timesheet questions
Guide

30 Common Timesheets Questions Answered

What is a timesheet?

A timesheet is a form that employers use to track their employees’ time during each pay period. Timesheets are used to record time spent on tasks, projects, and clients.

They often include an employee’s vacation, sick leave, paid leave, and other time off balances.

What should be included in a timesheet?

Most employee timesheets are made in a grid or chart format and include information such as:

  • The employee’s name

  • Date ranges for the pay period

  • Dates worked within the pay period

  • Hours worked

  • Time off accrued

  • Remaining time off balance

Advantages of well-organized timesheets

A well-organized timesheet system is the backbone of a streamlined organization. This may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but consider this:

According to the ServiceNow State of Work report, executives spend an average of 16 hours a week on administrative work — the equivalent of two full days every week.

Time-consuming tasks like correcting timesheet data and sending email reminders put added pressure on employers and employees. Having less time to spend on revenue-generating tasks can delay deadlines and damage client relationships.

With well-organized timesheets, employees can focus on billable work, and employers can avoid the excessive admin time of tracking down timesheets. Automated timesheets also ensure payments are correct and delivered on time.

To summarize, organized timesheets save everyone time, result in more accurate payments, and reduce costly errors.

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How do you ensure timesheets are submitted on time?

Explain to your team why it’s important that they submit their timesheets on time. Firstly, it makes sure employees are paid accurately.

Secondly, waiting too long to complete timesheets can result in more work for team members because it’ll take them longer to remember what they did during that particular pay period and the actual hours they spent on each task and project.

To increase the chances of employees submitting timesheets on time, make sure to educate them on how to track their time and fill out timesheets properly. A great way to do this is to create a time tracking policy.

The policy should answer the following questions:

  • How do I fill out a timesheet?

  • When do I submit a timesheet?

  • What happens if I forget to submit a timesheet?

  • How do I make changes to a timesheet if there’s a mistake?

What should you do if you make a mistake on a timesheet?

Employees

If employees make a mistake on their own timesheet, you might be concerned that it will affect their pay or your clients’ invoices.

Employers can handle errors and late submissions by reprimanding employees, but they can't delay or dock pay for these mistakes. Make sure your policy doesn’t violate this law.

Instead, include a step for managers to review and approve timesheets before the end of the pay period. That way, payroll won’t be delayed, and you can minimize errors.

Employers

Employers should be a bit more concerned about timesheet mistakes. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employees can sue their employer if the employer alters their timesheets.

Mistakes can and do happen, but they need to be corrected immediately to avoid any legal repercussions.

Who is responsible for timesheets?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that it’s the employer’s responsibility to track time accurately for each employee.

Most companies choose to do this by requiring their employees to fill out their own timesheets, but employers are still the ones who are ultimately responsible for the timesheets being filled out accurately.

Which industries use timesheets?

Timesheets are a legal requirement for hourly staff, so they’re not exclusive to any single industry. However, retail, agencies, construction, and the healthcare industry are a few examples of fields where timesheets are especially important.

How do I make a timesheet in Google Sheets?

timesheet in google sheets

Log in to your Google Drive account, go to New > Google Sheets > From a template and then choose the Weekly timesheet template from the template gallery. Fill out your details and then either save the timesheet to your computer or print it out.

Can I export timesheets to QuickBooks?

If you’re using Hubstaff, you can export timesheets to QuickBooks by going to Reports > Time & Activity and then clicking on Export and choosing To QuickBooks. An IIF file should appear in your downloads. Then, head over to QuickBooks and upload the file.

This process can be time-consuming if you have a lot of employees and pay stubs to move over. Fortunately, you can streamline the whole process with Hubstaff’s QuickBooks Online integration.

Follow our QuickBooks Online or desktop instructions to send your pay rates, invoices, and other data to QuickBooks.

There’s no need to export data individually for each employee — the data is sent directly to QuickBooks from Hubstaff once you integrate the two apps.

Are timesheets necessary?

Keeping timesheets is a legal requirement in a lot of countries around the world. In the U.S., federal law states that employers need to record the time employees spend working.

They can use any time tracking method (e.g., paper timesheets or time tracking software), as long as it’s accurate and complete.

What does UAT mean on a timesheet?

At the most basic level, unallocated time refers to any time entries that aren’t tied to a specific project, client, or task.

This might include admin work, sick time, PTO, and more. It’s non-billable time, or time that needs to be assigned to a project in order to get billed.

What is timesheet freezing?

A lot of timesheet software uses timesheet freezing. It’s supposed to stop or “freeze” a user’s ability to make additional changes to a timesheet.

This is useful for when a timesheet has been used in an invoice, to pay a team member, or if a certain amount of time has passed.

How to invoice a timesheet?

To invoice a timesheet, start by choosing timesheet software with invoicing features.

Many of these tools allow you to create invoices automatically based on the hours worked. If you set up clients and projects in your time tracking software, it gets even easier to create invoices on a regular basis. You can even add your own custom branding.

You can set bill rates for each person, flag billable hours, and add materials costs to invoices. In many cases, you can email these invoices to your clients directly via email right from the software.

