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Time tracking software enables digital wage theft

Missouri employees are entitled to compensation for work they complete. Employers may violate this through a form of workplace larceny known as wage theft. Although traditionally prevalent in the service industry, the popularity of time-tracking software makes digital wage theft possible in any industry or company.

Quartz at Work reports that wage theft occurs when an employee does not receive payment for work performed. This may happen when a manager or supervisor instructs subordinates to work off the clock. It can also take place if an employer does not pay overtime. Outdated legal regulations do not address many of today’s technology-related employment issues. As a result, workers must prove they worked without breaks or that the timekeeping method used by the employer results in underpayment. For employees paid an hourly wage, they may miss out on hundreds or thousands of dollars they legally earn every year.

According to Ladders, Inc, digital-time tracking software is more efficient than punch clocks, but it also contributes to uncompensated labor. There are three common patterns of how tracking systems unfairly deduct time from hours worked:

  • Rounding occurs when the timekeeping software alters employee punch times in preset increments.
  • Time shaving happens when a supervisor alters time records, reducing recorded work hours.
  • Automatic break deductions, typically in 30-minute increments, regardless of the employee takes a break.

This type of wage theft benefits employers as it helps keep payroll low and the default settings in time tracking software often work in the employer’s favor. Without access to electronic time records, employees may not realize the error exists. 

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