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Recording Time and Rounding of Hours Worked

The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (WHA) does not require that an employer have a time clock or use time cards, and the WHA does not state who may or may not punch an employee's time card. In fact, the WHA does not require that time cards be signed by either the employer or employee. The WHA does require that an employer keep an accurate record of how many hours a day and how many hours each workweek its employees work. The record keeping requirements pursuant to the WHA are found in N.C.G.S. 95-25.15(b) and Administrative Rules Sections .0801 "Records to Be Maintained" and .0802 "Record Retention". The WHA and its Administrative Rules may be viewed on-line.

The North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) has also adopted the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 785 for Hours Worked. Please refer to Subpart D "Recording Working Time" found in 785.46 thru 785.48 for the federal record keeping requirements. You may also want to review CFR 516 "Records To Be Kept By Employers". The federal Web sites are listed below:

Web site to go directly to CFR 785 for Hours Worked:

Web site to go directly to CFR 516 for Records To Be Kept By Employers:

The WHA also allows the rounding of time worked as long as the rounding is consistent "up and down". One method of rounding is the 7/8 minute rounding rule: 7 minutes round down and 8 minutes round up. Examples:

1) An employee's day starts at 8:00 am. The employee clocks-in one day at 8:05 am. Under the 7/8 minute rules, the employer must round the start-time "down" to 8:00 am for this employee. But if the same employee clocks-in another day at 8:09 am, then the employer can round the start-time "up" to be 8:15 am.

2) An employee's time to get off work is normally 5:30 pm. The employee clocks-out one day at 5:36 pm, the employer can round "down" so that this employee's stop-time is rounded to 5:30 pm. But if this same employee clocks-out at 5:39 pm, then the employer must round "up" so that the employee's stop-time is actually recorded as 5:45 pm; again using the 7/8 minute rounding rule.

As long as an employer is consistent both "up and down" in the rounding of time, then the fair and accurate recording of time should work out in the long run. But please keep in mind that an employer may still discipline employees who do not report for work on time or who work after their shift or day has ended without permission. Also, while an employer must pay its non-exempt employees time and one-half overtime pay based on an employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek, the employer can discipline an employee, including termination, for working the overtime hours without permission. But the employer still must pay a non-exempt employee the proper time and one-half overtime pay for the overtime hours regardless if the employee had approval or not.

If you have questions as to what hours have to be recorded as work time, on the rounding of time, or what kind of recording keeping has to be used; or you have questions involving the minimum wage and/or overtime pay, here's what you need to do:

1) If the private employer's gross sales or receipts for a year are equal to or more than $500,000.00, if it is a part of a chain operation with 3 or more units or there are 30 or more employees, if the employer is a hospital, school, nursing home, group home for the mentally or physically disabled, or day care center, or the employer is a domestic, agricultural or governmental employer; then you need to contact the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division office in either Charlotte (704-749-3360) or Raleigh (919-790-2741). Web site:

2) If the private employer's gross sales or receipts for a year are less than $500,000.00 or you do not know, or the employer is a private non-profit organization; then you need to call us at 919-807-2796 (Raleigh) or toll-free (NC only) 1-800-NC-LABOR (1-800-625-2267). Our Call-Center is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Friday.

The NCDOL can assist if the issue concerns wage payment, which has to do with promised wages such as hourly pay at more than the minimum wage, a promised salary, or shift differential pay; or promised wage benefits such as vacation pay, sick leave, severance pay, jury duty pay, and holiday pay. Only governmental employers are exempt from the wage payment provisions.

North Carolina Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Bureau
1101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1101
(919) 807-2796 or (toll-free NC only) 1-800-NC-LABOR
Web site:


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