How To Write a Time Tracking Policy

How to Write a Time Tracking Policy

Plus: an actionable timesheet policy template for your small business.

How to Write a Time Tracking Policy

Want to keep time on your side? Then you need a clearly defined time tracking policy. Here’s the quick rundown on how (and why) to create timesheet guidelines, including a free template to help you get started.

What is a timesheet policy?

Timesheet policies lay out the parameters for employee time tracking in a formal document. These guidelines objectively outline the expectations for your workers. It also explains the rationale behind the policy.

What is a timesheet policy?

Why Timesheet Policies Matter

When tracking employee time, it’s important to create a timesheet policy. That’s because a policy standardizes procedures across your organization’s hierarchy. Since policies are objective, it’s a fair way to ensure each worker follows the same requirements.

A clear policy around time tracking is also important to your bottom line. Time tracking policies can help set transparent goals around productivity, profitability, and annual performance. They’re helpful for managing both individuals and teams.

Policies surrounding hours worked can also outline general procedures for attendance, overtime, leaves of absence, sick days, and paid time off. Because keeping accurate records of hours worked is necessary for legal compliance, clearly outlining your timesheet procedure can help get everyone on the same page about how to track time in your place of business.

Time and Attendance Policies for Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

Your policy surrounding work time may vary based on whether you have mostly exempt (salaried) or non-exempt (hourly) employees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that non-exempt employees be paid at least minimum wage. They also qualify for overtime pay. While federal law requires overtime pay at a rate of time and a half when 40 work hours are exceeded in a single workweek, overtime is regulated by state laws, which may be more stringent (e.g., a pay rate of time and a half after 8 hours in a single workday).

The FLSA considers certain workers “exempt” from overtime pay. Generally, an exempt employee is paid a salary that meets the minimum requirements for their job type or industry. Even though they aren’t hourly employees, you can still require exempt employees to track their hours worked.

How to Write an Employee Timesheet Policy

Keep your time tracking policy as simple as possible. Include the following information:

  • General information: a high-level overview.
  • Objective: the goal(s) of the policy.
  • Scope: who is expected to follow this policy.
  • Procedures: the necessary steps to follow the policy’s processes, including enforcement.
  • Effective date: when the policy will begin to be enforced.
  • Acknowledgement: include a signature line for employees.

Time Tracking Policy Template

Below is an example of a simple time tracking policy you can use with your OnTheClock software.

Important Note: The policy below is a sample intended to be used as a general guide. You’ll need to adjust this to meet legal requirements such as your state law overtime laws. We also recommend making modifications to this free template to meet your unique business needs and industry standards.


This policy outlines the requirements for employee time tracking. Its purpose is to establish guidelines and procedures to ensure accurate records of employee hours and to facilitate efficient payroll processing. All employees of [Company] must follow the procedure laid out below.

This policy is effective as of [date].

General Information

[Company]’s workweek covers 7 consecutive days, beginning on [day] at [time] and ending on [day] at [time].

In [your state], overtime is defined as hours worked by a non-exempt employee in excess of [40 hours in a workweek, 8 hours in a single workday, or other, depending on your state law]. Overtime does not apply to exempt employees. All employees are expected to record working hours for compliance.

Timekeeping Procedures

Employees must track working hours using the designated time clock software. Other approved methods may be provided on an as-needed basis.

  1. Employees will record their start and end time for each regular workday by clocking in and out.
  2. Employees will note their authorized break start and end times for each regular workday by clocking in and out. This includes breaks for meals.
  3. Hours worked in excess of regular working hours will receive overtime compensation, in accordance with local labor laws.
  4. Requests for time off should be submitted electronically through our time tracking system, and with enough notice to provide reasonable accommodation by their scheduling supervisor.
  5. For sick leave or similar emergencies, please notify your shift supervisor no later than two (2) hours before your scheduled start time.
  6. Time card records are considered confidential and are only accessible to authorized personnel responsible for processing payroll and HR administration. Employees may access their time card records at any time, up to termination of employment.
  7. We request that employees review their own time cards before they are submitted for payroll processing

Any violations of this policy will be taken seriously and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

By adhering to this time tracking policy, we can ensure accurate and fair compensation while maintaining the integrity and efficiency of our payroll processes.

Please provide a signature to acknowledge you’ve read and understand this policy.

(First and Last Name)

(Today's Date)


How to Introduce a Time Tracking Policy

Want to make your time tracking procedure successful? How you introduce it matters. If time tracking will be brand new to your staff, you may deal with some pushback during implementation.

To ensure successful implementation of time tracking, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Educate your employees on the reasonings and benefits of tracking time. For example, time tracking helps ensure an even distribution of workload, as well as accurate paychecks (including overtime).
  2. Be clear about what the time tracking software will not be used for. For example, emphasize that time tracking will not be used as the sole metric of a worker’s job performance.
  3. Choose a system that is user friendly. For example, OnTheClock’s intuitive interface makes it easy to clock in and out, as well as to correct missed punches.
  4. Show your employees how to use the new software. No matter how intuitive your system seems, taking the time to train your employees on proper time tracking will minimize confusion.
  5. Listen to feedback and answer questions. Keep an open dialogue with your employees, and regularly follow up to see how time tracking is going.
How to Introduce a Time Tracking Policy

How Smart Small Businesses Track Employee Time

Ditch manual employee timesheets and start tracking time with the cloud-based time clock that’s been successfully adopted by over 15,000 businesses and 125,000 employees. Your first 30 days of OnTheClock are free.

OnTheClock Employee Time Tracking

Written by

OnTheClock Team

OnTheClock is the perfect app for business that want to keep track of their employees' time without spending hours doing it. With OnTheClock, you can forget about the old way of doing things.

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