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How Adjusting an Employee Timesheet or Forging Timesheets Can Get Your Optometry Practice Into Huge Trouble

At your optometry practice, you are probably busier than ever. Between managing patient demands, hiring and managing employees, and ensuring you have all the tools and equipment your practice needs, there is probably barely any time for you to manage your normal administrative burdens. This can, of course, lead to some things falling through the cracks. For example, it can get way too easy to inappropriately track your employee’s time, thus resulting in you making some errors.However, when an employer falsifies payroll records, it can lead to legal trouble. Forging timesheets isn’t just bad for morale: It’s illegal and can lead to major fines and penalties. Fortunately, if you are having difficulties managing your administrative burdens, you have alternatives. HR for Health has robust timekeeping software that can protect your optometry practice and ensure that any changes to your employee timesheets are legally appropriate. 

Editing Employee Timesheets is Illegal!

Editing an employee timesheet with the intent to create inaccurate hours worked is highly illegal. An optometry employer falsifying payroll records is a crime, and forging timesheets can lead to major penalties if it is improperly done. 

Of course, mistakes happen, and there may be instances in which making an edit is appropriate - more on that later. However, if an edit must occur, it is always preferable to have the employee make the edit. This ensures transparency and helps reduce the chance that an employee will later dispute their hours of work.

Compliant HR softwares, such as HR for Health, , allow employees to make the edits themselves. You’ll have to approve each edit, but you will get a notification whenever there is an edit request. 

Recommended Reading

Timekeeping - Why Accurate Timesheets Are So Important

Your Team Will Lose Trust In You

In addition to the obvious legal ramifications, altering an employee's timesheet without their consent will unquestionably lead to a loss

How Adjusting an Employee Timesheet or Forging Timesheets Can Get Your Optometry Practice Into Huge Trouble

of trust. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a better way to alienate your optometry team than by an employer falsifying payroll records. Forging timesheets will make your employees much, much less trusting of you. 

The best way to avoid these issues is to keep the communication lines open. If there are circumstances where you must make timesheet edits, document the reason for the edit, the previous entry, and the edit made to the entry. This can all be stored in an employee’s file. At HR for Health, this is easy, as we have cloud-based documentation software. This serves as an excellent complement to our timekeeping software. 

What is the Penalty of Falsifying Timesheets?

It’s tough to say, as it depends on the frequency and severity of the offense. However, you will likely face the need to pay the employee back pay, fines, and potentially even serve time in jail. Wage and Hour laws are considered the “low hanging fruit” by the authorities. If you are caught forging timesheets, the odds are good that you will have to deal with a claim from a current or former employee.  

In addition to potential penalties for altering an employee timesheet, you will have to pay legal bills - and this says nothing about the reputational damage your optometry practice will face. 

Recommended Reading:

How To Optimize Timesheet Compliance In Your Medical, Dental, and Optometry Practice

What Can I Do If an Employee Timesheet was Improperly Altered? 

The most important thing you can do is be transparent and honest. Give your employee the time they were entitled to, and have a conversation with your employee about what happened, ensuring you document the conversation as well. From there, examine the broader issue: How did the timesheet become improperly altered? What can your optometry practice do to avoid the charge of an employer falsifying payroll records in the future? 

Times you Can Adjust an Employee’s Timesheet

While the circumstances are limited, there are times when it is appropriate to adjust an employee’s timesheet, including:

  • When your employee has made an error in calculating their hours, and you have proof that this is the case.
  • When an employee neglects to clock in or out.
  • If a double-punch occurred during clock-in or clock-out.

If you need to make these edits, make sure that you communicate as such with your employee, and that you note the reason for the edit in their file. This way, you can avoid the charge of being an employer falsifying payroll records. 

What Your Optometry Practice Can Do To Avoid Forging Timesheets

How Adjusting an Employee Timesheet or Forging Timesheets Can Get Your Optometry Practice Into Huge TroubleForging timesheets is not an option, and your optometry practice needs to avoid doing this. To do so, you should have strict, written procedures about when such an edit can occur and what must happen to justify that edit. You should record the times and reasons for such an edit, and you should ensure that your employee handbook clearly spells out employee expectations about when they need to clock in and out, and what happens if they fail to do so. You also need to train all employees about the importance of maintaining proper records. 

How HR for Health Can Help 

HR for Health’s timekeeping makes it easy to keep accurate timekeeping records. Even if an edit is needed, employees can make those edits themselves. Doing so will trigger a notification to the authorized user, allowing them to approve or deny the edit request. Employees can also note why they made that edit, and keep track of edits made. This dramatically reduces the ability of others to forge timesheets. Furthermore, our software can track things like leaves of absence, multiple pay rates, bonuses, and holiday pay. This creates a perfect and comprehensive record for your employees. All of this seamlessly syncs with our payroll processing features.

Want more info? We’re here to help. Contact HR for Health today to schedule a free demo, and learn more about how we can help your practice.
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