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Is it fraud for my supervisor to ask me to sign my time sheet a day ahead so she could send it in on the day they are supposed to be submitted to the pay office?

  • 19
    What makes you think this is fraud? This is how it works everywhere. – Jack Jun 29 '15 at 5:00
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    Is the issue the signing date? For example, if the time sheet is due on the 30th, and today is the 29th, then I would just write "29 June 2015 <Signature>". – Brandin Jun 29 '15 at 7:11
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    I've never run across this before in all my years of doing timesheets. Sounds very sketchy. – Brian Knoblauch Jun 29 '15 at 13:33
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    @Jack To be fair, being how something works everywhere doesn't mean it's not fraud. I don't think it's necessarily fraud but it could be a part of a fraudulent process depending on how their timekeeping system works. IMHO, OP's company's pay system is whack. They have conflicting requirements and should shift the pay schedule to allow time sheets to be completed after work is completed. – Engineer Toast Jun 29 '15 at 17:37
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    This can be commonly done before a period where a majority of people are going to be taking time off. For example, in the US, almost everyone gets July 3rd (Friday) off this year. It is not uncommon for employees to be asked to submit their time sheets on Thursday. Or, for example, if you are going to take all of "next" week off, our HR department wants you to submit your time sheet ahead of time. – Trevor Jun 29 '15 at 19:46
57

Short answer: If they are the hours that you intend to work and do work, it is absolutely not fraud.

It's very common for this to happen. I've done it at least a dozen times in my career. Sometimes you'll be working off site, or for some reason unable to get a timesheet signed on the day they're normally submitted.

If for some reason your actual hours vary from the timesheet hours you submitted, you can just notify them of a correction and if necessary any adjustments to pay.

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    My personal anecdote which supports this answer: where I work I am required to submit time the day before the end of the pay period. If there are any variances on the final day (e.g. I call in sick), we amend it the following week. – user16626 Jun 29 '15 at 4:40
  • @Snowman I too have worked under that reporting paradigm. – Jane S Jun 29 '15 at 4:42
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    +1 - another anecodote: I deal with software that manages literally thousands of timesheets for dozens of companies, and I can tell you that signing off a timesheet before the end of the pay period is very normal, and any adjustments are made in the following pay period. – Mark Henderson Jun 30 '15 at 5:47
51

It's common enough that even Scott Adams has covered it...

Dilbert Timesheets

I've always felt a bit sketchy about doing it myself, but usually there are ways of correcting projected mistakes later (say undercharging the same day the following week, or an actual correction to the timesheet etc).

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    That comic is me every week. – Thebluefish Jun 29 '15 at 15:50
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    Ha! Yes, in IT I've found time sheets really have nothing to do with time worked and everything to do with making magic numbers match the magic estimates and arbitrary time lines. – DA. Jun 30 '15 at 7:12
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If the supervisor gets a bonus for collecting and delivering all time sheets quickly at the end of the day, and gets his bonus by delivering time sheets that were filled out before you actually did the work, lying about this to his boss, yes.

If you are forced to work an hour longer and the supervisor denies payment because that hour is not on your time sheet, yes.

If you don't arrive at work because of an accident, and the supervisor still charges a customer for the eight hours on your time sheet, yes.

As long as all the data on the time sheet is considered as preliminary and is adjusted to reality when necessary, it's fine.

5

The company has to have in place procedures for how to address changes between the time you sign, and the end of the pay period. If they are following the procedures it is not fraud.

If they are billing customers for your time the customers will insist that either time cards can only be submitted after the end of the pay period, or that there are documented procedures for addressing these changes. They will want to be able to see not only the final time card, but the list of changes and the reason for those changes.

Besides being able to bill correctly, which does allow them to keep customers, the employee also wants to have these adjustment procedures to protect their vacation. For example if you think you will be on leave the last day, but you are called in for an emergency and have to put in 12 hours of work: you want to be paid for that time not charged 8 hours of leave.

There should be time card procedures documented, and you should receive training on those procedures. Many companies require annual retraining to reenforce those procedures.

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