Strict workplace rules can lead to a number of frustrating situations for workers, with many blaming bureaucratic practices businesses use to cheat employees out of money they would otherwise be earning.
Redditor @Regular-Rent-3099 posted a viral post on the site’s r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit that delineates how they were subjected to some weaponized bureaucracy of their own that culminated in them losing an hour of pay for clocking out one minute early.
The title of their post says it all: “Clocked out 12:59 instead of 1 and got docked an hour of pay.”
The poster goes on to blast the “broken system” that prevents them from earning their full hour’s pay on the clock even if they decide to punch out a few seconds early before their official shift end time. This puzzled the Redditor as they went on to explain that their previous job’s time clock system followed a much different protocol.
“The old place I worked just added up the hours at the end of the week and paid you accordingly but my new colleague told me even if you clock out seconds early (like I did) you lose the full hours worth of pay,” they wrote.
Although they ultimately explained that the reason that they ended up clocking out seconds early was “purely accidental,” what makes matters more infuriating is they said they’ve oftentimes clocked in a few minutes ahead of their start time on other days, leaving them to believe that they would be “covered” as they were putting in more time basically free of charge.
Other Redditors who saw his post shared their own time-clock horror stories in the comments section, including one from someone who wasn’t an employee of a company, but a patient at the hospital. The woman stated that when she had her “first baby way back in 1976,” she entered the medical facility at 10 minutes before midnight, but was still charged as if she was there for the whole day.
It seems that this kind of arbitrary adherence to time codes in the medical field hasn’t changed all that much, judging by this other user’s response.
“This happened to me, but like a year ago. I was working in my garage at like 11pm and cut my hand. Go to the ER and got stitches. Got the bill, it included ‘ER VISIT 4/10’ and ‘ER VISIT 4/11’ because I was there past midnight,” the user wrote. “So lame.”
Someone else explained how using time clock round-ups could ultimately work in a person’s favor. Namely, you could technically serve five days of jail time in only 26 hours, and they explained how.
“Also works for jail. A five-day sentence can be done in 26 hours; check in just before midnight, get standard 1/3rd off for good behavior (rounded up to 2 days) spend one whole day, get kicked out at 1am,” the user said.
But someone else wanted to know if the clock-out system worked both ways, i.e. if they ended up clocking out a minute after their official end time, would they receive pay for that full hour?
“That Sucks, next time clock out at 1:01 and see if you get an extra hour,” they wrote.
It seems that for some people, this little “trick” did actually work. One Redditor said that in the state of California, if an employee clocks out even a minute after working a 5-hour shift, then they would receive their full hourly pay for that additional minute.
“I must have not been fully aware of this for months until my boss sent an Excel notating that I had done it 18 times in a period of a few months,” the user said. “The extra pay was nice, never even questioned it the whole time (obviously lol).”
As to @Regular-Rent-3099’s point about clocking in several minutes early on some days, it appears that judging by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website, employers must compensate its staff “for hours actually worked” which “include[s] additional time the employee is ‘suffered or permitted’ to work.” The agency also writes “in general, ‘hours worked’ includes all time an employee must be on duty, on the employer premises, or at any other prescribed place of work.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to @Regular-Rent-3099 via Reddit direct message.