Working off the clock is exactly what it sounds like. This is work that isn't compensated and is not counted toward your hours for overtime purposes.
Even if you're okay with the idea of working off the clock every now and again, you shouldn't agree to it. Any time you work for your employer, you should receive compensation in return.
Some of the most common examples of off-the-clock work include:
- Unpaid post-shift work: This typically includes things such as cleaning up, finishing tasks and returning items to another location.
- Unpaid preparation: Similar to unpaid post-shift work, this is unpaid work that takes place before your shift begins.
- Unpaid rework: Your employer may request that you redo or rework a project, but that doesn't mean you have to do so off the clock. You should still receive pay for the hours you put in.
- Unpaid administrative work: It's not uncommon for an employer to request that an employee complete unpaid administrative tasks, such as meeting with management before or after work, completing paperwork at home or completing training sessions on their own time.
What to do next
If you've worked off the clock in the past or are asked to do so in the future, it's important to protect your legal rights. Let your employer know that you're not going to work without pay. If this results in trouble, such as termination of your employment, take the necessary action to protect yourself.
Your employer is not legally permitted to ask you to work off the clock, so you should never feel pressured to do so.