To make sure you are paid correctly, you need to clock in and out regularly. California has many nuances relating to employment laws, and inspecting your time records is no exception. The bottom line is that California law permits you to view and copy certain information from your personnel file, including your time punch records. An employment law attorney can help you access these records if your employer is less than helpful.

Payroll Records

Under California law, current and former employees have a right to inspect their payroll records. This includes your clock in and clock out times. Upon request, your San Diego employer must make your personnel records available to you in a reasonable time and place or face fines and penalties.

Your employer must also provide you with a pay stub detailing your hours worked for each pay period. This information can also show you your total hours worked, though it may not show you the exact time punches for that pay period. So if there is a discrepancy between what you thought you worked and what your employer paid you, you may need to request access to those payroll records. 

Why You Might Need Access to Your Time Records

There are many reasons you might need to review your clock in and clock out times. California overtime laws require that your employer pay you time and a half for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. That’s fairly standard, but where California goes further than most states is to require overtime pay if you work over eight hours in one workday. 

Some San Diego employers intentionally ignore this law, and others are completely unaware it exists. Regardless of the reason, you are entitled to time and a half pay. If you have calculated your hours at 42 for a specific week and 10 for one specific day, you’re entitled to four total hours of overtime during that pay period. If your employer has only paid you for two overtime hours, you are entitled to your time records in California so you can verify your calculations are correct. 

While your employer may feel threatened by your request, they must provide you with access to your clock in and clock out records. If you are an hourly employee and they have not recorded your hours, that could present an entirely new and complex set of circumstances. You may want to speak with a San Diego employment lawyer to discuss your options.

An Exception to Your Right to Review Time Records

There is one exception where you do not have a right to inspect your time records, and that’s during litigation. If an employee has sued their employer, present or former, the employer is not required to provide the employee with access to their time records.

The employer may do so, but there is no requirement under California law. The reason for the suspension of this right is that, during litigation, your lawyer will be able to access these records through the normal discovery process. So, while it may take longer, you will eventually be able to review the records through discovery.

Speak with a San Diego Employment Lawyer to Help You Get Access to Your Time Records

Getting access to your time records should be simple. Some employers put roadblocks in your way, and others will simply deny your request, even though California law gives you this right. If you’re experiencing difficulty reviewing and copying your employer’s clock in and clock out records, it may be time to discuss your legal options with a lawyer.

Avatar photo

About The Author

Nicholas J. Ferraro

Nicholas J. Ferraro is a skilled labor and employment lawyer and the founder of Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers, Inc. Based in San Diego, he focuses on representing employees in class action and collective litigation cases. Education: Mr. Ferraro attended the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was a member of the San Diego Law Review. Experience: Over a decade of legal practice, representing more than 100,000 employees. Court Admissions: Mr. Ferraro represents his clients throughout the State of California and the State of Washington. He is a member of the State Bar of California. Community Involvement: Active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association and the San Diego County Bar Association.