Overtime and Working Off the Clock—What Your Boss Doesn’t Want You to Know

It happens all the time. You’ve clocked out, gathered your belongings, and are headed out the door when your boss says, “Oh, one more thing before you go…”

Of course, your boss doesn’t want you to take the time to clock back in. “It will just take a minute, please?” If you just want to get out of there and go home to relax, just doing it off the clock is tempting, but this is actually illegal. 

According to federal law, you must be compensated for every minute that you work, even if it is going to give you overtime pay. Here’s what you need to know about working off the clock and overtime.

Your employer cannot require you to work off the clock.

If you don’t want to take the time to clock back in to pull a file or make a quick call for a status update, that is entirely up to you. But if your employer refuses to allow you the time to clock in, that is illegal. It is also illegal for your boss to come to you right when you arrive and make you work before clocking in.

Your employer must pay you overtime.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires most employees to be compensated for every minute that they work, at a minimum wage, with overtime pay for anything over 40 hours of work in any given week. Even if your employer leaves overtime as optional, you still must be compensated for your work.

Not everyone qualifies.

There are a couple of different situations in which these standards may not apply to you. Employees that have commission-based contracts rather than an hourly wage are exempt from these rules. Farm workers are also exempt. Certain salaried positions may also be exempt from paying overtime.

If your employer has been making you work off the clock or if they are not compensating you fairly for overtime hours, contact us today to learn your legal rights.