How to Track Time According to FLSA

The FLSA, or Fair Labor Standards Act, is one of the most important acts in the US code of laws when it comes to regulating labor, wages, and more in this country. The act was passed in 1938 and signed into law by one of the most beloved American presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

But what is the importance of this act, and what are its real-world implications for employers in the United States? 

In this article, we are going to explore some of the most important questions regarding FLSA and its general effects on employers across the United States of America. 

Also, we’ll talk about some of the ways employers can ensure they are not infringing on the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the best available tools for the job.

Let’s begin!

How to Track Time According to FLSA
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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How to track time according to FLSA

How to Calculate Regular Work Hours Under FLSA?

Probably the most important thing regulated by FLSA is how employers should calculate their employees' work hours

Under FLSA, work hours are defined as compensable time or simply the hours for which an employee should receive adequate compensation as per their employee agreement. 

Calculating work hours is the employer's sole responsibility, and any mishaps in that department can open up employers to lawsuits and different types of punishments, as stated by both federal and state laws.

To accurately calculate and round up work hours in a way that ensures employers are not in breach of the FLSA, all employers have to apply the 7-minute rule:

  • If an employee starts working at 08:07, the work time should be rounded down to 08:00. 
  • If an employee starts working at 08:08, the work time should be rounded up to 08:15.

To further simplify the entire process, US employers have started using specially designed software to solve this specific pain point.

With time-tracking software, the chances of making an error when calculating work hours have been made infinitesimal, ensuring every employer complies with federal laws

How to Calculate Overtime Under FLSA?

Accurately calculating overtime is another large part of labor laws that FLSA covers. Not doing so can lead to different penalties and punishments under federal laws and open employers to civil lawsuits.

To avoid hefty lawyer fees, penalties, and, in the case of the worst offenders, jail time, all employers should be familiar with the correct process of calculating overtime hours.

To precisely calculate overtime hours, employers should use the following formula: 1.5 x “regular hourly pay” = “overtime pay.”

Manually calculating overtime hours, although not that complicated, can turn burdensome, especially for businesses that employ large numbers of people. To simplify that, ensure no mistakes are made, and protect employers from penalties and lawsuits, many businesses use dedicated time-tracking software.

The software helps employers streamline the entire process of calculating overtime hours while also ensuring they comply with labor laws.

How to Accurately Track Regular Work Hours Under FLSA?

FLSA doesn’t specify how employees should track work hours, but it does state that work hours should be accurately recorded

Regular work hours, or straight time, are both terms defined by the FLSA act. Under this act, the federal government recognizes the term “workweek”, which is described as 168 hours in a successive 7-day 24-hours interval. Within a single “workweek”, the maximum amount of regular work hours should not exceed 40. 

If the work hours in a single week are equal to or less than 40, the employee is entitled to regular pay, which cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per FLSA). 

Accurately tracking employee hours and ensuring every worker is paid according to the number of hours they’ve put in, is important for any successful business. To help with time tracking, and ensure there are no mishaps in the process, many enterprises have chosen to go with specific digital or software solutions.

By lowering the chances for human error or negligence with time-tracking software, companies can make certain every regular work hour is accounted for and properly logged. 

How to Accurately Track Overtime Hours Under FLSA?

Overtime hours are considered any amount of hours an employee has logged within a single workweek, in execs of the regular 40 hours. The same could be said if an employee works more than 8 hours in a single day. Those “extra hours” should be tracked as overtime and paid accordingly. 

There are no specific restrictions or methods that the FLSA imposes on businesses across the US regarding calculating and tracking overtime hours. This means that employers can track overtime in a matter of their choosing.

Even though there are numerous options to accurately track overtime hours,  time-tracking software still remains one of the best and easiest methods.

How to Keep Accurate Records Under FLSA? 

Keeping up-to-date and accurate employee records is an obligation of every employer in the United States under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The exact information every employer is obliged to keep can vary from industry to industry, but, for the most part, employee records should contain the following:

  • Full name and social security number
  • Address of residence with unique zip code
  • Date of birth (if an employee is younger than 19 years of age)
  • Their gender
  • Occupation within the company of employment (line of work)
  • The exact time when the workweek begins
  • The type of payment they receive (hourly, weekly, or per project basis)
  • Regular pay rate per hour of work
  • The total number of regular hours worked each day and each week
  • The total number of overtime hours worked each day and each week
  • Date of each pay period and the amount an employee has received for said paid period

Now, the biggest reason for keeping accurate employee records, apart from complying with obligations set by federal labor laws, is to keep and maintain accurate payroll information.

Having an accurate way of tracking payroll and other expenses can allow employers to manage their business more efficiently. It can also enable them to find new ways of efficiently cutting costs without negatively impacting their respective enterprises.

How to Store Employee Records Under FLSA?

Apart from keeping accurate and up-to-date employee records, employers must also be familiar with the FLSA’s provisions about properly storing those records. 

As per FLSA regulation, employee records need to be kept in such a way that they are:

  • Easily accessible for inspection by authorized government personnel. 
  • Easily transferable into a format chosen by the government inspector (meaning, if the records are digital, employers can easily transfer them into physical copies or vice versa).
  • Safe and stored either at the office or at a location dedicated to recordkeeping (such as a central records office or similar). 

Storing employee records and ensuring they are always accurate, up to date, and ready to be inspected by government officials at a moment’s notice can be burdensome for both small and large businesses.

One way to alleviate that burden and ensure compliance with the FLSA provisions is to use time-tracking software. With My Hours, businesses can easily create and download the full audit log report, which can help them keep their books in order and always be ready for those “pesky” government inspectors. 

How Long to Store Employee Records Under FLSA? 

Keeping records is an obligation of every non-exempt employer under FLSA regulation. Most employee records should be kept for a period of no less than 3 years

Other types of records, such as time cards, timesheets, work schedules, time schedules, etc., which are used to calculate workers’ pay, should be kept for a minimum of 2 years.

To help store employee records and ensure they’re accurate and in compliance with labor laws, many businesses again resort to time-tracking software

How to Account for Travel Time Under FLSA?

In certain cases, travel time can be calculated and considered as either straight work hours (regular work hours) or overtime. To determine if travel time can be considered as working hours under FLSA, employers should be mindful of the following:

  • If a worker commutes from home to the place of employment, that’s not considered compensable travel time.
  • If a worker travels from one job site to another, that’s considered compensable travel time. In that case, employers must include travel time in the employees’ pay and compensate these expenses accordingly. 

Whether or not the compensable travel time will be counted as overtime or regular work hours depends on the total number of work hours a specific employee has logged in for that week.

To help you calculate regular and overtime work hours, My Hours has created a free time card calculator


The Federal Labor Standards Act was a great addition to the United States Code, with its main purpose being to protect workers' rights across the country. Although staying in compliance with this act might not be overly complicated, it’s still important to do so and keep your employees happy and avoid fees, penalties, and lawsuits.