It's not uncommon for an employer to request an employee to work off the clock. While this sounds innocent enough, it's something you should fight against. You are not required to work off the clock, and there are laws in place to protect you against this.
The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a variety of protections for workers, including those associated with overtime. Under this regulation, all non-exempt employees are legally entitled to receive compensation for all hours worked.
Common examples of working off the clock
Working off the clock comes in many forms. Common examples include:
- Unpaid preparation and post-shift work: For example, setting up a workspace before other employees arrive or cleaning up after the day is over. You should receive payment for all preparation and post-shift work.
- Unpaid administrative work: Examples include training on your own time, reviewing workplace documents after hours or meeting with management. This type of administrative work has a way of piling up, thus leading you to work many hours off the clock.
- Unpaid rework: There may come a time when your employer asks you to redo a particular task. This is acceptable, but only if they pay you for doing so. You shouldn't have to redo a task without pay.
How to recover back wages
If working off the clock is commonplace at your company, it's time to take action with the idea of recovering back wages.
The first thing you should do is file a complaint with your HR department. They can conduct an investigation into your claim and provide you with information on their findings. This is often enough for you to get the money you deserve.
If your company is unwilling to cooperate, it's time to file a complaint with the Department of Labor. Depending on its findings, you may be able to recover back wages for a period of up to three years.
Regardless of the reason for working off the clock, it is not permitted. Rather than let your employer get free labor, take steps to protect your legal rights.
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