Both hourly workers and non-exempt salaried workers have the right to overtime pay under federal law. If a company requires that a worker perform more than 40 hours worth of work within a given workweek, that worker should receive at least 150% of their average weekly wage.
Exempt salaried workers make enough money that they do not necessarily have a claim to overtime unless their employer offers it as a perk. However, many workers should receive overtime when they have to put in extra hours at work. Companies will sometimes break the law in their eagerness to keep their staffing costs low. What are some of the ways that a business might violate your right to overtime wages?
Claiming you are exempt when you are not
You have to make a decent salary for your employer to avoid paying you overtime for excess work. Low salaries do not necessarily exempt you from overtime pay requirements. If you don’t make at least $684 a week, which adds up to $35,568 per year, you should receive overtime wages despite being a salaried employee.
Requiring that you do work off the clock
You should be able to clock in right when you get to work and get paid for the entire time that you are there. It is not fair or reasonable for your employer to expect you to perform routine job tasks without compensation.
Asking you to come early to do prep work or to stay late for cleaning means that they should pay you for that time. If your company habitually requires that you work off the clock, they may have stolen overtime wages from you because of the additional type not on the payroll records.
Altering time clock records to avoid responsibilities
Timekeeping software has made it easier than ever before for employers to make hard-to-notice changes to a worker’s time clock information. You won’t have a physical record of clocking in and out to compare to your paycheck.
If your boss deducts five minutes from your shift, you may not notice that change on your paycheck. However, if they make that kind of alteration to most of the shifts that you work, those deducted minutes might eventually add up to many hours of labor over the year.
Companies that don’t want to pay overtime wages should offer competitive salaries and have strict rules that prevent workers from putting in more than 40 hours per week. They should not try to retroactively prevent someone from receiving overtime pay for what time they already worked. Recognizing some of the more common forms of overtime wages theft can help you get paid for the work you have already done.