Even if you have a set work schedule, there may come a point when your employer asks you to jump in and help with overflow work. For example, they could ask that you stick around after hours to catch up on work before the holidays arrive.
While there is nothing wrong with helping when possible, it’s important to keep in mind that your employer is not legally permitted to ask you to work off the clock. If this happens, here’s what you want to do:
- Set the terms and conditions: If your employer asks you to work overtime, double-check upfront that you will be paid for the work. Don’t be shy about doing this, as it sets clear expectations for both parties.
- Turn it down: You have the right to tell your employer no if they ask you to work off the clock. Even if you’re concerned about the ramifications, it’s better than letting your employer take advantage of you.
- Keep detailed notes: If you’ve worked off the clock in the past, collect documentation to back up your claim. This will come in handy when discussing your concerns with the HR department or filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.
These are the basic steps you can take if you’re asked to work off the clock. By doing these things, you should be able to clear the air and avoid more of the same in the future.
However, if you’ve already been taken advantage of by your employer, take steps to hold them responsible for not paying you the money you deserve.