Your paycheck may never seem as much as you think it should be. If you stop to count up the hours you spend on the job, you may feel as if you are giving more hours for less money. For many in California who are unaware of their rights regarding fair wages, this may not be far from the truth.
Both federal and state laws require employers to pay workers a just wage. If you are an hourly worker, chances are you are not exempt from laws related to overtime pay. Is it possible that your boss is stealing wages from you by making you work off the clock?
Getting the money you earn
While you may enjoy your job and genuinely like the people you work with, the purpose of working is to make money to pay your bills. As a non-exempt worker, you have the right to a base pay equal to or greater than the state minimum wage for the first 40 hours you work each week. If you exceed 40 hours, you should be earning one and a half times your normal hourly wage for every hour you work over 40.
However, it is sadly common for employers to try to avoid paying that higher rate by preventing workers from reaching 40 hours of work. You may work that time, but your employer may avoid counting it toward your weekly hours by using these or other tricks:
- Requiring you to take phone calls or answer emails on your own time at home or during your lunch break
- Making you clock out to correct or redo work you may have completed incorrectly
- Making you clock out during times when you are waiting for clients but required to stay at work
- Not paying you for time you spend traveling from one work site to another
- Requiring you to set up your station before clocking in or clean up your area after clocking out.
- Not paying you for mandatory meetings or training
You may think it is generous to clock out then stay around to help your coworkers finish their work. However, if your employer allows you to do this, he or she is violating the law. These are only a few examples of ways in which an employer may cheat workers of fairly earned and well-deserved income, which adds up quickly over time. If you feel you are in this situation, you can reach out to an attorney for advice on what to do about it.