Track Your Overtime Hours Or Potentially Risk Losing Money!

Tracking your overtime hours is probably the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day at work but let me tell you it’s worth it. I’m one of those blokes who used to rely on the computer system to get it right, but not any more.  When you’ve worked countless hours dragging your butt out of work and right into the shower to relax is paramount to writing down your work hours. That’s what I used to do but not any more.  I try not to think of the amount of money I potentially lost simply but not checking my pay stubs against an overtime tracking system.

Some people I know would track their work hours on a piece of paper and put it in their wallet. I though why are you even bothering to do that. They were the smart one’s not me.  Mrs. CBB started asking for my pay stubs each week as she typically would find them tossed in a drawer. (the man drawer… we all have them)

You would think I’m well-organized and believe me I am, just not with pay stubs. *that’s changed*  I admit I was tired of listening to her chatting off my ear about leaving them around. Well then she started reading them and asked me if I was tracking my overtime. I didn’t know what to say as I thought, man oh man she’s going to dig into me for this one.   I’m not perfect and we all should admit our faults but also improve on them.

It wasn’t until we actually sat down during our weekly budget session and noticed that 3 hours was missing from my pay from training that I had done. I have done a lot of travelling and  training as it’s an ongoing process in my career and it seems like 3 hours of it was almost done for free.  Thank goodness we caught the error but it really jolted us into high gear when it came to our finances. We work so hard to save yet something so simple was being overlooked. We rely so much on technology today that we believe that errors are not imminent, but they are, even by humans.

Mrs.CBB told me a time when she was younger working at a coffee shop and she picked up her weekly pay and thought she struck gold. Visions of shopping at the mall, new clothes, CD’s ,make-up whirled around in her head. That didn’t last long ,for one she would never blow money like that and it wasn’t her money to spend. Opening her pay to see she net over $3000.00 for a 2 week period made her happy if not euphoric in a way. She says it was almost a wake up call for her. She really wanted to net more money and knew that to feel that excitement again she would have to work very hard in school. Amazing how someone can think outside the box sometimes even if it involves feelings.

Who knew pouring coffee and dipping donuts was such a lucrative career?  What happened? Instead of paying her $6.40 an hour she was paid $64.00 an hour plus all the overtime she worked in that period.  Was it a computer glitch or human error, we will never know? We always say how important it is to check your receipts before you leave the grocery shop and this is just the same.

Yes, she immediately gave the money back and told her boss right away about the error and then all her shopoholic visions disappeared. I’m sure eventually they would have figured it out, but what if they didn’t? This leads to another issue if you are a business owner.

What Quality Control procedures do you have in place for your company?

  • Are your pay roll systems being monitored or checked for accuracy?
  • How is this process standardized to make sure the company is not losing money?
  • What database software tracking systems do you have in place- vacation tracking systems, hour tracking systems.
  • Who should be checking for these errors and how can we ensure they are checked?
  • What if it was happening to more than one employee?
  • What can we do to improve?

Making sure quality control standardized procedures are in place are paramount for any business in my opinion.This brings me back to the 5s  organization of my environment and why it is crucial. I’ve learned the hard way and continue to learn from others and from my mistakes. You should try to visit these procedures often to see if they are working. Time is money yes, but losing money is a waste of time.

So to make sure we as a couple are tracking not only our overtime but regular hours we designed a simple free downloadable overtime tracking sheet . You can also use this as a web-based time sheet to track your hours. We know we all want to just get out the door after a long day and spend the least amount of time possible at work after work. So, what we do is post this overtime tracking sheet on our refrigerator and when we get home we fill it in. It’s easier when we see the sheet as the good old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ might get in the way for us. When we get our pay we check the hours paid to us against what we have on our overtime tracking sheet.

The tracking sheet has been great and I caught 1 hour missing from one of my pay checks not because of computer error but because I failed to report it at work but reported it on my overtime tracking sheet. See, errors do happen, whether it’s computer or human we all need to track our regular and overtime hours so we aren’t losing money we worked hard for.

How do you track your hours at work? Have you ever found any errors?

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Photos not watermarked courtesy of: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


  1. Even if you’re on salary, you should keep track of your hours. If you’re consistently putting in more hours than you’re paid for, then that’s something you can bring up at your next salary review and potentially earn a raise. Or if it’s a short term project that requires more hours, you might be able to use those “overtime” hours to get an extra day off.

    • Great point CF! I don’t think many people think to do this but if one is putting in more hours then you should know about it and bring it up like you mention. I always say any time one has to pay out money or earns it always track it.. Cheers and thanks for dropping in and commenting with a great point. Cheers Mr.CBB

  2. Joanna Cheevers says:

    Nice post. It amazes me how some people don’t even look at their pay stub when given it, they just want to know when their pay will be deposited in their account without even considering that there could be a mistake. We don’t tend to go into overtime at my work but I do keep track of my hours and compare it to my pay stub. We have to use a time clock at work. I just photocopy my card before handing it in and compare that to my pay. Can’t say I’ve ever really had a problem but still like to keep track. Thanks!

    • You are right Joanna and it’s not only overtime it could easily happen with regular hours. You never know if there is a computer glitch or human error. It pays to read your pay cheque. It doesn’t matter how one tracks it as long as there is some sort of method to checking the hours against hours worked. Good for you. Cheers Joanna and thanks for the comment. Mr.CBB

  3. Christine Weadick says:

    What we do is have a calender hanging in the kitchen and everything is put on that sucker….. some one has a doctor’s appointment…. on the calender, overtime…… on the calender….. go fishing after work…. record the catch on the calender. This is the free Milk calender we get every year and I save it for the recipes so we have a few years worth of everything recorded on the calender…. It’s in plain sight as you walk in the back door, walk in, drop the lunch pail and record the O/T….. Nice little habit!!!

    • Ha, Ya we have a calendar on the wall as well but it always seems to get filled up and it’s hard to make heads or tails of it sometimes. That’s why we designed the simple sheet to put on the refrigerator or in a binder to write the times in. I didn’t want to have to battle through dentist appointments, etc to find the numbers. You know the calendars that people stroke off what they did and didn’t do and it looks like a bomb went off, that’s our chaotic organization for day to day activities lol…. Cheers Christine! Mr.CBB

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