Most laws require that employees be paid for all time spent performing activities which benefit their employers. This means compensation for activities performed by you before your shift, during unpaid meal breaks and after the work day. Getting paid for all of your back wages and overtime is important for you and your family.
Working “Off the Clock”
In many jobs, employees have certain tasks that must be performed before they can begin or finish their job. Examples include picking up equipment or instructions/work plans before driving to the job site, donning, doffing, and/or cleaning safety equipment or gear, waiting at a computer to log in or out, cleaning up at the end of a shift, or other similar tasks that benefit the employer and their business.
Some employers try to avoid paying wages for this time, claiming that it is “off the clock.” Other employers alter your time sheets or pay you for only your scheduled hours—not the hours you spend working. The law says these kind of practices are illegal and requires employers to pay you for all of the hours that you work.
All job related activities that benefit the employer and are associated with the job should be part of the employee’s paid time. The employer is required to pay the employee for any activity that is considered part of the job or otherwise benefits the employer. These kinds of activities include:
- Pre-Shift and Post-Shift Activities
- Post-Shift Cleanup of Equipment or Clothing
- Attending meetings, training, physicals or drug tests outside of regularly scheduled workday
- Performing work during your unpaid meal period or break such as answering the phone, working on your computer or conducting sales
- Donning, doffing and/or cleaning employer required gear, clothing or equipment
- Moblizing to and from the job site
- Working from home
- Emailing after hours
- Training classes
Sometimes employers misunderstand the requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); other times, unfortunately, employers profit by underpaying their staff by requiring “off the clock.” In either case, if you or someone you love is owed back pay, assert your right to be paid for all of the time you worked – you earned it.