What is Quarter Hour Rounding?

A question that we hear again and again is about the rounding of the time. Time rounding is really confusing for a lot of people. That is the reason why I decided to write an article in which I will try my best to help you and explain what rounding really is, how it can be used and an illustration of how quarter hour rounding works.

What is Time Rounding?

Time rounding is a technique that allows you to round your start and stop times to the federally approved time to round the intervals. The rounding of the time includes the rounding to the nearest 5-minute interval, the nearest 1/10th of an hour or the nearest 1/4th of an hour. I should tell you that the USA Code of Federal Regulations and the FLSA specify that the time rounding must be applied impartially. This means that the starting and ending time must be rounded both up and down which depends on the punch time so that the rounding is never used to withhold pay from an employee by only rounding in the favor of the employer.

Keep in mind that the rounding only applies to Start and Sto times. For example, if you are an employer, then you can round a start time of 7:54 am to 8:00 am or a stop time of 5:05 pm to 5:00 pm. You cannot apply the rounding of the time to the total hours worked, which means 8 hours and 7 minutes of work cannot be rounded to 8 total hours worked.

What is Time Rounding Used For?

The main advantages of using time rounding technique are:

  • Employees can clock in within a few minutes of their shift start or stop time and not be counted early or late during payroll calculations.
  • Employers can prevent the occurrence small amounts of overtime from adding up to count for daily or weekly overtime during payroll calculations.

Quarter Hour Rounding

Quarter hour rounding will round your start and stop times to the nearest of 1/4th of an hour. You can see the chart below which shows an example of how the starting time is rounded using the quarter-hour rounding method during the hour of 8 o'clock.
quarter hour rounding

The chart above shows that if you clock in early for work at 7:45 am, their start time is rounded to 8:00 am. if you come to the job five minutes late, at 8:05 am, that time is also rounded to 8:00 am.