Meet Our Experts
Will your time and payroll records save you from an FLSA lawsuit?
If they’re not unfailingly accurate and consistently kept, the answer is probably no.
And if you’re keeping track of employee hours worked by asking your team to track their time on a paper time card, then manually entering that time into your payroll system – you’re guilty of committing our fifth deadly sin: Keeping Sloppy or Inaccurate Records.
When it comes to FLSA lawsuits, being able to prove exactly when your employees worked, and how much they were paid, can be a critical defense. Paper time cards are not only inaccurate and prone to human error, but they can be lost, they can illegible, or they can be padded. And because there’s no definitive way to prove that those time cards are correct (or not), they simply won’t hold up in court.
On top of that, by manually entering that time card data into your accounting or payroll system, you run the risk of accidentally hitting the wrong number, reading the time card incorrectly, misinterpreting the total hours worked.
Long story short, manual or handwritten records, no matter how neat and organized, simply aren’t a good defense – and they won’t do a thing to save you from an FLSA lawsuit. If you want to protect yourself, your company, and your employees, you’ve got to add “accurate record keeping” to the top of your list – and start immediately.
How? We reached out to the nation’s top wage and hour experts to get the answers to your most pressing record keeping questions.
How can accurate records protect employers against FLSA lawsuits?
Keeping and maintaining accurate time and payroll records is the most important thing you can do to avoid or defend against FLSA lawsuits.
What records are employers required to keep?
Employers must keep at least the following basic records:
- Employee’s full name and social security number
- Address, including zip code
- Birth date, if younger than 19
- Sex and occupation
- Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins
- Hours worked each day
- Total hours worked each workweek
- Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (e.g., “$9 per hour”, “$440 a week”, “piecework”)
- Regular hourly pay rate
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek
- All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages
- Total wages paid each pay period
- Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment
The following records must be kept for at least three years:
- Payroll records;
- Collective bargaining agreements; and
- Sales and purchase records;
The following records must be kept for at least two years:
- Time cards;
- Piece work tickets;
- Wage rate tables;
- Work and time schedules; and
- Records of additions to or deductions from wages.”
What are the consequences or pitfalls of inaccurate record keeping?
What is the most egregious example of poor record keeping you have come across?
How can employers ensure their records are accurate?
Consistently using an automated time tracking system is an easy way to keep accurate records – protecting both you and your employees.
- Without accurate and consistent records, you won’t be able to defend yourself against an FLSA lawsuit – handwritten or sloppy records simply won’t cut it
- Use an automated time tracking system and require employees to track time consistently – make it your policy
Meet The Experts
Michael S. Kun
Michael S. Kun is a Member of Epstein Becker Green in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He is also the national Chairperson of the firm’s Wage and Hour practice group. Kun speaks before professional and business groups on a variety of employment-related topics, and his is the co-editor of the wage and hour defense blog (wagehourblog.com). Additionally, Kun is one of the creators of the Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app, which provides employers with easy access to federal and state wage and hour laws.
Maria O. Hart
Maria O. Hart is a member of the Litigation, Trials and Appeals practice group at Parsons Behle and Latimer. Hart’s practice focuses generally on commercial litigation and business law. She has experience representing businesses and individuals in both Idaho and Montana. Her practice involves litigation in both federal and state court pursuing or defending against a variety of issues related to health care law, employment law, and general commercial matters.
Jonathan M. Young
Jonathan M. Young focuses his practice on labor and employment matters, including wage and hour claims, class action benefit claims, class action contract and tort cases, state Attorney General investigations, commercial litigation, Department of Labor investigations and banking settlements.
Charles A. Krugel
Charles A. Krugel is a management side labor and employment attorney as well as a human resources counselor. He has more than 20 years of experience in his field and has been running his own practice for the past 15. He serves small to medium sized companies in a variety of industries. Besides providing traditional labor and employment law services, Charles has negotiated hundreds of labor and employment agreements and contracts.