What Are My Rights for “Working Off-The-Clock?"

woman in front of laptop

There are many reasons why employees put in extra time at work. Whether an employee stays late to meet a project deadline or comes in early to get ahead on their workload, they are entitled to compensation for the work done.

While employment law can be tricky, the bottom line is that when an employee works more than 40 hours in one week, the employer is required by law to compensate the employee. Here’s how California labor laws protect employees from being forced to work off-the-clock without compensation.

What is Considered “Working Off-The-Clock?”

Off-the-clock work happens when an employee performs work for an employer, with the employer’s knowledge, without being paid. The following are examples of off-the-clock work:

  • Pre-shift work - preparing the opening of a restaurant or worksite
  • Post-shift labor - cleanup of job sites
  • Completing paperwork
  • Working during meals and breaks

How Employees Are Protected

All non-exempt employees in California are entitled to overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in their workweek. Despite popular belief, some salaried employees under California’s white-collar exemption are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per workweek. Understanding how “off-the-clock” claims work for salaried employees can be confusing. If you are an exempt employee and think you are owed pay for off-the-clock work, contact an employment lawyer to learn your rights.

The Responsibilities of the Employer

Unfortunately, many employers know when an employee is working off-the-clock but chooses to ignore it to avoid paying overtime. Federal and state labor laws are in place to hold employers accountable in paying employees for off-the-clock work. An employer is also responsible for:

  • Paying employees no less than minimum wage
  • Paying employees overtime for working more than 40 hours in a workweek
  • Keep records of hours, wages, and other wage information

What to Do If You Haven’t Been Compensated for “Off-the-Clock” Work

If you think your employer has violated working off-the-clock laws, you should inform your supervisor, human resources, or the payroll department.

If your attempt to solve the problem internally is not rectified, enlist the help of an experienced employment attorney immediately. Your attorney can guide you in the right direction on how you can receive the pay that you deserve.

If you’ve been forced to work off the clock, you have the right to be compensated for those hours. Contact us today at (888) 796-4010 to learn more about your employment rights.

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