What’s a Worker to Do?
Based on many years of experience working with federal Wage and Hour Law, I would like to take this opportunity to explain what workers should do to protect themselves from employers who are willing to cheat them out of time worked. Ultimately, time is what you give your employer and money is what your employer gives you in return. Your employer decides how best to use your time, and you decide how to use your money. When you are not being paid for the time you work, the employer is stealing from you. Let’s be absolutely clear – your employer is not your friend. The only interests the employer has are their own.
Every worker should keep a permanent record of the real/actual time they work. You are not required to do this, but you should do it because it will help you if you ever need to try to get your employer to refund you time that you were not paid for. You should also keep this record forever, in a safe, secure, and dry place that you alone control. Do not ever leave the record at work, not even once.
Employers are not required to give you pay stubs. If your employer does give you a pay stub, make sure to keep them forever. These records that you keep every day can then be used by a lawyer to help you get back any time you have been cheated out of. If possible, you should consider keeping your time records in digital form. Your smartphone is a good option for this, and can be used in several ways to keep a record of the time you worked. For instance, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division has a FREE app on their website that will help you record your work time. You can download this app here: www.dol.gov/whd.
If your employer ever asks you to punch out and continue working, you are being cheated. If your employer asks you to punch out and make a bank deposit on your way home, you are being cheated. If your employer asks you to come to work early and you begin working without your time being recorded, you are being cheated. If your employer asks you to come in at a set time and then asks you to sit and wait to punch in and start working until the employer is busy, you are being cheated out of the time you spent waiting. The bottom line is, if you have created truthful, accurate records of the time you really worked, then those records could be used by a lawyer to get you the money your employer should have paid you for your time.
Now you know. If information is power what will you do with your power?