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No Hourly Overtime Pay for Extra Hours Worked?

Like all companies these days, my company is trying to do more with less. Part of the budget cutbacks has been to eliminate all overtime for hourly employees. However, several admins are feeling pressured into working overtime off the books, which means that since the extra time is not recorded, then they will not get paid for that time. I thought this was illegal... Several people have been laid off recently, and I am being pressured to be flexible with my work hours depending on what projects are due. Some friends of mine are experiencing the same issue at their companies. What is a good way to handle this difficult situation?

Submitted by: Penney Simmons


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The AA's in our company are paid on salary so we do not get any overtime. However, when I did work as an hourly employee they were very specific about clocking all hours (even OT) because it's illegal to do otherwise and they could be sued. Good Luck! Eddi-Lynn Loveland on 1/27/2009 8:21:01 AM
You are right...not being paid for time worked is illegal. This is a touchy situation that 99% of admins go thru. All of us work beyond the obligatory eight hr day. Admins are the heart of the office and usually our desks are like Grand Central Station! I am sure many will disagree with me but I say pick your battles wisely and work as much time as you need to to stay employed. However, since you feel compelled into overtime, set up limits for yourself. Come in 1 hr early and don't stay later than 15 minutes in the evening. Doing that for 5 days equals 6.5 hrs a week. Isn't that better than coming in on a Saturday and having choppy hours Mon-Friday? No one will notice you coming into the office at 7:30 am vs 8:30am and the extra 15 minutes in the evening could be cleaning off your desk or organizing for tommorrow AM. Good luck! STEADMOND SMITH on 1/22/2009 11:58:21 AM
But you're right, it is a difficult time to 'stand up' to such requests, because the uncertainty of job security is there. However, due to the fact that you are an hourly employee, you have more flexibility to say 'NO' than a salaried employee, especially since your company is expecting you to give your free time. I would look at it this way: If giving a few hours a week/month (no more than 5 or so) means adding to your job security, I would say that's a good investment. Anonymous on 1/22/2009 10:11:55 AM
I don't know what state you work in, but labor laws are generally pretty specific about hourly employees being paid for the hours they work. It could really become an issue for your company if this practice is being sanctioned. Your Human Resources Department and Finance Department should work together to be sure that wage and salary laws are not being violated. Anonymous on 1/22/2009 10:09:37 AM
When overtime dollars was my only option I also felt this same pressure to work off the clock. Depending on your state labor code this is not only unethical on behalf of the employer, but illegal and there are potential fines assessed with asking employees to work off the clock. I know of one company in California that was fined $1,000,000 for doing that. What you might want to suggest if you feel comfortable with your leadership is, reciprocal flexibility in scheduling. Some ideas might be staggered start times, longer lunch break, or better yet recording of comp time in lieu of overtime. At my agency we have the option of taking the overtime dollars or recording comp time in lieu of overtime. Comp time is booked at 1.5 times just like overtime, but it is used as needed when you need to have short amounts of time that are not typically paid or in lieu of using vacation time. Only non-exempt employees, those eligible for overtime are eligible for comp time. At the end of each fiscal year the agency pays down any hours over 50. However, if all of this just doesn't seem like it would be a solution for you, I suggest that A) you become familiar with your labor code and its requirements first; and B) keep a very specific, personal record of the hours you work and the tasks involved in requiring you to work off the clock. I am not a proponent of suing one's employer, but I am a proponent of protecting oneself. With today's economic times it can be very uncertain for each of our futures. Good luck. Victoria Hahn on 1/22/2009 8:46:36 AM
In my just entered reply post, I should have said, Federal law requires HOURLY employees to be paid overtime. Anonymous on 1/22/2009 7:58:57 AM
Federal law prohibits working overtime without pay. If these expectations are coming from direct managers, then I'd take the case to HR. They are required to enforce the "Fair Labor Standards Act". See for details. If HR is in fact sanctioning this practice, then I believe it is reportable to the federal government. Don't let fear prevent you from forcing your employers to work within the law. Anonymous on 1/22/2009 7:57:58 AM
I completely understand your situation as I'm feeling it at my employer as well. As for OT, it depends on employment status - exempt vs. non-exempt. I found some good info about this at and State laws must follow, at the minimum, federal laws on this. So, if you are non-exempt and work more than 40 hours in a 7-day week, you must be paid OT. Would your employer be willing to flex your hours - maybe 4 10-hr days with 1 day off (just an example) during "crunch" times? DMAdmin on 1/22/2009 7:55:45 AM
I do have one more thing to add regarding appropriate pay. In Wisconsin, you can take time off of work for extra hours worked during the same pay week in lieu of pay. Kathi Robinson on 1/22/2009 7:54:20 AM
In the state of Wisconsin it is illegal for an hourly employee to work and not record the hours and receive appropriate pay. I may be mistaken, but if a suit were filed for back pay, records would be reviewed for two or three years prior for all hourly employees. Actually, I find it hard to believe that an HR department would sanction this practice. Kathi Robinson on 1/22/2009 7:51:33 AM
If hourly employees here (note, these are union employees) were to work more time than recorded, they would actually be disciplined for that. Could these employees "bank" those hours and take time off, when they're able, and be paid for it? If it's actually overtime, it would probably have to be banked at time and a half. Phyl Brown on 1/22/2009 7:50:44 AM
See if you can get "comp time" for the OT (i.e.; take time off that would compensate you for the hours). Christy Bedell on 1/22/2009 7:50:21 AM

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