Of all the financial damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, unpaid overtime is one factor that is hitting hourly workers hard. According to a study by the ADP Research Institute, employees are putting in a full day of work per week, on average, of unpaid overtime. Some workers face even worse circumstances. One in ten employees is putting in an average of twenty hours per week in free time. That is, they are not getting paid at all!
More work, fewer workers
The pandemic has brought about seismic shifts in the employment landscape. Labor shortages have left many employees to make up hours for colleagues who have left or who have gotten sick. Some industries, such as health care, have seen a dramatic increase in workload combined with staff shortages. This combination of factors has resulted in some workers taking on the burden of increased labor, but not all are willing to talk about it.
Afraid to lose their jobs
Why aren’t more workers coming forward with unpaid overtime claims? In many cases, it’s because they are afraid to lose their employment altogether. Kevin Rockman, a professor of management at George Mason University says it should not be the employee’s responsibility to track overtime pay. “Managers have a responsibility to know how much their employees are working,” he said. “It’s lazy and irresponsible to leave it up to the employee to tell the manager whether overtime has been used.”
Laws are designed to protect you
If you have worked overtime and not been paid for it, you should know that you have important rights. Employment laws are in place to protect you and apply during normal times as well as the relatively chaotic times we have seen in the past two years.