Workers deserve to be paid for every hour they work. However, some employers require employees to work off the clock – and sometimes the employees don’t know they should be paid for that time.
In fact, you could be working several hours a week without getting paid. Below are examples of times you should be paid, even if your employer is not counting it as work time.
Working during meal and rest breaks
There are several rules for when workers are entitled to meal breaks and rest periods. There are also rules for when this time is compensable.
Common violations of these rules include denying workers their breaks, failing to pay them for paid breaks and having workers perform job functions when they are on break.
Putting on and taking off gear
Getting dressed for work or changing after your shift is typically not considered part of your job and not compensable.
However, in occupations where protective gear or special equipment is integral and indispensable, the time it takes workers to put it on and take it off can be paid time. This time is called donning and doffing, and it can be compensable for people like firefighters, police officers and medical workers.
Traveling for work
Employees typically do not get paid for commuting to and from work. But there are times when travel time counts as work time. These situations can include:
- Traveling to another location for an assignment
- Overnight travel away from home
- Waiting at the airport or train station for work trips
- Time traveling to work for on-call workers
In these situations, nonexempt employees may be eligible for regular or overtime pay.
Getting the pay you deserve
If you are not being compensated for all your work time, you may well have a claim for unpaid wages. Consult with an employment attorney to figure out how to get the money you may be entitled to.