Lesson 16: Timesheet

Activity: Timesheet

Key Considerations

Employers use a variety of methods for having employees record the time spent performing a job or working. The amount of time working is recorded per day and is used by the payroll department to pay an employee. Timesheets are submitted at the end of the timesheet period and those dates are determined by the employer. Employers typically require supervisors to approve their employee’s timesheets by signing them before they are submitted to payroll.

Most employers use a digital document or a spreadsheet for having employees record their time. However, some employers still use paper based timesheets. If you are required to complete a handwritten timesheet, it is important you do so legibly and that you take care of your spreadsheet keeping it free of coffee, food stains, and wrinkling. Your timesheet is a reflection of your work and if your timesheet is sloppy and difficult to read, you risk the payroll department not paying you until you submit a legible timesheet. If your employer uses a timesheet which is not accessible, have a conversation with your employer about how you can record your time in a manner which allows you to do so independently and confidentially.

Some businesses use time cards which require employees to insert their time card into a time stamping machine when starting and ending their work shift. Other employers require employees to track the amount of time spent working on a particular task and this data can be used for billing and estimating the duration of a project. For example, an employer may require an employee to report how many hours he spent in a workday with tasks related to providing customer service and training employees. This data could be used to perhaps hire an additional staff member if the designated employee was not able to spend time on a priority identified by the employer such as training.

A timesheet typically includes basic information such as the day of the week, date, and the time you began working, the time you stopped working to take your lunch break, the time you returned to work after your lunch break, and the time you finished working for the day. At the end of each day, there is a space for you to specify how many hours you worked for the day. Electronic timesheets will often have a formula which automatically generates this time for you. It is imperative you accurately record the hours you work. Your signature on your timesheet is your acknowledgement you worked the hours which are recorded on your timesheet. Inaccurately recording your time or reporting hours you did not work, could cause you to be terminated by your employer.


If you have been hired for a work experience, internship, or are volunteering your time, you can use the timesheet to track your hours. Delete the information in all of the columns of the timesheet for a blank working document. Formulas in the daily hour total and the total hours reported column will generate the daily and weekly total hours worked. The time should be entered in using the full notation for the hour such as 8:00 AM instead of 8 AM.

Download the Weekly Employee Timesheet and practice completing your sample timesheet using the information below.

Time in 7:00 AM, Time out 11:30 AM, Time in 12:00 PM, Time out 3:00 PM

Time in 9:00 AM, Time out 1:00 PM

Time in 7:00 AM, Time out 11:30 AM, Time in 12:00 PM, Time out 3:30 PM

Out sick

Time in 7:00 AM, Time out 11:30 AM, Time in 12:00 PM, Time out 2:00 PM

How many hours did you work the week of 6/12/16?