Overtime Crime, Part 11

, , , , , | Working | August 16, 2019

(I run payroll for a temporary employment agency. Employees are hired by us to work for a client for a ninety-day trial, and then employees are eligible to be hired directly by our client. We usually agree to the client’s work policies, but policies must adhere to federal and state labor laws. One particular client does not like anyone to work over forty hours. Today, I received a call from an employee about her time card.)

Employee: “I need to change my hours on my last time card from 41 to 40 hours because I am not supposed to work overtime.” 

Me: “Sorry, I cannot change the hours if that is what you worked.”

Employee: “Well, I will have to leave early today, so they won’t have to pay overtime.”

Me: “Again, sorry. I already ran that week’s payroll, plus you have started a new week. You cannot roll hours from one week to another week just so you don’t incur overtime.”

Employee: “But I can get in trouble for working overtime.”

Me: *huffing* “I am not fussing at you. I understand they have a policy against overtime, but you and [Client] both signed the time card stating that your hours were correct.”

Employee: “But I said it was okay not to pay me overtime since I wasn’t watching my hours close enough. [Client] said that I need to come in early to make sure I am prepared to start work on time but that it is considered personal time. I am okay with that being personal time and accidentally recorded it as work time.”

Me: *surprised* “Wait, [Client] is requiring you to be at work early? First, what are you doing when you come in early? Second, federal law actually prohibits you from consenting not to be paid for the hours you actually worked.”

Employee: “I am booting up my computer and preparing for customers.”

Me: “Just so you know, according to federal and state law, you have to be paid for the hours you actually work, including overtime. Overtime is calculated during the established pay period and you cannot alter hours or move them from one week to another to avoid overtime. Again, [Client] signed the time card and you acknowledged on the phone that you did work those hours.”

Employee: “Oh, okay. Thank you for the information.”

Me: “Look, I am on your side, and it’s the law. [Client] can make it a policy not to work overtime and can discipline you working over forty hours. You will need to watch your time this week and then take off early on the last day of the pay period if needed. Make sure you inform your supervisor of this the day before or whatever notification they need.”

Employee: “Oh, okay.”

Related:
Overtime Crime, Part 10
Overtime Crime, Part 9
Overtime Crime, Part 8

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