People may not be concerned with the holiday shopping season right now. After all, it is the middle of October, and most retailers are focusing on moving Halloween decorations and candy. But soon enough, hiring for the holiday season will begin in earnest. When that happens, it is very likely that some employers will take advantage of eager, yet naïve workers and ask them to work “off the clock.”

The nature of the work may seem menial and innocent, such as set up duties or making last checks before closing. However, the minutes spent start to add up over the course of the shopping season. More importantly, workers may be leaving money on the table.

In these situations, what is a worker to do?

Holiday workers should understand that an employer can ask to perform additional work outside of their regular hours, but the additional work may be compensated at overtime rates.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a standard work week is 40 hours. As such, any hours of work that exceed this standard must be paid at time-and –a-half. Additionally, California state law establishes an eight hour workday. Any hours worked exceeding this daily standard must also be paid at time-and-a-half.

So while you may be asked to come in early to prepare for your shift, stay late to clean up after your shift, take additional time loading supplies or even take inventory on short notice, you have a right to be paid fairly for your labor. If you are asked to do so “off the clock”, speak with an experienced employment law attorney.

The preceding is not legal advice.