Is it legal for an employer to modify an employees time card?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for an employer to modify an employees time card?

I have been keeping a detailed record of my time card and accrued sick time. My checks never match my time card and my sick time remains a mystery that seems to be illusive when I ask about it.
Recently, I was informed that regardless of what time we clock in be it 853,857, whatever, our time is changed to 900 when payroll is done. This is the same case with lunch. We are supposed to take an hour lunch, but sometimes people have to go back early or may clock back in a couple minutes early usu within 5-10 min yet its modified to 1hr every day.
Now, I have even more room for concern. I work in housekeeping, and part of that job requires for us to prepare a cart to do our job. Unfortunately, due to the plethora of other issues with my boss, she is currently lashing out and acting as if she was a child and making us sit in the break room once we clock on. We then have to wait for her to get our room boards ready, at which time she calls us two at a time to go get our carts from upstairs, bring them down, fill them, and go upstairs. At which point, the rest of the crew is forced to sit and wait in the break room. This process takes upwards of an hour at times. I learned today, from her assistant, that the times we go to get our carts is being recorded, and our clock-in times will be adjusted accordingly. So, we have to be dressed, on the clock, and in the break room by 9, but if we don’t get called until 920, or 955, we will not be paid for any time prior to when we got our cart.
As far as sick time, we were all told that we get 1hr per 30hrs worked. I have currently used 11.5 hrs. I have done the math based off my paychecks, and I should have a lot more hours. Another coworker recently was paid for 24hrs of sick time, and I work a LOT more than her shes a close friend, I am aware of her hours. When I asked to use some of my remaining sick time for the half a day I got sent home for being sick and some or all of the following day I was told that she would see if I even had anymore. I reminded her that she had just informed the abovementioned friend that she had like 24hrs, and I know I work more than her. I never saw any sick pay and during a wonderful morning meeting with us all, she pointed out that other peoples hours and sick time is nobody’s business but our own and don’t tell her how to do her job. I still cant get an answer about my sick time and it has been a month.
None of this doesn’t seem legal. I could probably ask questions about the legality of things there regarding to so many other aspects, but currently I am most concerned with the things that affect my money.

Asked on January 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Time should be accurately recorded and paid. That said, rounding up to, say, 5 minutes would not be an issue as long as it is "fair"--i.e. could be in favor of the employee sometimes (say the employee comes in at 9:02--round their time time down to 9:00) and employer other times (e.g. rounding 8:58 up to 9:00). If the rounding is always in favor of the employer, that would be illegal, but if it can be in favor of either side, a small amount of rounding, such as to only record time in 5-minute increments (e.g. 8:55, 9:00, 9:05, etc.) is permitted.
2) All time you are at work is work time and must be paid--apart from specifically unpaid breaks, like a lunch break--even if you are not actually doing work at the moment. For example, the time you describe that you have to wait in the break room for your cart is work time and you must be paid for it.
Based on what you write, it appears you are being shorted time. You should contact the department of labor about filing a wage and hour complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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