Time Cards for salaried exempt people?

Do employees that are salaried exempt ee's have to fill out a time card showing their actual hours worked?

Right now only our hourly ppl. are filling out time cards. But I wonder if we have to have the salaried folks do it too, as part of our recordkeeping obligations.

We are in PA.



  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I have only heard this once and it was at the last HR conference I went to. I asked the lawyer who I was eating lunch with your same question and he told me that you should have exempt employees keep track of their time also. He gave the example of if your company were to have an wage and hour lawsuit where employees were classified incorrectly and you had to pay back wages for overtime, if you have time cards you would know how much OT to pay but if you didn't have timecards, then the employees would be allowed to guess how much OT they worked. Plus, wouldn't you want on record for each pay period if they took vacation time, sick time, etc?

    I think the important thing to remember is that if a salaried exempt employee turns a time card in and it says he work 74 hours (not the full 80 hours) then you can not dock their salary. You can dock their vacation leave but not their salary.

    Hope this helps.
  • Actually, I keep track of people's vacation and personal time, but I was told that exempt ppl didn't need time cards. Being an HR person I knew I had to check into it though, for your exact reasons!
  • I have a system for tracking exempt vacation, PTO, sick leave, etc. but under no circumstances do any of our exempt people keep track of their hours.
  • Parabeagle,

    Just curious... what system do you use to keep track of it all?
    I am in the process of researching an inexpensive, but good HR software that can keep track of vacation, PTO, exempt attendance, etc...

    At the moment, each exempt employee hands in a spreadsheet of their attendance very 2 weeks and we keep track of it that way.

  • I think the lawyer mentioned above was a little too cautious. We have a timecard of sorts we give our exempt employees. It only has spaces for different types of leave though; there is no place to write hours worked. All leave is taken in full day increments, so if a person took off a day for vacation for instance, they would simply write 1 in the space next to the title "Vacation".

    Remember two things: 1) If you have good loyal and happy employees, they are not going to exaggerate the time they have worked. 2) An honest employee is just as likely to forget some time worked as they are to remember it. In that case, a record of hours worked might put you in a worse position than if there had never been one.

    If it makes you feel better, you might consider having the employees keeping track of such time but not submitting it to payroll. I would think making sure you have your employees properly classified would be easier in the long run though.

    Good luck!
  • jyenny, do a search (to the left of this screen) for "time cards." The second link -- for "Time sheets" -- is probably the stream of discussion that Pork is referring to. Let me know if you have any trouble finding it. tk

    Tony Kessler, director of editorial
    M. Lee Smith Publishers LLC
    (615) 661-0249 ext. 8068
  • There is a split in the federal circuits as to whether or not time keeping by exempts destroys the exemption. I think most folks (including the DOL) agree the better rule is that it does not. Someone mentioned they thought it was a good idea - and I agree - because if you face a question of whether the exempt status was legitimate, and lose, you can bet your bottom dollar the ee has kept track of his/her time, and their record controls in the absence of emp/er records. I insist some form of time records be kept, but I would never require time clock punch. I prefer to have ee fill out form for their supervisor to initial each payroll period indicating gross hours (on a daily basis) and use of PTO. As for deductions from PTO, I think in order to meet the exception to the general rule that an exempt must be paid a full weeks sal for any week in which work is performed, the regs require a full days absence when the employee is absent for personal reasons 541.118(a)(2).
  • I,too, think that the attorney who gave the advice at lunch must have just eaten something which created a bit too much gas. Generally, time cards for exempt personnel are not a good idea, however, there is one common exception. Those companies which must keep track of hours to bill a project must keep time cards - but they are not for employee pay purposes, but to calculate billing.
  • I can't think of any good reason to have exempt individuals complete time cards/punch a clock, etc. unless this is the way you track PTO hours. We use Request for Leave forms to either approve/disappove leave and what kind of leave it is. If you track the number of hours a week they work, it is a moot point anyway as they are not paid by the hour - it looks like an attempt to see how many hours they are putting in a week (and for what purpose?).
  • DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TIME CARDS FOR EXEMPTS. THEY ARE PAID BASED ON BEING ALIVE AND MARKING 25 HOURS A DAY AND 8 DAYS A WEEK! IT DOES NOT MATTER (RIGHT NOW) IF THEY WORK ONE DAY OR 8 DAYS THIS WEEK THEY STILL GET THE SAME AMOUNT THIS WEEK. Now on the other hand we do have 11 managers that clock in, but it is for accountability of their presence when other business things happen like alarms and security checks; it is not so that a payroll clerk can compute their salary. The computer does that unless we tell it that JONEs died today on Wed, therefore, his widow gets his pay check which is three days pro-rated. Now we are not that cold hearted and we would probably give the family the entire week but we have to shut it down or next week it will spit out another check! PORK
  • I respectfully disagree with one of the comments made earlier.

    As a matter of law, no, you do not have to keep time records on exempt employees. The work ethic of your ee's will dictate if keeping a record is necessary.

    If you do find it necessary to simply prove of exempt employees are showing up on time, etc. then by all means do it. However, be very, very careful about docking vacation time if they are a few hours short one week, and work a ton of hours over 40 the next. It makes for very bad morale.

    The law says you don't have to pay exempt ees overtime, but you have to be careful in establishing a practice that may look like they are being paid as a non-exempt employee; mainly because the law doesn't state that supervisor's MUST be on salary.
  • Sorry to be so late to the party, but here's our policy:

    We keep track of exempt ee's hours worked. NOT for payroll purposes, but because we can track hours worked for FMLA eligibility and 401(k) participation. They understand that the hours are tracked for this purpose and do not come into play when calculating payroll.

    As a side benefit, it is also helpful when discussing with the employee their time habits (i.e. consistently late/leaving early, etc.).

  • I would caution employers to check their state requirements. In WI, we are REQUIRED to keep time records on ALL employees, including exempt.
  • I don't think I would even track for FMLA eligibility or 401(k) participation. In my offices, only full-time employee are exempt and they have a 40 hour schedule. If they are employed 1 calendar, we don't worry about hours. even if an employee was shaving a few here or there, they would still qualify. Now, if your exempts only wotk 20 hours, then I can see worrying about tracking the exact hours. If an employee is out on FMLA, that is another story to track hours used.
  • From Florida:
    We have everyone punch in and out with a hand-scan machine whether exempt or non-exempt. It's called ETime and they partner with ADP.

    This electronic method produces a timesheet (either electronic or paper or both if you wish) for each employee and records time on the premises, and absences as well. This allows us to track benefit time more accurately.

    It does not interfere with the exempt status of a person to keep a record of time. In fact, it is the obligation of the employer to keep records concerning time, not the employee's.

    The point is, you may not use these records adversely to treat the exempt person like an hourly wage earner.

    For our needs, we print the biweekly records each pay period and therefore can use them for research should an employee differ with our calculation of benefits hours available (or used).
Sign In or Register to comment.