One common issue that we often see resulting in claims for unpaid overtime occurs when employees are not being compensated for time working before the scheduled start, or after the scheduled end, of their shifts. Many employers pay employees based on their scheduled shifts rather than based on the time they are on the clock working before and/or after their shifts.
Employees must be generally compensated for time spent working before the scheduled start of their shifts.
When an employee voluntarily arrives before the scheduled start of their shift, they do not have to be compensated unless they are performing work. However, once an employee begins their first work activity, then they should start being paid. Sometimes, the first work activity coincides with the time when the employee clocks in, but that is not always the case. If the employee clocks in as they begin performing their first work activity, then there will be a record of the start time when the employee should get paid.
There are many instances when employees begin working prior to the scheduled start of their shifts, but they do not clock in because they are prohibited from clocking in early by their employer. Regardless of whether employees are performing work prior to the scheduled start of their shifts on-the-clock or not, employees are still entitled to be paid for this time spent working.
Do I have to be paid for time spent working beyond the end of my scheduled shift?
Yes. As with pre-shift work, employees must be paid for time spent working post-shift or after the scheduled end of their shift. This is true whether employees are performing the post-shift work on-the-clock (before clocking out) or off-the-clock (after clocking out). So, even if your employer requires you to clock out at the scheduled end of your shift, you are still entitled to be paid for time spent working after you clock out.
One issue that employees may encounter is off-the-clock training (such as at home training) or off-the-clock work performed on the job site or even at home. Employees are entitled to be paid regardless of whether the work is performed after the scheduled end of their shifts.
What if my employer does not approve of the time spent working or it has not requested me to work outside of my scheduled shift?
An employee who performs work before the scheduled start or after the scheduled end of their shift is entitled to compensation for their pre-shift or post-shift work regardless of whether the work is approved or requested by your employer. The definition of employ means to suffer or permit to work. Therefore, employees must be paid for time spent working prior to the scheduled start or after the scheduled end of their shifts. This includes situations where an employee stays to cover for an employee who has not reported to work on time, where employees are required to attend pre-shift meetings, where employees perform certain pre-shift preparatory work, and/or where employees perform certain post-shift preparatory work.
If you have questions about whether you should be paid for pre-shift or post-shift work, contact us.
Our wage and hour lawyers are experienced with investigating and filing cases for employees who have not been paid for pre-shift or post-shift work. Unfortunately, it is common for employers not to pay employees for all time spent working, including work time before the scheduled start or after the scheduled end of their shifts. The failure to pay employees for all work time regularly results in claims of unpaid overtime and can also result in additional damages. We are here to provide aggressive representation to enforce employees’ rights to be paid properly and fully in accordance with federal and state wage and hour laws. Our Overtime Attorneys regularly file cases for unpaid overtime on an individual or class basis for employees who have not been paid for all work time, including pre-shift or post-shift work. Contact us today for a FREE and confidential consultation about your right to be paid the overtime wages you have earned.