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At my job we have an electronic sign-in clock to record when we arrive at work. I always make sure that I'm arrived at work on-time for punch in.

Sometimes if I arrive a few minutes early, I'll stop and use the restroom after punching in. However, recently I started wondering whether this was proper workplace behavior, or if I should wait to punch in until after I've used the bathroom.

Should I punch in when I first arrive at work, or should I wait until I begin working?

closed as off-topic by mcknz, Masked Man, Chris E, sh5164, gnat Jul 27 '17 at 14:12

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  • I don't think it matters. – DCON Jul 27 '17 at 13:15
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    Is your pay based on your punch-in/out record or is that just for project accounting purposes? I'm not sure it matters either way for the time of what is essentially a couple minute break, but it might matter to answer the question correctly. – bluegreen Jul 27 '17 at 13:44
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    Depends on jurisdiction and contract you have. Setup time included, then punch in right away. If not then not! – Daniel Jul 27 '17 at 14:04
  • To elaborate on what @bluegreen commented - do they use the exact timestamps to calculate pay, down to fractions of an hour or even minutes, or are they just generally confirming that you are working on time and for a full day? – PoloHoleSet Jul 27 '17 at 15:58
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Do you punch out and back in when you take a restroom break? If so, punch after you used the bathroom. Otherwise, before.

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    As a human being you get paid to take care of your body in order to perform to the best of your ability. If you were an android you might get paid to service yourself. It's a part of life. I also like the Pete answer as I think these two make up the full picture. – mutt Jul 27 '17 at 14:13
  • @mutt I tried not to judge, but I agree with your assertion. – user1220 Jul 27 '17 at 14:51
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Does it take more than 15/20 minutes to use the rest-room and grab a drink before working?

If not, don't worry about it.

  • I like user1220 answer, but I think this answer adds an important part as the duration of the "bathroom" should be just that. How long does it take to go to the bathroom...if it's legit that's one thing, if you spend an hour in the bathroom doing unrelated tasks to work or relieving yourself I would see it as an issue. Some places you might shower after work or something, but I think that is usually considered outside of work time unless it's hazmat desanitization stuff. – mutt Jul 27 '17 at 14:16
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For appearance sake, If you're early, use the bathroom first, if not, punch in first.

It makes little sense, but if you punch in when you're early, then use the bathroom, some busybody will say that you're trying to pad your hours

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Clocking in generally denotes that you're present and available to work. Still, I think some flexibility should be allowed, and obviously your boss's temperament needs to be taken into account.

A couple criteria to evaluate:

  • Are these visits to the bathroom longer than 3-5 minutes? If so, then definitely wait until you're done to clock in.
  • You said that you "sometimes" use the restroom. If what you really mean is "more often than not," then clock in afterwards.

If neither of the above is true, then clock in when you arrive.

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