Q: Can you require exempt employees to clock in?

June 1, 2014

Q: What are the rules with respect to salaried, exempt employees clocking in and out using a time clock system?

A: Whether you require exempt employees to use a time clock is a matter of preference. There is no requirement to track the hours of exempt employees. However, the US Department of Labor (DOL) has made it very clear that tracking an exempt employee’s hours in no way jeopardizes the exemption, as long as the organization follows the salaried basis of pay guidelines (i.e. only deducts from exempt employees under the circumstances defined by the DOL).

There are many reasons why an employer may opt to track the hours of an exempt employee. Some reasons for doing so may be to track internal job costs, bill clients, management of performance/efficiency, track attendance/tardiness, for a company’s paid time off program or to account for the number of employees located onsite in an emergency situation, etc. We simply recommend setting a policy in this regard based on the organization’s preferences/needs, and remaining consistent with this process for all exempt employees.