Hourly employees may not know what their paycheck will look like until they see their schedule for the week. Many workers are eager to put in as many hours as possible to have the largest paycheck. Overtime wages can absolutely increase someone’s take-home pay, which makes them desirable for workers.
However, given that overtime pay costs an employer at least 150% of what they usually pay a worker for their time, many organizations are eager to avoid overtime. In fact, many companies utilize illegal policies in an effort to avoid paying the amount that they should for the work they receive from some of their hardest-working employees.
Trainers who help to educate new employees at a business will often teach them to do things that violate their rights and the law. For example, it may be common practice for everyone to show up for work 10 minutes early to do cleaning or prep work. It may also be the expectation that everyone clocks out before finishing the closing procedures at their workstation. Those company practices might actually open the business up to sizable overtime wage claims.
Hourly workers should not need to do their jobs off the clock
Companies can expect that salaried workers will go above and beyond because their employment arrangement provides them with more stability and often with better wages and benefits. However, they cannot put the same demands on their hourly workers unless they appropriately compensate them. Wage laws entitle hourly workers to full pay for time worked and overtime wages when appropriate.
The longer someone has worked at a company, the more money those 10 or 15 minutes of unpaid work per shift can represent. Workers can potentially request not just payment for the hours worked but also overtime wages when that extra time would have put them over the 40-hour limit for a specific work week.
Wage claims can improve work conditions
People often worry about rocking the boat where they work. They think that if they demand their rights that the company will punish them. However, it is illegal for businesses to retaliate against workers who assert their right to fair wages. Beyond that, employees deserve the pay guaranteed to them under federal law. Those who pursue wage claims related to work performed off the clock can connect with the money they should have earned in the first place. They can also potentially force a change of practices at the company so that it doesn’t continue taking advantage of its hourly workers.
Recognizing off-the-clock work as a potential reason to pursue an overtime wage claim can benefit hourly and non-exempt salaried workers who have completed uncompensated work for their employers.