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The problems with working 'off the clock'

While the major political conventions haven’t mentioned it, the job market is slowing slightly. This may mean that companies are ambivalent about hiring given the uncertainty of the economy, or they have reached capacity (temporarily). Because of this, some new employees may feel pressure to make a good impression in order to maintain job security.

With that, some employees may be tempted to do extra work; commonly known as working “off the clock.” Other times, unsuspecting and unwitting employees are asked to work extra before clocking in. Most employees won’t complain. After all, they need the job, and they may be under the impression that they are being paid extra. All of this may lead to a horrible disappointment once their paycheck arrives. 

Regardless of how long you have been with a particular employer, you should know that if you are asked to work “off the clock” or to prepare things before your shift begins, you have a right to be paid. As we have noted in other wage and hour posts, a standard 40 hour work week is established through federal law, and when an employee exceeds these hours in a particular week, he or she is entitled to be paid at one and a half times their hourly rate.  Further, California law sets forth an eight-hour workday. In some circumstances, when an employee works more than eight hours in a day, he or she may be entitled to one and a half times their hourly rate.

So while you may want to work extra hours as a way of fitting in, you should be wary of being asked, or required, to work without noting your hours on your timesheet.

The preceding is not intended to be legal advice. 

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