WWYD Hourly Worker Breaks?

Fun2BHereJune 12, 2014

I have a contractor working at my house that gets paid by the hour. He always rounds his time in his favor, like if he starts at 7:05, he will show it as 7:00. Throughout the day, he takes a few bathroom breaks and usually 20 - 25 minutes for lunch. I notice that when he figures his time worked, he doesn't exclude any breaks.

I don't mind eating the time for bathroom breaks or the occasional 5 - 10 minutes rounding, but it's ticking me off to pay for his lunch break. Should I talk to him about it or let it slide?

There's no written contract. The work he is doing consists of handyman-type tasks.

Thank you in advance for sharing your opinions.

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My handyman charges by the hour and does not break for lunch. A full day for him is six hours because he does not include the time it takes to load his van and get here, then drive home. He works steadily the whole time he is here. Don't pay your guy for eating lunch. I never heard of that.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:09PM
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We'll, you can't deduct bathroom breaks, unless he's grabbing the paper and spending half an hour in there. And I would let it slide if he's taking less than half hour for lunch or arriving a few minutes late..which could be traffic or a delay in picking up supplies. It doesn't sound like he's taking advantage of you...to me that would be consistently showing up at 7:15-7:30 but putting 7, taking an hour for lunch and not recording it, etc.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:59PM
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I would pay him for his 20-30 minute lunch, if he is doing a good job, doesn't leave a mess, and seems to complete the tasks in timely manner.

If he wasn't doing a good job, etc. I wouldn't have him come back.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:24PM
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Is he doing a good job? Are you pleased with the quality of his work? Does he listen to what you want? Do you feel his hourly rate is reasonable? If yes to these questions I wouldn't rock the boat for less than 1/2 hr. Good workers, especially for small jobs, are hard to come by.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:35PM
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If the overall charge of the project and the work getting done is agreeable, then it shouldn't really matter.
But, I see your point. When I worked at a job with a sign in sheet, it would never occur to me to not record the exact time in and out.
We have a painter/carpenter who eats while he is working!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 7:51PM
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Don't nickel and dime him if he is a good contractor.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your posts. He is a good contractor and quite meticulous in his work. I guess I'll justify the extra expense in my mind as an effectively higher hourly rate and let go of the annoyance.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Yes, treat him like gold if his work is good! Seriously, it is hard for me to find really good help-at a good price- but when I do, they are valued and it sounds like he is a keeper. (There are a lot worse out there...)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:20PM
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....we like our handyman so much we pay him and we share whatever lunch we are eating with him.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:03AM
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A lot of places I've worked hourly had us round to the nearest quarter hour--so 7:05 would be 7:00, and 7:10 would be 7:15. It just makes it easier to do the math.

Bathroom breaks are on the clock, every place I've ever worked.

Lunch? I agree with PPs. If he's good, just ignore it.

You can check your state's labor laws. Many states require a certain amount of paid and unpaid break time, the amount varies depending on the total number of hours worked. The laws may not apply to an independent contractor such as this handyman, but they are a good place to start in determining if his breaks are reasonable.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:53AM
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It's not like he's taking a one hour off-premises lunch break, I think you are in the right frame of mind to not nickel and dime him, it could create tension that would not work in your favour.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:17AM
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