There has been a huge focus on proper recordation of time, so it seemed like a good time to review when it is appropriate to record time in 15 minute increments. Basically, employees are permitted to record 15 minute increments of time worked in determining their total hours for the work day, and for recordation and use of sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time and credit hours.
For patent examiners, examining time can also be recorded in 15 minute increments. Non-examining time is another story. There is a long standing practice of recording non-examining or “other” time only in full hours. The practice has been to add up shorter time periods into full hours or to round up or down to a full hour. This practice is intended to protect examiners from only receiving 15 minutes for events that are much more disruptive to their examination time. It also eliminates discussions about time for disruptions that are truly de minimis.
There is an exception to this practice for examiners serving details who have no examining time in their day. These examiners are permitted to claim their detail time in 15 minute increments since for these examiners, the time spent on detail is analogous to their examining time.
So to follow the rule, remember to record your “other” time in full hours.