FLSA Timekeeping Requirements

When you run a small business, you need to track employee hours. You have a choice between different methods for employee timekeeping. Regardless of how you track employee hours, there are FLSA timekeeping requirements you should know about.  

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FLSA timekeeping requirements

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires you to abide by time card laws. Keep accurate records of the hours your employees work. You must follow the FLSA timekeeping requirements for keeping track of your nonexempt employees.

Nonexempt employees

Nonexempt employees are those who do not qualify as exempt employees under the FLSA. Pay nonexempt employees at least the minimum wage to comply with FLSA laws.

Don’t forget about overtime laws. Overtime includes any time worked over 40 hours per week. If a nonexempt employee works overtime, pay them at least time and a half per extra hour worked.

FLSA rounding rules

In some cases, you might round down your employee hours. Though this is legal, there are some FLSA rounding rules you should be aware of.

According to the FLSA, you can round employee time to a quarter hour of work. You can round down employee time from 1-7 minutes, but you must round up employee time from 8-14 minutes and count it as a quarter hour of work.

Do not round down employee hours to avoid paying overtime wages. For example, if an employee stays 14 minutes after work each day, you must pay them overtime wages.

Do employees have to sign timesheets?

When recording hours worked, it’s a good idea for employees to sign their timesheets. However, employees are not required by law to sign timesheets.

Asking employees to sign their timesheets can improve accuracy and help you in case of a wage and hour lawsuit.

What timekeeping methods are there?

You have some options when it comes to timekeeping and attendance management. You can use a time clock, employ a timekeeper, or have your employees enter their hours in a recordkeeping system.

Time clock

A time clock, or punch clock, is a mechanical timekeeping method. Your employees have a slip of paper they insert into the time clock. The time clock then punches or stamps the time on the paper. A digital time clock enters the hours on the computer and requires additional software. Employees are required to clock in when they enter work, go to lunch, return from lunch, and leave work.


Timekeepers are responsible for checking over an employee’s timecard. A timekeeper is an employee who authorizes timecards. They might also be in charge of putting together employee paychecks.

Timekeeping software

Another common timekeeping method is using a software system that tracks the hours your employees work. Employees clock in and out online with timekeeping software. Many times, this type of software will integrate with payroll or HR software.

What records do you need to keep?

According to the FLSA, you are required to maintain the following records for nonexempt employees:

  • Employee’s name and Social Security number
  • Full address
  • Birth date
  • Sex and occupation
  • Time and day of week when workweek begins
  • Hours worked each day
  • Total hours worked each week
  • How the employee is paid (e.g., per hour, per week, salary)
  • Hourly pay rate
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
  • Overtime earnings each week
  • Payroll deductions or additions from wages
  • Total wages paid each pay period
  • Date of payment and pay period covered by payment

How long do you keep records for?

You need to know how long to keep time cards for your nonexempt employees. Time cards should be kept two years. Other employee-related records include payroll records, which should be kept for at least three years.

Why abiding by FLSA timekeeping requirements is important

If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a wage and hour lawsuit on your hands. Follow FLSA timekeeping requirements to avoid violating wage and hour laws.

Some reasons for wage and hour lawsuits include not classifying employees correctly, failing to pay overtime wages, and failing to pay minimum wage.

Pair Patriot’s Time & Attendance software for small business with our payroll software. That way, you don’t need to use a time clock, and your employees’ timecard histories are recorded. And, our Time & Attendance integrates with your payroll software. Try both for free today!

This article has been updated from its original publication date of January 18, 2017.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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