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Step-by-Step Guide to Rounding Hours Worked in the California Workplace

January 13, 2024

As an employee in California, you have certain rights and protections related to how your hours
worked are recorded and compensated. The California Labor Code provides specific provisions
related to rounding hours worked, and it’s important to understand these provisions to ensure
that you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected. In this blog post, we’ll outline the
step-by-step process for understanding and navigating your rights and protections related to
rounding hours worked in the California workplace.

Step 1: Know your rights under the California Labor Code.

The first step in understanding and navigating your rights related to rounding hours worked in
the California workplace is to know your rights under the California Labor Code. Under the
California Labor Code, employers are generally allowed to round an employee’s time worked to
the nearest quarter hour. However, this rounding must be fair and neutral, and it cannot result
in a failure to pay an employee for all hours worked or a failure to pay overtime when it is due.
More often than not, an employer’s rounding policy, while neutral in theory, is unlawful as a
matter of practice because rounding generally favors the employer. As a practical matter,
employees generally clock-in and start their shift before their start time and clock-out shortly
after the end of their shift. For example, an employee who works from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm will
generally clock in a few minutes before 9:00 am and clock out a few minutes after 5:00 pm.
These few extra minutes add up, especially over time and across all of the hourly employees
throughout the workforce. As such, rounding generally allows an employer to unlawfully obtain
uncompensated work from its employees.

Step 2: Understand your employer’s rounding policy.

If you are an employee in California and you are subject to a rounding policy for recording your
hours worked, it’s important to understand how the policy works. You should ask your
employer to explain the policy to you, including how it is applied, how it is calculated, and any
exceptions or exclusions that may apply. You should also ask for a copy of the policy in writing.
Step 3: Record your time accurately.
If you are an employee in California and you are subject to a rounding policy for recording your
hours worked, it’s important to record your time accurately. This means that you should record
the exact start and end times of your shifts, breaks, and other work-related activities. You
should also record any overtime hours that you work, as well as any hours that you work on
holidays, weekends, or other premium days.

Step 4: Review your pay stubs.

If you are subject to a rounding policy for recording your hours worked, it’s important to review
your pay stubs carefully. You should check to make sure that your hours worked are accurately
reflected on your pay stubs, and that you are being paid for all hours worked and all overtime
hours worked. If you notice any discrepancies or errors, you should report them to your
employer immediately.

Step 5: Seek legal advice.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights related to rounding hours worked in
the California workplace, or if you believe that your rights have been violated, it’s important to
seek legal advice. An experienced employment attorney can review the specific circumstances
of your case and advise you on your rights and options under the California Labor Code. They
can also help you navigate any potential legal issues or challenges that may arise related to
rounding hours worked.
As an employee in California, you have certain rights and protections related to how your hours
worked are recorded and compensated. By understanding these rights, understanding your
employer’s rounding policy, recording your time accurately, reviewing your pay stubs, and
seeking legal advice if necessary, you can ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights
are protected in the California workplace. Don’t hesitate to seek legal help if you have any
questions or concerns about rounding hours worked in the California workplace.

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