Do I Have Recourse About Overtime Pay?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about time card punch-in: my supervisor deciding he now wants us to email him when we come in, go to lunch, come back from lunch and leave everyday and he will complete our time cards for us.

Last week I asked the question about my supervisor deciding he now wants us to email him when we come in, go to lunch, come back from lunch and leave everyday and he will complete our time cards for us. He mentioned that he will probably use some rounding method but hasn’t told us what that method is yet we have already started the new procedure of emailing. My question is – does he have to tell us what that rounding method is upfront or can he just come up with something off the top of his head. I feel he is doing this to avoid paying overtime.. I also feel he should have told us what rounding method he would be using prior to starting this new procedure. Do I have any recourse if he doesn’t pay my overtime based on his rounding method even though he hasn’t told us what that is?

Signed, Suspicious

Dear Suspicious:

Think it’s time for you and the others to meet with your supervisor–and preferably someone higher then him, to find out about this new process and the impact it has on you. If you have an HR person or payroll person perhaps they could be helpful. This may be just one supervisor who is going off on his own, or it may be he is following instructions from the company. But, unless he is the owner, he should not be doing this on his own.

This new element concerns me, because it makes it appear that the supervisor could control budget for his own benefit. That is likely not the case, but still it looks badly. As far as recourse goes, I’m not certain about that under the laws in your state. Wage and benefits are sometimes given oversight by the department of labor in the state involved, and I think your state would have that situation. On the other hand, the size of the business would make a big difference, as well as the terms of employment. That’s why you will need to check with your state’s department of labor about it. But, it seems to me this could easily be taken care of by either talking or writing to the supervisor and someone above him. I do think getting someone higher involved is important. I don’t know what your working relationships are, there, but I do know that good workers in your field are hard to find–so it is to the benefit of the company to not have people unhappy.

Frankly, as positive as I like to be about working situations, I know I wouldn’t like to have my overtime rounded to anything more than perhaps the nearest five minutes! And even then, I would want it rounded UP! So, I can understand this would be a real concern.Say something about this soon and not only get the air cleared about it, but get it off your mind too. This must be a source of concern and irritation to many people, so it needs to be understood better, whatever the situation turns out to be.Keep me informed about this if you have the time and wish to do so.

Tina Lewis Rowe