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Employment Law/time clock vs sign in/out sheet


we work in a place where they have both a hand time clock plus a sheet of paper to sign in and out on. We were recently told that if we don't sign the sheet that we won't get paid even though we used the time clock. Is that true can the company with hold a days pay because we didn't sign the paper but used the time clock.


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to keep accurate payroll records for all non-exempt employees.  Non-exempt employee are those who are legally required to be paid overtime wages for all hours worked over 40 per week. Please see the following link to information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor:  

Employers may use whatever timekeeping method they choose and may discipline employees (up to and including termination) if they do not follow the timekeeping policy.  However, under the FLSA, employees must be paid for all time worked.  Therefore, an employer is not allowed to withhold an employee's pay for violation of the timekeeping policy.  
Please see the following link to information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor:

Specifically with regard to employers making deductions for disciplinary violations, an employer may only dock an exempt employee's pay for penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance. Safety rules of major significance would not include a failure to properly clock in or out pursuant to the employer's policy.

I would also note that since you are in Kentucky, you should be aware that the Kentucky labor laws may be more favorable than the Federal laws.  In particular, KY laws on overtime pay allow an employee to go back an recover unpaid wages for 5 years versus a maximum of 3 years under federal law.  You can contact the Kentucky Labor Cabinet at(502) 564-3534.

I hope that you find this information helpful.  

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Michael Lore


I will take questions regarding employment law, with a focus on wage and hour issues involving overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state laws (eg. California).


I am an attorney with 15+ years experience in the area of labor and employment law, with a practice that concentrates heavily in the area of wage and hour litigation - involving unpaid overtime wages, commissions, work related expenses and vacation pay.

American Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Employment Lawyers Association

BBA in Finance, J.D.

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