If you work for an hourly wage, the time that you spend working is very important. If, like most workers, you are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you will have the right to be paid overtime when you are working more than 40 hours in a week. The FLSA offers many additional legal protections for those who work for an hourly wage. This includes the right to minimum wage, break times and the right to be paid for all hours worked.
If you get paid by the hour but you believe that not all of the time you spend working is included, you may be working “off the clock.” Working off the clock means that some of the time you spend working is not being compensated for. This could mean that you are missing out on wages, or potentially not qualifying for overtime pay when you otherwise should. Therefore, it’s important that you understand your rights under the FLSA and that you take appropriate action to gain the payment that you are owed.
What are the most common types of off-the-clock work?
There are many types of off-the-clock work. If you arrive at work and start making preparations before your shift starts, this is likely to be a form of off-the-clock work. For example, you may start preparing a worksite, setting up a restaurant or finishing up tasks after your shift has been completed. If you work for an hourly wage, any time spent on these types of tasks should be included as paid time.
If you work in a nail salon or another job where you wait to serve clients, you should be paid for the time that you have to wait to work. For example, if you work for six hours in a nail salon but are only actively working with a client for three of those hours, your employer still owes you wages for six hours of work.
Off-the-clock work is often illegal. Therefore, make sure that you take action if you believe that you have not been paid what you should. Doing so could entitle you to recover up to three years of back pay.