Should Employers Still Track the Hours Worked of Salaried Employees?

With remote work a new facet of the popular work structures in 2021–whether you be a fully remote employee or following a hybrid work model–a common question employers wonder is if they should still be tracking the hours of their salaried employees. Even regardless of the newfound ease and popularity of remote work, salaried workers should not necessarily track their hours. We brought this pressing question to top industry professionals, including business owners, founders, CEOs, and marketing directors. Their answers offer great insight into the pros and cons of the different solutions to this dilemma. Keep reading to find out what industry professionals have to say. 

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: Non-Exempt Workers Need Accurate Payments

“Yes, I think it is still best for employers to track their employees’ hours as a method of keeping accurate records. In fact, aside from personal belief, small businesses are even required to track the hours of their non-exempt staff under the Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA for short. A non-exempt employee is one that is not paid a yearly salary, but rather may earn varying weekly pay based on the hours they work. Also, the main aspect of non-exempt employees is that they are not exempt from receiving overtime pay if they work more than full time hours–they are eligible to be paid for working overtime. Clearly, this makes it essential for non-exempt staff to track their hours to ensure they are paid the right amount, including time-and-a-half and double time pay,” says Summer Romasco, Brand Strategist and Marketing Director of Burner.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: It Avoids Legal Issues

“It is best for small businesses to track all of their employees’ hours, including both hourly and salaried workers, in order to avoid any legal issues that could arise. You definitely want to be correctly paying your employees for their time worked and having up to date records of these time logs is the best way to answer questions about payments. You never know what disputes may come up, and the fastest way to settle any complication is to prove that payments were correctly issued; it is always wisest to keep records and data for exactly these kinds of unexpected situations. Larger, more established corporations may have their own differing guidelines about how or when to track workers’ hours, but as a small business you should always play it safe,” says Michael Fischer, Founder of Elite HRT.

No, Employers Shouldn’t Track Hours Because: It Prevents Trust

“So the cable guy’s coming. It would be silly for you to have to take a PTO day or make special arrangements so that you could be there when he shows up. Why not just work from home that day? You’ll be more efficient. There’s no discussion about ‘Is or isn’t that a vacation day? Do you need to take half of a vacation day? [At DialogTech] we’re not measuring any of that stuff. What we’re measuring is you’re helping us succeed by getting your job done. Why is it that Zappos is so much bigger than everyone else? Because they’re able to build trust. Why are they able to build trust? Because they incent their agents to have the most meaningful conversations they can have with their customers without measuring the time or the length of those conversations,” says ??Irv Shapiro, CEO of DialogTech.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours: But They Should Choose Their Working Hours

“When it comes to the controversy over employers having their staff track their working hours versus letting them be more task based, my stance on it is that yes, employers probably should still track their workers’ hours. As an employer myself, I do want to be sure that each employee is showing up to their tasks and putting in the work; this refers less to the time they spend on each project and more on their overall work, but tracking their hours is a way for me to easily understand that they were meeting their hourly quota. However, I am also a believer that employees should be able to track their own time based on their understanding of how they work, and also to determine when they work. With all the flexibility we are offered in so many other areas of life these days, why wouldn’t we work with our employees to give them flexibility in their working hours as well?” says Karim Hachem, VP of Ecommerce at La Blanca.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: They Accrue Time Off

“Your business needs to have records of your employees’ time accrued for sick pay and vacation pay if you follow a structure that has workers accumulate their time off over time spent at the company. So, records of how many hours and days employees work versus how many days off they take really helps to inform how your time off policy is applied to each worker. If you choose not to track your employees’ hours, you would need to have a different time off policy based on other variables instead, such as months worked at the company,” says Carrie Derocher, CMO of TextSanity.

