Minimum Wage and Rounding

July 3, 2017

Rounding is when employers round the employees’ time to the nearest five, six or fifteen minutes of an hour.  New York has no independent rounding regulations, so the state follows the federal guidelines, which establish these three rounding time periods. 


Rounding arose out of challenges surrounding calculating pay for large work forces, specifically those which use time cards or have some other mechanical impediment to time calculation.  Time card use often resulted in delays due to waiting on line to punch out or in.  Rounding is permissible so long as it does not result in a failure to compensate an employee for all of the time they have actually worked.  The key to rounding correctly is to understand that it must be consistent.  Employers cannot only round down, they must round up where appropriate.   Keep in mind, though, that the more time an employer rounds, the more they risk violating the wage theft protection act and the fair labor standards act. 


Things to look out for - does your employer round time on meal breaks?  Do they round in your favor or against?  Are they consistent in what sing in/out is rounded in a particular direction?  Does your employer round only your time, or are they rounding the amounts of your paycheck?  


If your employer is going an of these things, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney, to see if you've had any wages unlawfully withheld.  

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