Thank you for the information and your question. From a WC perspective, whether an employee is on or off of the clock is not necessarily the determinative factor in whether they have a WC claim or not. In other words, an employee can be off the clock and still be injured on the property controlled by the employer. If they are, then the injury is covered as a WC workplace injury. So, although clocking in and out of work for the lunch period is one piece of the puzzle, it isn't the entire puzzle. It is usually a good idea to have an employee clock out for any time that they are not going to be compensated for. This is important, not just from a WC perspective, but also from a wage law perspective. If you want to read a good discussion of WC on versus off the clock issues, you can find one here: http://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/work-place-accidents.html#
Under wage laws, an employer is supposed to keep records of the hours worked by the employee. An automatic deduction of 30 minutes doesn't necessarily meet that requirement. There would have to be independent evidence that the employee actually took that 30 minutes for a lunch with absolutely no job duties performed. Otherwise, there are wage law issues with that scenario.
But, with the WC time clock issue, as long as the employer has someone who can testify that the employee took their lunch on that particular day, that would counterbalance no actually clocking out. However, it is not the most effective way to account for the employees time and to produce evidence should it be required either by WC carrier or the labor department in the case of a wage claim.
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