

Verbal and Written Warnings

A first-time offender should expect a verbal warning from management that includes a list of consequences concerning future infractions. The employee may also receive a copy of the company's time-recording policy, which he must acknowledge he understands. A second-time offender may receive a written warning that will also be placed in his personnel file.

Spot-Checks and Retraining

A second-time offender may be subject to a 30-day spot-check by her manager. The manager will check-in with the employee often to make sure she is keeping track of the hours she's worked on the time sheet. The second-time offender may also be required to attend a training session on timekeeping and once again acknowledge that she understands the company's time-recording policy.

Disciplinary Reviews

The third-time offender may be directed to meet with his manager and the company's vice president to talk about his timekeeping violations. The employee will typically receive a second written warning that will be added to his personnel file. At this point, his continued oversight of the company's timekeeping policy will also turn up in his annual performance evaluation. If the employee violates the timekeeping policy a fourth time, he will be subject to a disciplinary review, which may lead to his firing.

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