Addressing requests to work off the clock

Many people enjoy their work, but also look forward to a well-deserved break when their workday is over. Some employers ask their employees to work outside of regular business hours, also referred to as work off the clock, without pay. This is against the law for hourly employees and there are steps they can take to address it.

Common requests and requirements

There are several examples of work hourly employees may be asked to do off the clock. These include responding to work emails and messages, completing projects, attending meetings and events, participating in training sessions and traveling for work. Hourly employees are also allowed meal and rest breaks and should not be asked to work during this time.

In California, employers cannot require or allow employees to work off the clock unless they are paid. Also, hourly employees who work more than 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek are usually entitled to overtime pay, which is 1.5 times the employee’s hourly pay rate.

Addressing violations

If an hourly employee is asked or required to work off the clock, it’s helpful for them to keep detailed notes about their work hours and address the issue with their company’s human resources department or their supervisor in writing.

The employee should not be retaliated against for reporting the issue. If the employer does not resolve the concern and pay the employee for time worked off the clock, the employee has the option to file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

There is support available to address this issue and other employment concerns.