Some employers believe that they do not have to pay employees for work done performing pre-shift or post-shift tasks. These employers are wrong, and are likely violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
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What does the Fair Labor Standards Act do?
The FLSA is a federal law that dictates that employers must pay their employees for all of the hours that they work, that hourly wages must meet the federal minimum wage, and that employees who work overtime must be paid time and a half for any time that they work in excess of 40 hours in one workweek.
Does the FLSA Apply to Everyone?
The FLSA applies to any business that has sales of at least $500,000 a year, or that engages in interstate commerce. Courts tend to take a very broad view on what constitutes interstate commerce, so most companies must comply.
Not all employees are included, however. Executive level employees, administrators, professionals such as doctors and lawyers, and employees in certain fields are considered exempt from the requirements stated in the FLSA. However, most hourly wage earners will be considered non-exempt.
What Is Pre-Shift Work?
Pre-shift work is a term often used to talk about preparation types of tasks such as setting up a restaurant before the doors open to customers. An employer might think that they do not need to compensate employees for these pre-shift tasks. This is incorrect, and it is also illegal. Employers must compensate their employees for all of the time that they work, and that includes pre-shift tasks.
However, if the pre-shift activity or task is not something required for the job, but rather something like a non-mandatory training, then the employer would not be required to compensate the employee for that time.
What is Post-Shift Work?
Similarly, post-shift work is work that an employee does at the end of their shift, such as cleaning up their work space or disassembling a piece of equipment. Employers must pay employees for this time.
Unpaid Pre and Post Shift Work could mean Unpaid Overtime
If an employee works a full 40 hours a week, not counting the pre or post shift improperly unpaid hours, then adding in the additional time that the employee should have been compensated for could push the employee’s hours over 40 per workweek. This would mean that the employee was not only being shortchanged for the extra time that they worked, but they were being denied their overtime pay. If an employee worked overtime, they should have been paid time and a half for those extra hours, meaning the gap between what they were paid and what they are legally and rightfully owed is even larger.
What Should I do if My Employer is not Paying Me for Pre and Post Shift Work?
If your employer is not paying you for all of the hours that you are working, you can contact the Wage-Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor to report the violation. You should also consider speaking with an employment attorney to discuss your claim and to seek compensation for all of the hours of unpaid work that you have performed for your employer.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC for A Free Consultation
At Stern Law, PLLC, we have compassionate and caring attorneys ready to work with you to find the best solution to your employment law related legal issues. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for a free consolation with an experienced employment attorney.