How do you invoice freelance hours?

Freelancers will often provide estimates per project or work on a retainer. The invoicing might happen on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on what the agreement is.

For freelancers who need to invoice clients, it’s important to track all the hours spent on client work and provide a written description of what was done. Then, you’ll want to send your client the detailed invoice with the payment due date.

For companies who invoice clients and work with freelancers, you can either set a freelancer up with your time tracking software or have them invoice you separately.

The benefit of adding them to your software is that you can set separate bill and pay rates. With the right software, you’ll be able to track task progress, pay freelancers, and invoice clients for the hours they worked using a single tool.

How do you write an invoice for hours worked?

An hourly invoice usually includes:

  • Your name and contact information

  • An invoice number (for filing purposes)

  • Invoice date

  • Billing period

  • Client name and address

  • Breakdown of duties performed

  • Hourly rate

  • Invoice terms and penalties

Are timesheets confidential?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Timesheets themselves aren't confidential, but the information included on them can be.

If an employee’s timesheet only contains basic information for payroll purposes, it probably falls under the Public Records Law. These timesheets usually contain things like working hours, pay rates, project costs, and project status.

In this case, the timesheet is considered a financial record and can be shared with the public if needed.

If a timesheet contains personal information like social security numbers or employee performance reviews, it should remain confidential.

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How long do we need to keep timesheets?

In the U.S., employers are required to keep timesheet records for at least two years. In the UK, the requirement is three years from the end of the tax year the timesheets are related to.

What financial records must be kept to meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The FLSA mandates that employers need to keep the following information on all non-exempt employees:

1) Name

2) Home address

3) Date of birth

4) Sex and occupation

5) Time of day and day of the week when the employee's workweek begins

6) Regular hourly rate of pay

7) Hours worked every workday and total hours worked each workweek

8) Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings, excluding premium overtime compensation

9) Total overtime pay

10) Total additions to or deductions from wages paid each pay period

11) Total wages paid each pay period

12) Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment

For exempt employees, the required records include items 1 through 5 and 11 through 12 from the above list.

What happens if you lie on a timesheet?

Usually, a manager will inquire about the incorrect hours and try to reach an agreement to prevent errors. In some cases, an employee who commits timesheet fraud might be terminated.

Is a signed timesheet a legal document?

legal documents

The dictionary definition of a legal document is “a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right,” so no, a timesheet is not a legal document.

Do employees have to approve their timesheets?

Having employees approve their own timesheets is not a legal requirement but probably a good practice to enforce. Requiring your team members to take a final look and sign off on their timesheets will help in the event of a wage discrepancy lawsuit.

Is falsifying timesheets gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct varies by state, but theft is a common example. If an employee is found guilty of time theft, they could be terminated for gross misconduct without notice or a first offense.

What is timesheet compliance?

Employee timesheets are compliant when they adhere to the rules and guidelines outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These include tracking employees’ work hours, recording all the required employee information, and storing the records for an adequate amount of time.

Are timesheets legal documents in the U.K.?

The British English definition of a legal document is “a document concerning a legal matter” or “a document drawn up by a lawyer,” so no, timesheets are not legal documents.

Can my employer change my hours without asking?

In some cases, your employer can change your hours without your consent. Unless you have a previously agreed-upon employment contract in place, your schedule, hours, and even work location can be changed.

Can you automate timesheets?

Some timesheet software allows you to automate timesheet submissions and approvals. Tools like Hubstaff will deliver timesheet notifications to each employee's inbox, and they can then review their digital timesheets and submit them to management.

From there, supervisors can sign off and pay team members with just a few more clicks.

How do I create a digital timesheet?

To create a digital timesheet, try these easy-to-use templates. Or, you can use Hubstaff to generate online timesheets automatically.

How do you make a timesheet easier?

Using time tracking software can make timesheets easier for everyone. Employees can start and stop the timer as they work instead of filling in a timesheet at the end of the day or week.

Some time tracking apps even allow employees to start the timer automatically based on GPS location or send reminders at certain times of the day.

What is automatic time capture?

Automatic time capture is a feature that a lot of time tracking and proof of work tools offer to reduce admin time. Tools like Hubstaff use a simple timer and automations that help employees track time to specific tasks throughout their workweek.

These automations include time tracking reminders, idle timeout, missed shift alerts, automatically starting and stopping the timer based on geofenced locations, and daily recap emails that summarize what your team worked on that day.

Are timesheets a waste of time?

If your team is spending hours filling out timesheets manually, then yes, your company could be wasting time.

Timesheets are necessary for a lot of companies — but that doesn’t mean you need to dedicate a lot of time to filling them out or tracking them down.

Employees should be spending their time on job-related tasks that help the company's bottom line. That's why a lot of companies turn to time tracking software and timesheet automation to reduce the time spent on timesheets.

How do you maintain payroll records?

According to the FLSA, employers are required to keep payroll records for at least three years. Records can be kept digitally or in paper form. The records need to be kept at the place of employment or a central recordkeeping office.

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