It is common for employers to have a practice of rounding a worker’s hours for a shift. However, the U.S. Department of Labor maintains clear guidelines regarding how this must be done.
Code of Federal Regulations Pertaining to the Employment Standards Act:
“It has been found that in some industries, particularly where time clocks are used, there has been the practice for many years of recording the employees’ starting time and stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes, or to the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour. Presumably, this arrangement averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually work. For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.” 29 CFR 785.48(b)
Since Oregon law does not discuss hour rounding, BOLI would likely look toward the federal standards if a case was filed. Below are recommendations posted on the BOLI website.
Thus, rounding is generally allowable as long as the following criteria are met:
1. The rounding works both ways (“for” and “against” the employee),
2. The employer does not round in increments longer than 15 minutes, and
3. The rounding works out so that the employee is still fully paid for all hours actually worked.
For more information: