If you are an employer with multiple hourly workers, it can be challenging to calculate pay if they work only a fraction of an hour. To pay employees working for partial hours, you need to know how to convert minutes for payroll. Failing to convert minutes when calculating pay causes errors and creates more work on the back-end. However, it’s simple if you know how to express minutes as decimals. Once time worked is converted into decimal form, such as 4.35 hours, you can multiply by the pay rate and find total wages due.
Steps Employer Must Follow to Convert Minutes to Payroll
To be sure you’re not over or underpaying your employees, you must convert minutes worked into decimals. To perform the conversion, you can use payroll software like Gusto, an online time calculator, free minute conversion chart or a Google Sheets Minute Conversion Template.
Our free minute conversion chart will show you the corresponding decimal for minutes one through 60 to help you calculate gross pay accurately and quickly based on actual hours worked.
Pro Tip: You can convert minutes to decimals for payroll in three steps, but you’ll have to decide whether to use actual hours worked or hours rounded to the nearest quarter as allowed by federal law. It’s better to use actual hours because rounding can cause you to pay more than necessary for wages and overtime. We’ll show you how later in this article.
Here are the steps you should follow to convert your employees’ minutes worked into decimal form and dollars to be paid:
1. Calculate Total Working Hours and Minutes
Calculating total hours worked is usually straightforward if you have a time-tracking system (pen-and-paper, time clock, spreadsheet, etc.); however, if your policy requires you to round employee hours to the nearest quarter, as the Department of Labor allows, it can be tricky.
Actual Hours Worked
To calculate the actual time worked, you need to total the hours and minutes between your employee’s starting and ending times for each workday. The timesheet below provides a good example of the information you’ll start with before converting minutes to decimal form.
Please note: If your business has one physical location, you can track actual hours worked much easier by using a free employee time clock, like Homebase . Employees can use it to clock in and out on their phones, and it performs all of the calculations and minute conversions for you.
Example Time Sheet
|Clock In-Clock Out|
In the time sheet above, the employee worked 38 hours and 109 minutes or 39 hours and 49 minutes.
Hours: 8 + 8 + 8 + 7 + 7 = 38 hours
Minutes: 0 + 6 + 4 + 42 + 57 = 109 minutes
You can convert 60 minutes of the 109 minutes to one hour to make it easier for you to translate minutes into decimals in the next step (109 minutes – 60 minutes = 49 minutes; 38 hours + one hour = 39 hours).
Rounding Hours Worked to Quarters
Federal law gives employers the option to calculate wages using actual hours worked and rounded hours worked when processing payroll. It’s up to you which method you prefer, but should you choose the rounding method, you need to know how to round correctly to maintain compliance.
You’re allowed to round employee time to the nearest quarter-hour. A quarter of an hour is 15 minutes, and there are four in each hour, i.e., 0:15, 0:30, 0:45, 0:00. If your employee clocks in at any time not in a quarter, you can round. However, you can only round up to the next quarter if the time is from eight to 14 minutes past the previous quarter. If your employee’s time is from one to seven minutes past the previous quarter, you must round back down.
Let’s use the sample timesheet above in an example to round hours worked:
Example: On Tuesday, your employee clocks in at 8:04 a.m. He leaves at 4:10 p.m. and doesn’t take a break. The actual time worked is eight hours and six minutes. Rounded hours worked are eight hours and 15 minutes.
- 8:04 a.m. must be rounded down to 8 a.m. because it’s not more than seven minutes past the previous quarter (8 a.m.).
- 4:10 p.m. must be rounded up to 4:15 p.m. because it’s more than seven minutes past the previous quarter (4 p.m.).
- The employee’s time sheet would reflect 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., nine minutes more than actually worked.
The differences that arise with rounding your employees’ working hours can add up over time. In our example, it was in the employee’s favor, which meant you would be paying for more time than was actually worked. Paying for an additional nine minutes for three days a week throughout the 52 weeks in a year would equal an extra 468 minutes or seven hours and 48 minutes of non-working time you’d be paying for.
Pro Tip: The impact of rounding can be inconsistent each week, depending on your employees’ work habits, so it’s not the best idea to adopt a policy of rounding hours worked in hopes of manipulating it in your favor.
2. Convert Minutes to Decimals
Converting minutes to decimals is as simple as dividing minutes by 60. The good news is you can skip that step if you use our minute conversion chart. In the chart, simply find the minutes worked, between one and 60, and the decimal equivalent will be to its immediate right. For instance, the decimal equivalent of 1 is 0.02. Once you have the decimal, add it to the number of hours worked.
Let’s look at the sample time sheet again (see below) and convert Tuesday’s actual time worked to a decimal. The employee worked eight hours and six minutes. Per the minute conversion chart, six minutes is the same as 0.1. Add the decimal to the number of hours worked to get the total time worked in numeric forms, like this: eight hours + 0.1 hours = 8.1 hours. The employee worked 8.1 hours Tuesday.
Example Time Sheet
|Clock In-Clock Out|
In the two examples we just reviewed, the difference between converting minutes to decimals the wrong way versus the right way is that you short pay an employee for $3.52. If you make the same mistake five days a week for 52 weeks of the year, that could lead to a $915.20 liability you will owe in wages, not to mention the additional payroll taxes you will need to pay.
3. Multiply Time Calculated and Wage Rate
Now you’re ready to use the time you converted into decimal form to calculate how much you need to pay your employee. Let’s assume the employee’s hourly wage is $14.25. You owe $115.43 for the hours worked Tuesday.
$14.25 (hourly wage) X 8.1 (time in decimal form) = $115.43
For more help with payroll calculations, check out our article on how to calculate payroll.
Contrary to what some find difficult, converting minutes for payroll is easy. It just depends on whether you use rounded or actual hours worked, how you track working hours, and what tools you use to calculate. Your main goal is to translate time worked into decimal form, so you can multiply by your employee’s pay rate and find how much you owe in wages.
Gusto tracks employee time and attendance and automatically processes payroll without performing any manual calculations. Employees can clock in and out from their mobile devices and even monitor hours spent on projects to get a detailed cost report of wages, taxes, and more. Sign up for a 30-day trial today.