You’re the only one left at work one evening, at the end of the day, and there are still some tasks to get done. You believe that your boss would be frustrated if they came in the next day and found out that no one had accomplished these tasks. Once you go over your eight hours for the day, you work some overtime to get the job done.
As you do this, you motivate yourself by thinking about how you’re making extra money. But when you put that on your time card, your boss says they didn’t know about the overtime and they never authorized it, so you’re not going to be paid for the extra time. Can they do this?
Unauthorized overtime (usually) still needs to be paid
As a general rule, all overtime hours have to be paid, whether or not they were authorized by the employer. They need to be paid out at the normal overtime rate of time and a half. Someone making $30 an hour regularly would make $45 an hour for overtime.
This does not mean that your employer can’t punish you in some way for doing this work without getting authorization first. If your employer had a policy that you violated, they can take action, such as writing you up.
However, if your employer should have known that you would be required to work overtime and simply didn’t do anything about it, you’re still entitled to it. All that you are prohibited from doing is intentionally trying to hide the overtime hours until you put them in your paysheet.
Unfortunately, your situation could get complicated if your employer is refusing to pay. Make sure you know exactly what legal options you have.