Accounting, Payroll & Pension Issues/Timesheets and Pay

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QUESTION: My employer has a policy that timesheets be turned in by noon on Mondays.  I work Tuesday-Saturday.  The office is a 2-hour round trip drive for me.  I had been mailing my timesheets and obviously they are not arriving on time as I received a written warning.  

I was told that I would receive a write up for any more late timesheets as well as they would withhold my pay until the following pay period for any received late.  I have asked them if I could fax in sheets and mail the originals, they have said they cannot do this.  The company considers the week ending on Sunday.  I have asked if my week could end on Thursday to ensure my timesheets arrive on time without me having to drive them there each week and spend the extra time/gas to get them there. Again, they said this is unacceptable.

While I realize my timesheets are my responsibility, would the company have any responsibility to work with me under the circumstances?  Can they legally require me to spend an additional two hours each week as well as the gas to deliver timesheets to them?

Thank you in advance for your help.

ANSWER: According to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Department of Labor you have to be paid whether or not the company has your timesheet.

I might make a suggestion which would perhaps help both sides. Is there a way you can complete your timesheet, put it in a sealed envelope and leave it in an inbox or a mailbox for payroll so they have it on time and you do not have to drive for two hours.  I think if the Department of Labor were involved they would say since you are required to drive them to the office to get them there on time the company has to pay your mileage.

I do not see why a fax or an email sheet would not work, followed by the original sheet on Tuesday when you return.

The company has the responsibility to pay you whether or not you turn in a timesheet, they cannot withhold your pay because they do not have a timesheet. If they will not work on a paydate change so the time sheets can be on time or allow you to fax them they are not being reasonable. I think the Department of Labor would agree with this.

I do not know which state you are in so I do not have contact information but my suggestion would be to call the Department of Labor and see if they will talk to your employer and work out a solution with them.

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20110686.htm
The department of labor now has an app for your smart phone to keep track of your hours that can be emailed.
http://apps.usa.gov/dol-timesheet.shtml

The Department of Labor has taken the stance that the employer is responsible for knowing when the employees are working and they are responsible for paying those employees even if there is no timesheet.

Shirley







---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Shirley.

I live in Illinois.  I do not visit the office as my clients are near me.   I am scheduled a 40 hour week with my clients so the office knows the hours I work.  I am also paid mileage between clients (which of course is always the same too).  I've often noticed on my checks that I am reimbursed half of the mileage one pay period and then the next pay period I receive the other half along with the full amount for that pay period (which I find odd as well).

The excuse the office has given regarding them having to have the timesheets on time is that, although I am not considered a state employee, that they are paid through the State of Illinois for services and the state requires them to have the timesheets in hand in case of an audit. They use this same excuse siting that they must have the original documents and therefore faxed/emailed copies cannot be used. Personally, I don't believe this as I am sure the State of Illinois has its own guidelines as to when they pay their vendors and I doubt it is weekly.  I am fairly certain that in an audit situation, they wouldn't be auditing a current pay period as it would be reasonable to believe that work in progress would not always be current and would not reflect whether or not paperwork and files were complete.

Answer
You are correct and they are definately useing excuses. Contact your local department of labor and have them send you an email or a letter allowing you to use the faxed timesheet. Than you can give the letter to the company from the Department of Labor in Illinois and they will have to honor it as it negates their excuse.

Shirley

Accounting, Payroll & Pension Issues

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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR

Expertise

I can answer payroll questions, payroll tax questions, 401K questions. No stock option questions please and I have some knowledge of other pensions but am most familiar with the 401K pension. I can answer U.S.and Canada payroll questions proficiently and have a good general knowledge of UK and South Africa and some knowledge of Australia and New Zealand Payroll procedures. Please do not ask me homework questions I do not have time to answer them.

Experience

25 years with an international company in the Human Resources, Payroll and Payroll Tax areas.

Organizations
SHRM, APA, I.O.M.A.

Publications
I.O.M.A. and BNA

Education/Credentials
P.H.R., C.P.P., Canadian Payroll Administrator, Successfully passed APA class on UK Payroll Administration. Boise State University Human Resource Certification

Awards and Honors
APA Hotline Citation of Merit for last 8 years.

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