Employers can require that employees submit timecards but the FLSA requires that employers pay their employees regardless of whether that actually happens.
Pay Employees For All Hours They Work
It can be hard to know how much to pay nonexempt employees when they don’t turn in their timesheets but under the FLSA it is the employer’s responsibility to figure it out.
If employees are “suffered or permitted to work”, they must be paid, on time (refer to Payday Requirements by State). They need to be paid if they work unapproved overtime and for any time they work. They need to be paid even when they don’t follow their manager’s rules.
When you don’t know the hours
The problem is particularly difficult in situations where the employee works remotely or independently out in the field. Time sheets bridge that gap and if the employee doesn’t turn one in (or doesn’t track the time in real time online) then what can the employer do? If the employer has no way of contacting the employee and has no idea how much the employee worked, they will have to do their best at estimating the time. Try figuring out the employee’s total hours based on:
- Client jobs completed
- Past paychecks
When it delays client billing
This situation can get really frustrating when those missing timecards delays client billing. A company needs to bill its clients in order to pay its employees and it can’t do that unless it receives a timesheet detailing the hours worked for clients. While employees may lose their job over it, they can’t lose their paycheck over it.
Have a Discipline Policy
If you have stated rules about timesheets and your employees aren’t following them, use a progressive discipline policy to deal with it in a consistent manner. Start by giving the employee a verbal reprimand, then give written warning, then suspension, and finally discharge. But remember that in all stages of the discipline, the employee needs to be paid on time.
Make It Easy to Submit Timesheets
If your company needs to receive employee timecards in order to accurately bill clients, then be sure to make the timesheet process simple. Tracking time online is so easy compared with paper timesheets or those manual, antiquated contraptions. Compliance becomes much less of an issue when employees don’t hate the task.