As a general rule, it is illegal for workers to not be paid for their labor. At a minimum, employees must be paid for every hour they work. Additionally, they are entitled to receive overtime pay if they work over 40 hours in a given week. In some cases, employers are required, per the Fair Labor Standards Act, to pay workers even if they weren’t requested or required to do so.

For example, someone who stays late to help a colleague could be entitled to be compensated for his or her time. Employers could also be required to pay workers who stay late to correct an error or start a job over from scratch. Individuals may also need to be paid for time spent on the job between tasks or waiting for their tasks to begin.

Other examples of work that a person might not be paid for include preparing a job site before a shift starts or cleaning up after it ends. Those who have to travel to drop off equipment may not be paid for the time for which they should receive pay. Employers are encouraged to have a written policy as it relates to working off the clock to reduce their liability. Employees who file successful wage complaints could obtain back pay plus other damages.

Individuals must be paid a minimum wage when providing services for an employer. Those who were not paid for services provided to an employer may wish to file a complaint with the Department of Labor. An attorney may assist those who believe that they are victims of violations relating to wage and hour laws. Payroll records and other evidence might be used to help an employee bolster his or her case.