In the evolving landscape of work, the age-old practice of “clocking in and out” has been a staple for hourly employees, offering a tangible record of their working hours. Yet, the question arises: should salaried employees clock in and out of work, even though they have typically been exempt from such tracking?
Legal Requirements for Salaried Staff Tracking Work Hours
The main law governing salaried employee pay and hours is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA has rules around employee classification types that distinguish between “exempt” salaried workers who are not entitled to overtime pay and “non-exempt” hourly staff who must receive overtime.
Fair Labor Standards Act and Salaried Exempt Employee Tracking
For salaried exempt employees, the FLSA does not require any specific amount of hours worked or time tracking. The designation “exempt” means they are exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations.
As long as their salary meets the minimum salary threshold and they perform exempt job duties, salaried exempt staff can work any number of hours in a week without legal issues.
How Can Requiring Salaried Employees Clock In Help Avoid Potential Legal Issues?
While exempt employees don’t have to punch in, implementing time tracking solutions can help companies avoid employee classification problems. If an exempt employee’s typical schedule far exceeds 40 hours per week, it may indicate they don’t actually qualify for the exemption.
Tracking systems can identify these situations, allowing the employer to re-classify the employee if needed and avoid potential legal issues.
Different Employee Classification Types and Their Time Clock Rules
There are three main employee classification types under the FLSA:
- Exempt salaried – Not entitled to overtime pay and have no legal requirements for clocking in.
- Non-exempt hourly – Entitled to overtime pay for hours over 40 per week and must clock in for all hours worked.
- Non-exempt salaried – Treated as hourly for overtime purposes and must clock in like regular hourly staff.
If an employer classifies an employee as exempt salaried, they are not legally obligated to have them clock in. However, implementing time tracking can promote proper employee classification and help avoid potential legal issues.
Are Existing Tracking Systems Efficient for Salaried Staff or Simply Excessive Control?
Many companies use detailed systems of tracking work hours for all employees, including salaried employees. But are these existing tools the most efficient approach? Or do they represent excessive monitoring for exempt staff?
GPS Tracking with Salaried Workers
Some companies install GPS tracking on company phones or vehicles. This can monitor location during working hours for remote salaried employees. While sometimes justified, GPS tracking should be minimized to avoid invading worker privacy.
Experts caution against micromanaging exempt employees through excessive tracking. Standard practice is to only implement essential systems needed for legal compliance, proper payroll, and reasonable oversight. Requiring salaried employees to track time should be clearly communicated and not feel punitive.
Requiring Salaried Staff to Clock-In: Impact on Company Culture
Besides legal compliance, a significant factor is how time clock requirements affect company culture and employee attitudes.
Excessive monitoring can damage the morale and autonomy of salaried employees. They may feel distrusted or constrained by rigid hours. This can stifle creativity, problem-solving, and productivity.
However, some workers appreciate tracking work hours to provide structure. The impact likely depends on the individual.
Employee time tracking that is perceived as reasonable and communicated effectively may not cause issues. The implementation approach impacts reception.
Can Time Spent Clocking In and Out Be Considered Work Hours for Salaried Employees?
The continuous workday doctrine says hourly employees must be paid for small duties around clocking in. Salaried exempt staff could argue time tracking cuts into their work time, reducing effectiveness.
Again, the impact depends on the specific system and context. Workers likely wouldn’t object to quick fingerprint scans but may resent long commutes to an office just to clock in. Mobile apps, such as the ones offered by ExakTime, can make the process seamless.
About Time Tracking Solutions From ExakTime
ExakTime, a leader in time-tracking solutions, offers an advanced workforce management solution integrating GPS and geo-fencing technology. This software streamlines time and attendance tracking while providing precise location data. GPS tracking ensures accurate remote employee monitoring, while geo-fencing enables the creation of virtual job site perimeters.
ExakTime’s intuitive interface and cloud-based accessibility empower businesses to make data-driven decisions, reducing administrative burdens and optimizing labor costs. In today’s evolving work landscape, ExakTime’s comprehensive solution stands as a beacon for efficient time management and enhanced employee accountability. Get started with our system today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it standard for companies to make salaried employees use time clocks?
Many companies across industries, such as construction, are implementing time tracking tools for both salaried and hourly employees. However, enforcing rigid clock in/out requirements purely for oversight of exempt staff is not considered a standard industry practice.
Can salaried employees be required to work certain hours?
Yes, companies can set schedules and require certain hours for exempt salaried staff. But they must be paid the full salary regardless of hours worked, as long as they perform some work in the pay period.
Do salaried employees have to clock out for lunch breaks?
No, the FLSA does not require salaried exempt staff to clock out for meal periods. Tracking lunch breaks is only legally mandated for non-exempt hourly employees.