The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state wage-hour laws require churches to maintain accurate timekeeping records and to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked in a workweek and to pay overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Some states also impose daily overtime requirements. To pay employees correctly, churches must have accurate time records.

Employees who are classified as nonexempt must accurately record the time they work each day, including arrival, departure and meal break times.

To avoid liability for unpaid overtime, churches must maintain accurate time records. Churches should train all employees regarding its timekeeping practices during new employee orientation and annually thereafter. Churches should train their supervisors regarding their responsibility to enforce the timekeeping policy, including addressing an employee’s failure to comply with the policy.

Churches should be aware that, if they fail to maintain accurate time records, the US Department of Labor, other administrative agencies and courts will accept the employee’s estimation of the hours worked as correct and require the church to produce evidence that the employee’s estimation is incorrect. Without accurate time records, this will be difficult for churches to do.

Timekeeping Policy

Purpose:: To ensure that [Enter Church’s Name] has a consistent and accurate system for recording all hours worked by nonexempt employees and to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state wage-hour laws.

Scope: This policy applies to all nonexempt employees.

Policy: [Enter Church’s Name] requires all nonexempt employees to use [Enter Church’s Name]‘s [Time Reporting System]. Each of [Enter Church’s Name]‘s locations set standard hours during which employees are expected to work.

Employees must accurately report all hours worked through this system, including daily start and ending times, and time spent on during any breaks or meal periods. Employees are expected to comply with these timekeeping requirements even if they are working off-site from [Enter Church’s Name]‘s premises, e.g., on a business trip for [Enter Church’s Name], at training seminars, or while working from home. See [Enter Church’s Name]‘s Policy on Telecommuting.

Nonexempt employees are prohibited from working “off the clock” for any reason. If any supervisor or manager directs any employee to do so, the employee must contact [Enter HR or other representative] immediately.

Employees who fail to record their time accurately or otherwise violate this policy will be subject to corrective action, including termination. The following circumstances are considered violations of this policy:

  • Failing to enter or submit time;
  • Entering or submitting time late;
  • Working unapproved overtime; and
  • Falsifying time records.

Before any nonexempt employee performs additional work outside of his or her regularly scheduled hours, the employee must obtain authorization from his or her supervisor approving the additional hours, including working during lunch or coming in early. If the employee fails to obtain authorization, the overtime will be paid; however, the employee will be subject to corrective action for this policy violation.

Any supervisor or manager who directs an employee not to report his or her hours accurately or who fails to pay overtime to an employee, regardless of whether the overtime was authorized, will be subject to corrective action, including termination of employment.

Concerns/Questions: Employees who have any questions or concerns regarding this policy should contact their supervisor or [Enter HR or other representative].

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

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