Timesheets are incredibly important for both employers and employees. But understanding how to use them can be difficult. In this article, we will discuss what a timesheet is, how to use one, and what you should include in yours.

What is a timesheet?

A timesheet is an electronic or physical method for recording the time a worker spends on a specific job during a working day. They can be used to log total hours worked or time spent on a particular task.

Traditionally a timesheet would be in paper format with data arranged and inputted in a tabular format.

In modern business, timesheets can be digital in nature. Often this is a spreadsheet but can also take the form of specialist software.

What is a timesheet used for?

A timesheet is used to record the time spent on tasks, projects, or clients. They can be used to work out the pay an employee should receive or how much you need to charge a client. They can also be used for data analysis purposes so you better understand how much time your business is spending on specified tasks.

What should be on a timesheet?

Timesheets should follow a structure specific to their purpose. If you are recording the hours worked by an employee, then you might include:

  • The name of the employee
  • The period the timesheet covers (known as the pay period)
  • Day and date of the hours worked
  • Number of hours worked (can be specific to different tasks if required)
  • A place to total the number of hours worked that week
  • A place to record holidays and other paid time off.

If the timesheet is for a client, then you might include:

  • Name of client and any unique identifiers (customer number etc)
  • Day and date of the hours worked
  • Number of hours worked on each task
  • Rates of pay for the tasks
  • A place to total the number of hours worked for the client that week

What are the responsibilities of an employee and employer?

For an employer, there is no legal responsibility to complete a timesheet. But for HR, employee pay, client billing, and tax purposes, it is often prudent to implement a way to record hours worked. Failure to do so can lead to incorrect pay, an inability to bill a client, and taxation errors.

For an employee whose employer uses timesheets, it is vital that they complete them out correctly and on time. Fraudulently completing timesheets can lead to disciplinary or legal action. And filling them out incorrectly can lead to incorrect pay being paid.

Are timesheets required by law?

The quick answer is no. It is entirely possible (although inadvisable) for an employer to record the hours worked by an employee or for a client based on an agreed practice, for example, a verbal submission. This is not recommended as any issues can be hard to resolve with no recorded evidence.

What are the legal requirements?

As mentioned previously, there is no legal requirement to record an employee’s worked hours in a timesheet. There may, however, be other statutory requirements that necessitate the recording of time spent on a job. For example, you may work in an industry where the hours worked are governed by health and safety laws.

Your employer is required to record how much they pay you (whether this is in timesheet form or otherwise) for tax and National Insurance purposes.

In addition, try Papershift’s Time Tracking software to automate timesheets and payroll.