TIP: Review time records regularly to ensure they are accurate statements of employee hours worked.

Common sense tells us that employees—particularly employees who are not held to a strict shift schedule due to 24-hour operations with pass-offs from one shift to the next—will not work exactly the same hours every day. Thus, employees who record repeating 8-hour workdays are probably not recording their time accurately. Yet, it is not uncommon to review time records, particularly manually-kept time records, that show employees recording precisely 8 hours each day that they work or precisely the same start and end times (such as 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a lunch break from noon to 1:00 p.m.) every single day.

It is the employer's burden to ensure its employees record accurately the time that they work. Time records that defy common sense with entries showing precisely 8 hours of work each day call into serious question whether the records are accurate. When time records are inaccurate, employees' statements of their working hours are presumed to be true, even if they are exaggerated.

To avoid this issue, and the potentially large exposure that may follow if many employees are able to challenge the accuracy of their time records, the tip of the week is to review time records regularly to ensure they are accurate statements, rather than guestimates, of hours worked by your employees. If they are not, notify employees immediately that they must record their time accurately with the precise start and end time and meal break time to the minute. Alternatively, you may want to consider the use of time clocks or an electronic timekeeping system.