No, Employers Shouldn’t Track Hours Because: Employees Should Be Paid on a Project Base

“This question of whether employers should track their salaried workers’ hours comes at a time when there is a new push for employees to be paid for their work rather than their hours, since for certain creative roles, time spent working is not directly representative of the value of their work or the effect put in. For example, many freelance creatives do project based work, in which case they bill for the overall end result, and the hours put in don’t play a factor. Since professional creatives are used to invoicing for their effort and results rather than their hours, non-freelancing workers question why they cannot also follow the same or a similar salaried structure. I agree that now is a good time to shift traditional work priorities. By paying people for their effort rather than their time, it sends the message that results are more valued than merely hours,” says Brittany Dolin, Co-Founder of Pocketbook Agency.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: Workers Can Be Held to Their Hours

“Since the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued that exempt workers–also referred to as salaried workers–can be held to a certain number of hours worked on a weekly or monthly basis, this lets you know it is still acceptable to have your employees track their time so you know they’re completing the right amount of hours,” says Tri Nguyen, Co-Founder and CEO of Network Capital.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: It Ensures Work Is Done

“One reason why hour tracking is a popular strategy for companies to employ is because it provides a solid understanding for employers that their employees are showing up to work (or remote work), getting their tasks done, and not taking advantage of the company’s trust. There’s not a simpler way to guarantee that your employees are working than having their time logs,” says Kaspar Povilanskas, Co-Founder and CEO of Nowadays Media.

No, Employers Shouldn’t Track Hours Because: It Doesn’t Measure Productivity

“At Arc, we’ve never had a culture of time tracking. We don’t believe that seeing people at their desks is a good way to measure productivity. Instead, we measure productivity based on transparent results. We track the progress and milestones weekly, and give regular updates at both team- and company-level meetings. I think the success of this approach also depends on the quality of the team. We aim to hire people who are self-starters, curious and engaged. If your team and company culture is good, you won’t have a problem. Trust your team — they know what they’re doing!” says Weiting Liu, Founder & CEO of Arc.

No, Employers Shouldn’t Track Hours Because: Overtime Pay Is Exempted

“Exempt workers cannot get paid overtime since they are given a set yearly salary regardless of their daily, monthly, or even yearly hours, although salaries are based on a set amount of hours worked within a certain time frame. Therefore, these workers do not need to track their hours because they aren’t eligible to receive extra pay for extra time spent. Therefore, if you want your company to move its emphasis onto projects completed and progress made rather than merely hours worked, you would not need to track the hours of your salaried employees as long as they continue to present completed tasks,” says Dr. Robert Applebaum, Owner of Applebaum MD.

Yes, Employers Should Track Hours Because: It Helps When Delegating Time to Projects

“Even if you choose not to have your employees track their total daily hours, you should still at least have them keep a record of how much time they devote to certain roles and projects. These hours might not account for your employees’ whole working hours, but it does help you know how much time to delegate to similar projects in the future, and lets you compare certain workers’ time with their progress to measure who works best in which areas,” says Boye Fajinmi, Co-Founder and President of TheFutureParty.

No, Employers Shouldn’t Track Hours Because: Completed Work is What Matters

“No, as long as your salaried employees consistently get their work done they should not have their hours tracked. After all, they’re not eligible for overtime pay and they will receive a fixed salary regardless of the tiny details of daily hours, so in order to promote passionate, motivated employees, you should place the emphasis on them working because they have projects to be done, not because they need to pass the time for an extra hour in order to be paid more. Flexible work situations are much more considered the standard today, so respect your workers enough to allow them to focus on their accomplishment rather than their hours,” says Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer of

After consulting with some of the top business owners and founders in the e-commerce and physical store space today, the answers to whether employers should track their employees’ hours are divided. Unanimously, employers agree that hourly, or non-exempt, workers should be tracking their hours in case they work enough to earn overtime pay. However, whether salaried workers should track their hours as well is not agreed upon, but it is a step you can take for added records keeping. Regardless of what option you choose, the pros and cons to both choices are clearly outlined to guide you in your decision.

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