Beat ‘em to the Punch!

This is how punch rounding works; print out this article!
Note:  This applies to all time keeping systems in general.

When you're calculating employee work hours, it's a common business practice to round the nearest quarter-hour or tenth of an hour.  It is very important that you understand how punch rounding works before setting a new time clock  Rounding only affects calculations; actual punch times are always printed on the time card 
First, you must determine the proper rounding unit.  If you want to round the tenth of an hour, then the interval is 6 minutes.  If you want to round punches to the quarter-hour, the interval is 15 minutes.

The point within the selected interval where the punch time will round forward or backward is the "breakpoint".  When selecting your rounding unit, you must keep the following in mind:

The breakpoint for IN punches counted from the BEGINNING of the interval.  Punches round FORWARD to the end the interval ON or AFTER the breakpoint.
Likewise, the breakpoint for OUT punches would be counted from the END of the interval.  Punches round BACKWARD to the beginning of the interval ON of BEFORE the breakpoint.

Generally speaking, the following rounding units are available with most time clock systems.


  • None (exact minute)
  • 6 minutes with a 3 minute breakpoint (tenth of an hour)
  • 15 minutes with a 3 minute breakpoint (quarter-hour)
  • 15 minutes with a 7 minute breakpoint (quarter-hour)

The following examples are for 15 minute rounding with a 7 minute breakpoint:

IN punch, 15 minute rounding

9:15 to 9:22 rounds back 7 minutes

9:23 to 9:30 rounds forward 7 minutes

OUT punch 15 minute rounding

5:00 to 5:07 rounds back 7 minutes

5:08 to 5:15 rounds forward 7 minutes