Co. workers may have to punch clock for lunch

September 14, 2013

County employees will likely soon be required to punch a time clock when they leave each day for lunch, due to liability issues.

Treasurer Kathy Davis addressed the Commissioners Court about the matter at its regular meeting this week. Personnel Director Bob Blessing, seated at a table near the podium where Davis spoke, was in agreement about the liability threat.

Davis said that several years ago, a county employee was in a car accident while on a lunch break. Because the employee had not clocked out, they were technically on county time, Davis said. She stated that, although there was not a lawsuit, the situation nevertheless caused problems for the county.

It is likely that commissioners will soon adopt a policy requiring that employees punch a time clock when they leave for lunch. They could not vote to do so this week because the proposed policy was not on the agenda.

Davis told the Hood County News on Thursday that the issue has been brought up before to a previous court, but there were tricky issues involving exempt employees and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

However, she said that commissioners can get around those issues by adopting a policy that states the clock-out is for “liability purposes.”

Punching a clock would be problematic for some employees, particularly those who work in the Road Operations department.

However, Davis stated, “those people are stand-alone situations.”

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