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by Vault Careers | March 10, 2009

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Dear HR Guy,

A manager at my company is having difficulty tracking time/attendance for one member of her group. As a result, she has decided to implement electronic time cards, which requires each employee to clock in and out each day. In addition to her group of exempt employees, she has also instructed another direct report who is an exempt level manager to also use the timecard system. Please keep in mind that the electonic time card system has not been implemented company wide. Previously, it was only used by non-exempt employees for overtime purposes. Can you please tell me if this is legal?

Sincerely,

ML

Dear ML:

It is perfectly legal to have ask exempt employees to use a time card. Where it becomes illegal is only if the tracking is then used to pay the exempt employee by the hour, a no-no that would obliterate the employee's exempt status. Many employers use such a system to keep tabs on their employees. Whether that is wise or not depends on your environment. The message is clear when you have non-hourly employees using time cards - "I don't trust you!" Is that worth your piece of mind? Only you can decide that.

For more info on exempt vs. non-exempt status, check out this great article. Or, click here to discuss this on the legal & regulatory message board with your colleagues.

HR Guy

Have a question for the HR Guy? Write him at hrguy@staff.vault.com.

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Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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