As an employee, you expect to receive compensation for every hour you work. Furthermore, you hope that your employer never puts you in the compromising position of asking you to work off the clock.
Working off the clock is exactly what it sounds like: You perform job-related duties for your employer which are not compensated.
This takes on many forms, including but not limited to the following:
- Unpaid preparation or close down: For example, setting up your place of employment before others arrive may be part of your job. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re compensated for the hours you work.
- Unpaid rework: Depending on your profession, there may be times when your employer asks you to rework a project, such as to correct mistakes or add newly found information. They cannot request that you complete this work off the clock.
- Unpaid administrative work: This is one of the most common forms of working off the clock, as it includes things such as meeting with co-workers and filing paperwork.
- Unpaid training: Training is a big part of almost every job, and you should receive compensation during the time that you formally put into the process. Your employer should not request that you partake in training without compensation.
What can you do about it?
If you’ve worked off the clock in the past and/or your employer is requesting that you do so in the future, it’s critical to take action to protect your legal rights as an employee.
Requiring you to work off the clock is against the law, so you have every right to take legal action with the idea of obtaining compensation for back pay and other damages.
The first thing you should do is discuss your concerns with your supervisor, company owner and/or HR department. If that doesn’t result in a resolution, you can then decide how to protect your rights by involving the legal system.
There’s a big difference between working hard and going the extra mile and letting your employer take advantage of you. If working off the clock has become a part of your workday, it’s time to take action.