Working Off the Clock

Barkan Meizlish , May 14, 2015

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employees to be paid for all hours worked.  This includes the common practice of working off the clock.  It may be a 5 minute request by an employer at the end of the day, checking voicemails before starting a shift, or running errands while not clocked in, but the practice is still illegal.  Employees must be compensated for all “hours worked,” whether clocked in or not.

Even when it is not required, employees frequently continue working at the end of the regular work day.  They take home assigned projects, finish waiting on a table, or complete other tasks after the regular working hours.  But for FLSA purposes, time spent doing work when an employer has reason to believe an employee is working and the employer is benefitting from that work constitutes “hours worked.”  This means employers may still have to compensate employees for time spent working, even when it is not requested by the employer.  Employers that do not want work to be performed have a duty to exercise control and enforce any policy regarding the hours worked by employees.  Without more, a mere rule prohibiting such work will not suffice.

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