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Are you legally required to work off the clock?

As an employee, you understand the importance of going above and beyond for your employer. While this is admirable, it's imperative that you're never taken advantage of.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself working off the clock. Maybe you do this on your own because you need to complete an important project before an upcoming deadline. Or maybe your supervisor asks you to do so, as they need some additional assistance once the workday comes to an end.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.

While some employees are exempt from the FLSA's requirements, such as executives, it covers the majority of people.

There are many types of off the clock work

Some employees have a difficult time determining if they're actually working off the clock. This can take on many forms, including the following:

  • Unpaid preparation: An example of this is loading a truck or setting up a workspace before the day begins.
  • Unpaid administrative work: Things such as completing paperwork after hours, reviewing charts or holding meetings.
  • Training: You should receive compensation for any required training, even if it takes place before or after work hours.

Now that you understand some of the many forms of working off the clock, you may realize you've done this in the past.

What to do next

Since you want to protect your legal rights as an employee, it's imperative to put an end to your off the clock work as soon as possible.

To start, consult with your HR department. They may realize they've made a mistake in the past, and immediately search for a solution.

If this doesn't work, you have the legal right to file a complaint with the Department of Labor. Not only will this hold your employer responsible, but it may also help you recover any back wages for the past three years.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees don't work off the clock. They should never allow workers to do this. Just the same, they should never require a worker to do this.

If you're owed money for working off the clock, look into your legal rights and take immediate action. You should fight for the compensation you deserve.

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