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Should you work 'off the clock' if your employer asks?

In the Southern California marketplace, working overtime is almost as common as a sunny day. People work overtime all the time. While this may be a good thing for an employee’s paycheck, there are many who work more than are expected without being properly paid. Even worse, they may not complain about not being compensated out of fear of being fired.

After all, they need the job, and they need the money; so complaining about getting the extra money they are entitled to may not be worth losing the job altogether. Despite these constraints, workers have the right to be paid properly. 

If you are asked to work overtime, or to prepare things for your shift “off the clock” you are entitled to be paid. Federal law establishes a 40 hour work week, and when an employee exceeds these hours in a particular week, he or she is entitled to be paid at one and a half times their hourly rate. California law also establishes an eight hour work day. Similarly, if a worker exceeds this threshold, he or she is entitled to be paid at one and a half times their hourly rate.

So while you may balk at being asked to work overtime, employers have the right to ask you to do so. However, they cannot require you to work over the standard number of hours established without compensating you accordingly. Further, if you are asked, or required, to work without noting your hours on your timesheet, a conversation with an experienced employment law attorney may be necessary.

The preceding is not intended to be legal advice. 

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