How to get clarity on hours paid. I recently started a job where we clock in at the beginning of our shift, and out at the end. The pay is directly linked to the clocking and out. It's down to the minute, so clocking in 3 minutes late means those 3 minutes won't be paid for. There's a few questions I would like answered but not sure how to phrase them without sounding like I'm trying to pull a fast one.

  1. If I arrived a few minutes before my scheduled start time, can I clock in? How would it affect my pay?
  2. If I clock out a few minutes after my scheduled end time, how would this affect my pay?
  3. Given that pay is calculated to the minute, if I work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours in a week, would I get paid over time for the extra minutes (even if they weren't preapproved, assuming they add up to less than e.g. 30 minutes)?
  4. If I clock out at the end of my shift but get asked to stay later, should I just clock back in?

I tried asking the general manager these questions before in an email. He didn't really reply to all of them. He just confirmed pay is calculated directly based on clocking in and out time. My past jobs pay was calculated based on scheduled and the clocking in and out was more to make sure people were reasonably close to it.

Lastly, a coworker shows up 30 minutes early and clocks in. (Same one from other question.) He doesn't do anything until the official start of his shift. Should I point this out to anyone? I am very bad at judging these sorts of things. I want to mind my own business, but in general I'm not ok with theft. He also frequently just leaves work to do personal errands. It has happened at least once before where the boss used the logic "You two were here all this time? I'm surprised not more was done".

  • 1
    What was the answer to the question: "you two were hear all this time?" Apr 9, 2021 at 7:51
  • 2
    Also, I think you're asking several questions here. Honestly, the stuff about clocking in and out times seems like a red herring. Just clock in a few minutes before you are due to start, and clock out as you finish. Apr 9, 2021 at 7:56
  • @GregoryCurrie the exact wording was more "I'm surprised not more was done considering there were two people working" to which I didn't have a great reply. I said I would try harder and asked if there were any tasks in particular that didn't get done. Apr 9, 2021 at 8:16
  • @casablancaeggplant Well, that was a bit of an opening for you to address their surprise. But it's difficult to do on the spot. Much better to do after the fact when the coworker isn't present. What you said at the time was very suitable. Apr 9, 2021 at 8:20
  • This question is currently 4 unrelated questions; the titular question (#4) is a duplicate and the other 3 are really a company specific question - some places are lax about overtime and clocking in and others will fire you for clocking in any earlier than allowing a sprint to your work station. .
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 9, 2021 at 14:51

4 Answers 4


Should I do anything about coworker who clocks in early and does nothing?

No, you should not do anything. This is not your problem it is theirs and your manager's. If they want to risk getting fired by attempting to game the system, that is solely on them. If the fact that he is leaving to do errands or whatever is affecting your ability to do your work then yes you should let your boss know that your coworker was unable to provide whatever material you needed to do your work. You don't need to mention that he is leaving on the clock, just something simple like:

I have been unable to complete task X because John Doe has not yet provided me with Y

Let the boss confront your coworker and ask him why he has not been able to provide you with what you need.

As for the clock situation, nobody here can give you detailed information about how clocking out early or late will affect your pay as different companies use different time tracking systems and depending on how they are configured could behave very differently. For example, I worked at a company where if you clocked in or out up to 10 minutes before or after your scheduled time, it would count as if you had clocked in at the scheduled time and you would be paid accordingly. Your company may be similar, or it may be totally different.

  • This is a good answer, one thing is it's usually HR doing the payroll and working directly off the clock info, it's their responsibility to pick these sorts of issues up.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 10, 2021 at 1:12

Your work contract should tell you everything you asked here. My guess: Since they made it clear, that every minute counts, my guess is every minute that you work more than the alloted 40 hours will count as overtime. Again, I am guessing that this OT will allow you to take time off at some other point, but they will not pay it out to you.

Concerning your coworker, you are not his manager. If he is negatively impacting with the way he does things, go ahead, tell your manager exactly that. But if that is not the case, don't get involved, unless you want to become the company snitch.

  • 2
    in the US, a company cannot chose to turn non-exempt employee overtime into comp time.
    – Tiger Guy
    Apr 9, 2021 at 10:14

To answer questions 1 and 2, let's take an extremely ridiculous example: Presumably the clock timer is not immediately right next to your desk/work area. So you clock in, then it takes a couple minutes for you to walk from the clock back to your desk to begin working. Do you feel that this constitutes stealing from the company, that you might be being paid for an extra 5 minutes per day that this exercise takes? After all, 5 minutes per day works out to an entire extra hour per 2-week pay period!

This is, of course, ridiculous. You don't clock in the instant you start working, you clock in when you arrive at the office, assuming you intend to spend the majority of your time thereafter doing something reasonably close to resembling work (e.g. walking to your desk, chatting with your coworker while working, using the washroom, etc, are all things you would not reasonably be expected to clock out for). So basically, don't sweat it.

To answer question 3, look at your contract. Your contract should tell you what you need to know.

To answer question 4, you should always clock in if you are doing work. For the same reason you are afraid of clocking in early and being caught being paid for not doing work, you should also hold the company accountable that they should pay you for the work you do. So absolutely you should clock back in if you are asked to do more work after having clocked out.

To answer the last question, if this is obvious to you it's probably obvious to someone else. Don't be a shit disturber, eventually he'll say the wrong thing to the wrong person and it will all work itself out.


I think it's reasonably safe to assume that the company would be aware that the person is starting their shift early, given that the times are logged, and presumably their weekly budget for salary would be exceeded.

You main concern should be around the lack of application once they are clocked in, whatever time that occurs, especially if this reflects on you.

But I would wait for a clear pattern of behaviour before even thinking about speaking to my boss. And I'd want to make sure that my expectations around behaviour were correct.

And, also, I'd make sure my first point of call is your direct manager. I would not take such a thing to the general manager.

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