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What would be the best payment arrangement to a project manager to assure they are working and not billing us for being on the job and not there?

By: Rick Gossett



I need some suggestions on how to motivate our projects manager to push finish of our projects to meet projected start/finish times. What would be the best payment arrangement to a project manager to assure they are working and not billing us for being on the job and not there?


A. Time Clock Policy: It is common for construction companies to require project managers and other employees to submit a form of weekly timesheet in order to accurately track labor time, costs, and profitability of each project. From a general business perspective, employers should have written policies and procedures that clearly state the proper method for employees to record their time worked, including any required meal or other breaks. We do not know the extent of the timekeeping issues with your employees or whether you have written company policies and procedures that govern timekeeping and the ramifications if employees fail to comply with the rules, but we suggest developing a progressive discipline policy that begins with employee reprimands and/or written warnings and culminates with termination for habitually noncompliant employees. Employee reprimands, warning letters, steps of discipline, and terminations are the common measures in dealing with employee non-compliance to company policies.

Termination for all non-compliant employees may not be a viable option at this time, especially if it would leave your business seriously understaffed, so we suggest establishing and communicating a timekeeping policy in written form that you can live with moving forward and sticking to it. The policy should assign discipline that’s severe enough to put an end to this situation. You can review examples of timekeeping policies at the website below:

As discussed in the articles below, federal labor law requires that employees be paid for all time worked, so you should not institute a policy of automatically docking employees for failing to punch in or out or automatically docking them for meal breaks when they fail to punch in and out for them:

Links and references to samples and template documents have been provided above. Templates and sample documents can be very useful but businesses should exercise caution in the use of such documents. Sample employee handbooks and personnel policy statements may not include every topic needed to address your particular fringe benefit programs, compensation plans, and other circumstances. A well-conceived document will, however, be relatively easy to modify, allowing you to add and delete sections as appropriate. Due to the complexity of labor laws, and the potential for liability in such areas as discrimination and confidentiality, we recommend that all employee handbooks and personnel policy statements be reviewed by a qualified labor lawyer.

B. Employee Tracking Electronics: We are not sure of the type of workers (supervisors, staff workers, crews, etc), if your construction employees are using company vehicles or personal vehicles to travel to job sites, and other details of your employment and out of town job structures, which could affect how you monitor your employees. Also, monitoring employee location has different management implications and tools than monitoring employee productivity. As to knowing when an employee is at the job site, leaves the job site, and other physical tracking and clocking in, there are GPS and other electronic and/or telephonic systems that you can evaluate and choose from based on your needs and financial resources.
1. GPS tracking: There are systems that can be placed in vehicles and since these are small units are mobile enough to be used in a personal vehicle.
Tracking reports are dated and can be printed remotely from a computer attached to the internet, therefore could be used as time tracking in addition to location tracking. You can find several service providers and equipment providers by using an internet search engine like Google. Below are some we have located:

2. Interactive Voice Response: Dial in (using a cell phone or land line) systems for time tracking are also available that may meet your time clock needs (in and out) for your employees. The only issue with this system is you cannot verify if the employee is actually on the job site or where they enter their start and stop time. You can locate these systems on the internet also. Below are some we located:

Published: February 25, 2014

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Rick Gossett

As COO of Tarkenton Companies for more than 20 years, Rick has been responsible for business software development, unique partnerships, business educational content and consulting, and more. Rick was the originator of Tarkenton Companies’s consulting service and initially handled all of the questions himself. Prior to joining Tarkenton Companies, Rick owned and operated a private practice as a CPA. Prior to that, he was a Senior Manager at Pannell Kerr Forster in tax and audit, as well as Principal in Ernst & Young's small business advisory group.

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