The simple answer is yes, it is illegal for hourly employees to work off the clock. Salaried employees are not paid by the hour, and the rules for off-the-clock work do not apply to them. Depending on the career that you are in as an hourly employee, working off the clock can mean things like answering phone calls or emails after the work day is done or activities that you may do before a work day that prepares you for work-related success.
All of these minutes, either before or after the work day, can factor into the employee’s ability to obtain overtime pay. Overtime is factored in North Carolina as anything over forty hours.
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, was created in 1938 in response to the Great Depression. It serves as a guideline for minimum wage, conditions of employees, overtime, the number of employees an employer is required to have, and more.
Each state has adopted the laws of the FLSA and incorporated its own rules that go hand-in-hand with FLSA guidelines. Some employees are exempt from the FLSA, making the laws even more confusing in some cases.
What are Common Examples of Off-The-Clock Work?
Examples will vary significantly between different careers. If an employee is in a shipping or transporting career, for example, their off-the-clock work may involve transferring goods or equipment, preparing a job site for delivery, and more. If an employee is a customer-centered career, they may be required to stay late to help a customer with their immediate needs.
Employees may choose to arrive at work early to begin their day or stay late to finish up items with a high priority rather than waiting until the following day to complete them. All the minutes the employee spends doing these tasks would be considered the time to be compensated based on the FLSA.
What is the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act?
The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act works hand in hand with the FLSA in that it places a minimum wage in North Carolina, sets rules based on notifying employees of a change in pay, and stipulates penalties for employers associated with violations of the laws.
A recent North Carolina Wage and Hour Act amendment involves wage notification requirements. For example, this amendment requires that employers let employees know of changes to their pay in writing and provide the employee significantly in advance of changes to their wages. The amendment also stipulates how employers handle employees’ final paychecks.
What If I Have Questions Regarding Off-the-Clock Pay?
An experienced attorney can provide trusted guidance on off-the-clock work questions. Maybe you feel you are owed overtime due to your work off the clock. Perhaps you are required to work off the clock, and you feel entitled to compensation for your dedicated time.
Contact our office at (704) 286-0947 to get your specific questions answered and seek professional guidance on what options you have.