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Too many employees miss out on deserved overtime payments when they perform off-the-clock work. Learn whether you have a claim for unpaid overtime against your employer from a California overtime pay lawyer as soon as possible.

Many employers want to avoid paying overtime, so they only allow employees to work for eight hours per day. However, some companies expect employees to be engaging in productivity for the full eight hours, which leaves little time for setting up or cleaning up workspaces, among other tasks. Does your employer expect you to perform certain tasks before or after you clock in or out for the day? If so, you might be owed unpaid overtime for your off-the-clock work. Discuss the matter with trusted California overtime pay lawyers as soon as possible.

California Law Regarding Off-the-Clock Work

If you are paid hourly, you should get full compensation for all time that you worked. Any work that your employer requests or knows about should be counted as your compensated work hours. If your employer knows you are performing work and fails to count it for pay purposes, they can be on the hook for unpaid hourly wages or even overtime.

This is true whether your employer directly requests off-the-clock work or merely suggests it. In some instances, employers or supervisors specifically request that workers perform certain tasks while they are “off the clock.”

At other times, the employer might make a subtler request for this type of work. For example, the time sheets or time clocks that employees use may not allow for the employee to record their time for any work they complete pre- or post-shift. This may discourage workers from reporting their overtime work.

Alternatively, the employer may require an employee to complete far more work than they would ever be able to complete during their regular work shift.

Employers oftentimes encourage “off-the-clock” work for one of two possible reasons:

  • To avoid paying an hourly wage to workers for the total hours that they work each day.
  • To avoid paying hourly overtime compensation pursuant to California labor laws.

In either case, California law requires that you are paid for the work.

How Does California Law Define “Off the Clock” Work?

When it comes to “off-the-clock work,” California labor laws are very precise. These laws define “off-the-clock work” as work that an employee performs without receiving payment.

One example of how off-the-clock work might happen is as follows:

  • Your employer expects you to be ready to work and clocked in at 8:00 am.
  • You are not allowed to clock in prior to 8:00 am, though it takes you 15 minutes to set up to be ready to work each morning.
  • You arrive to set up at 7:45 am every day, but do not clock in until 8:00, so you are not paid for the 15 minutes of set-up time.

Other common types of “off-the-clock work” that deserve compensation include:

  • Redoing a work project or correcting various mistakes, pursuant to your employer or work supervisor’s request
  • Continuing to work after your regularly scheduled shift ends, including moving equipment to a different work site, storing equipment, or cleaning up
  • Performing clerical work after your regular shift ends, such as completing medical charts or paperwork
  • Performing various work tasks during regularly scheduled meals or rest breaks
  • Preparing a worksite for the day’s work, including loading or transferring work equipment to a different location or warming up a work truck
  • Counting money for the day, cleaning machines that employees used during the work day, or taking out the trash following work hours

Employees may also be eligible for overtime if they must stay at work after hours to deal with a customer. The same holds true if an employee must arrive at work early or leave work late to read emails, make telephone calls, or continue reading documents.

In 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled that even a few minutes of off-the-clock work must be compensated under the law.

In the above example, if you are clocked in for eight hours a day for 40 hours a week, the extra 15 minutes per day would need to be compensated at time-and-a-half overtime rates. If you are paid $20 per hour, this would add up to an extra:

  • $7.50 per day
  • $37.50 per week
  • $1,950.00 per year

This seemingly small amount of extra off-the-clock work each morning can add up to a significant amount of unpaid overtime per year, and it is worth ensuring that you receive every penny of overtime pay you deserve. You should seek assistance from an attorney who can help you determine whether you have unpaid overtime for off-the-clock work.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for the Work They Perform While They are “Off the Clock”?

All non-exempt employees who receive an annual salary may also be eligible to receive overtime pay for the work they complete beyond 40 hours per week – or eight hours per day. This is accomplished via California’s white-collar exemption.

It is important to keep in mind that while many salaried, white-collar employees are subject to this exemption, others are not.

Making a Claim Against Your Employer

To prove a successful case against your employer, you must satisfy several legal elements. First, you must establish that you performed work for your employer for which they did not compensate you.

In addition, you must establish that your employer was fully aware of your off-the-clock work.

Finally, you must demonstrate that despite your employer’s knowledge of your off-the-clock work, your employer turned a blind eye and did not stop you from working during this time. Moreover, your employer must not have compensated you financially for the overtime work that you performed.

Our experienced legal team can discuss your work circumstances with you and determine your eligibility for filing a claim.

Contact Our California Overtime Pay Lawyers With Any Concerns

It can be difficult to know whether or not your employer owes you back overtime payments, but you should never simply ignore your concerns. Instead, let our experienced California overtime pay lawyers review your situation and determine whether you have a claim. At Mara Law Firm, we believe that every employee deserves to be paid for all time worked, and we’ll work for you. Contact us online or call (619) 234-2833 for a case evaluation today.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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