Failing to pay for off-the-clock work is illegal in California

When an employee is first hired, their employer will likely incorporate them into the shift schedule and inform them of their assigned work hours. Employees are then expected to clock in at the beginning of their shift and clock out at the end of their shift using the timekeeping system implemented by their employer.

Employers are expected to pay their employees based on the timekeeping device’s record. However, employers in California and across the country sometimes avoid paying their employees by requiring them to work off the clock.

What is considered off-the-clock work?

Any work done while an employee is not clocked in is considered off-the-clock work. Off-the-clock work is common in many industries, as employees are often expected to put in additional time to benefit the business. However, putting in additional time at work without pay is often illegal under the California Labor Code.

Sometimes, an employer will ask an employee to come into work before or after their assigned shift and will not account for the extra time worked. Here are a few examples of possible off-the-clock work:

  • Preparing a worksite or helping get the site ready to open before your shift.
  • Cleaning up a worksite after a shift or completing tasks that were not completed during your shift.
  • Attending training sessions or meetings scheduled outside of your shift.
  • Time spent waiting for a new project or assignment.

Any work you do for your employer should be properly compensated, even if it was done as an extension of a compensated day. Employees should study their employer’s policies and keep a record of all hours worked and all tasks performed before, during and after a shift.

If you were not paid for all the work you have done for your employer, you may be entitled to back pay and other damages. An employment law attorney can represent you in a wage-and-hour dispute and may help you recover any unpaid wages your employer owes you.