Should you be paid overtime for small tasks?

With Thanksgiving dinner put away, more people are focused on Black Friday sales that start on Thursday night. This is the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season, and retailers have been preparing for the past two months by hiring additional help.

For those who are newly hired, it is natural to want to make a good impression and do as much as possible to earn kudos. Because of this, some employers may want employees to work “off the clock” by taking on seemingly simple tasks or like setting up displays or making last minute checks before a store opens.

While these tasks may not seem like much, they add up over the course of a pay period…or even the holiday season. Essentially, some employees may be deprived of a substantial amount of money.

So what are temporary holiday workers to do in these situations?

Holiday temp workers should know that they can be asked to complete additional tasks outside of their regular hours, but they have a right to additional compensation as well. The Fair Labor Standards Act states that a standard work week is 40 hours. So any additional hours of worked (or expected to be worked) must be paid at time-and –a-half. For those who may not work an entire work week, an official work day under California law is eight hours. Any hours worked exceeding this daily standard must also be paid at time-and-a-half.

For those asked to perform additional tasks in preparation for a shift, or to stay late to clean up, be mindful of whether you are being properly compensated.  

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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