Is there some way that my employer is somehow benefiting from the time card punch clock being 2 minutes behind everybody's desktop and phone clocks?

closed as unclear what you're asking by CMW, jcmeloni, bethlakshmi, jmac Apr 9 '14 at 22:31

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    Seems more likely that the clock is simply set wrong. Have you tried asking them to correct it? – aroth Apr 8 '14 at 23:52
  • I think there's a real question there, though. Does the employer benefit, does the employee benefit, or is it neutral? Are there behaviour patterns that the employee can use to gain a benefit? – Móż Apr 9 '14 at 1:11
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    Hey kehrk, and welcome to The Workplace! Could you clarify your question a little bit please? Why do you think this may be bad? Is your management aware? If you haven't told them, why not? What consequences (if any) does this have on employee pay or time at work? If you explain what the problem is a little better with an edit, you will get much better answers from our community. Thanks in advance! – jmac Apr 9 '14 at 3:59
  • @Mσᶎ - Seems like, as described, it would be neutral. The employer would benefit if the clock were ahead in the morning and then behind in the afternoon. Or behind by a larger amount in the afternoon. But if the offset is constant, it makes no difference. – aroth Apr 9 '14 at 9:25
  • Is anything that you know off being measured in minutes? If not, the question is irrelevant. – Jan Doggen Apr 9 '14 at 15:23

I will assume you use the same clock when you sign in and when you sign out. So whatever you lost when you signed in will be gained when you sign out or vice versa.

The only warning sign would be, if the clock is showing another wrong time when you leave. If it's always late by the same amount, that's ok. After all, it should measure how much time you spent, not the exact minute you got in.


It is extremely likely that this is just a mistake or oversight by your employer. I can't imagine 2 minutes of your time being worth a terrible amount to either you or your employer, especially since it's only for once a day. You could simply bring it up to your manager, and he or she will likely fix it. Worst case, nothing is changed, and you can feel free to show up to work 2 minutes later than you normally do.

  • "you can feel free to show up to work 2 minutes later than you normally do." - but, as nvoigt points out, then also feel free to leave 2 minutes later. – CompuChip Aug 27 '18 at 12:37

Probably just an oversight, but it depends on how your worktime is calculated. If its between punch in time to punch out time, then it doesn't matter. However I have worked at a place where you were supposed to start at 06:00 and the official workday started then. Punching in at 05:58 meant you worked two minutes for free.

In this situation, the company could, in theory at least, stand to gain from an incorrect time. 2/60 * avg hour pay * employees at company * workhours a day * workdays per year, this could amount to a significant number.


Is there some way that my employer is somehow benefiting from the time card punch clock being 2 minutes behind everybody's desktop and phone clocks?

There are two ways that it could benefit an employer. For the purposes of this post, "reality" is defined as the time that it actually is, if you look on a time-synchronized smartphone or on a computer whose time is synchronized regularly with an outside server.

  1. If the timeclock is not consistently two minutes behind, it is shady on the side of the employer. (for obvious reasons)
  2. If the timeclock matches reality and the computers are two minutes ahead, then the employer could benefit, and it is more likely that this is unbeknownst to the employer. This is because, when you arrive, it will be based on the "reality" timeframe, meaning you'll arrive in the "work computer" timeframe two minutes ahead. If you leave work in the "work computer" timeframe, you'll actually be leaving two minutes early.

If the timeclock is the one that is off, and the work computers reflect "reality" time, then there isn't really anything to worry about. (barring picky managers wondering why you're "leaving early")

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