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If I Clock In 5 Minutes Early Can I Clock Out 5 Minutes Early?

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maramugen | 03:01 Fri 21st Feb 2020 | Law
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I work for a call center and show up 7 minutes early everyday. They want us to have our software up and running unpaid by the time we start our shift. I spend a few minutes unpaid getting my software up and then I clock in 5 minutes early. I also clock out 5 minutes early so I can shut my software down and leave by the time I’m scheduled to leave and not stay over unpaid. Now they’re telling us we have to stay until the very last minute, and if you know call centers you will definitely get a call in those last 5 minutes that make you stay over up to an hour. If this is the case I’m no longer coming in early to open software and I will do it when I clock in. Which would be super annoying because I’m sure they’ll yell about that too. So are there any laws for this? I read about some law that say employees can clock in and out up to 7 minutes early.

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It purely depends on your company ethics and you should discuss this matter with your manager.
When I was working in a call center we had a rule that hourly workers should never leave early (unless permitted by their managers). So if you're showing up earlier than usual - you're just wasting your personal time (yes, we were not compensated for these extra 5 min). And we couldn't leave earlier too - like, if your shift is 6 am - 6 pm, then you should be available at this time. Strictly.
If your wage is at or very close to the minimum wage rate and if the extra 5 minutes or so you need to set up is compulsory but unpaid then it's possible that the company is in breach of minimum wage rules. If minimum wage is not an issue in your case then either raise it with a union or your manager, but at the end of the day you have to decide whether the extra 7 minutes a day is worth arguing over. I know lots of people who come in early to work for various reasons so they feel set up and ready to go. If, say, someone's bus arrives 10 minutes before the clock in time is there much point in standing outside until your shift officially starts?
I thought they were Call Centres. However, asking people to be in the workplace (at your actual workstation) prior to your shift start time could cause problems for your employer if you have an accident on the way to your workstation. Technically, the accident happened before your official start time. This could be a breach of the Health and Safety At Work Act and would bring into question the issue of workplace insurance.
So should everyone be made to queue up outside until the doors open and then at the end of their shift be standing by the exit door so they can be out on the street the second their shift finishes? I'm not sure businesses work that way, 10CS
If employers want to risk the consequences, then ok. Is that how business works?
As you write "center", are you American? If so, you are better using an American site as we are based in the UK and your laws would be different.
It all depends on how generous the company is. The one I worked for was extremely mean, it didn't matter how early you clocked in pay started at the official opening time. If you clocked out, even just a minute early, you lost a quarter of an hour's pay.
"Technically, the accident happened before your official start time. This could be a breach of the Health and Safety At Work Act and would bring into question the issue of workplace insurance."

Utter nonsense.

I agree, DD. I challenged it but didn't bother pursuing that aspect further with 10CS.

Technically if the company is paying you an hourly rate and is requiring you to work before your official start time then it is likely to be treated as an unlawful deduction of wages, but whether 5 minutes a day is worth arguing about I'm not sure.
Depends on your contract and your company.
I think all your time should be paid for though.
What does your union rep say ?
Centre vs center....many other countries (other than the US) use the "wrong" spelling, TCL.
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