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Working Off the Clock

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Off the Clock Work and Overtime Wages Under the FLSA: What Every Employee Should Know

As an employee, you work hard to earn a living and support yourself and your family. It’s essential to understand your rights to be properly paid for all the work you do, especially when it comes to off-the-clock work and overtime wages. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a crucial piece of legislation that safeguards your rights to be paid for your work. In this blog post, we’ll explore what off-the-clock work is, how it affects your overtime wages, and what you can do to protect yourself.

What is Off-the-Clock Work?

Off-the-clock work is any work an hourly-paid employee performs, which their employer does not pay them for. If you are paid by the hour, the work you do while you are clocked in, or while you’re on your regular shift, is on-the-clock work, and your employer will normally pay you for that working time.

But many employers allow, encourage, or require employees to work off-the-clock without paying them for this extra work. Off-the-clock work can take many forms. It can include activities like driving back from a worksite to your company’s facility at the end of the workday, doing prep work before your shift starts, doing cleanup or unloading after your shift ends, staying late or getting in early to do work because you can’t get all your work done inside your normal hours, or even catching up on emails and phone calls outside your normal work hours.

FLSA and Overtime Pay

The FLSA sets the federal rules for minimum wage and overtime pay. Under the FLSA, employees who are paid by the hour are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular hourly wage for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. When employees work off-the-clock, these extra, unpaid hours are very often overtime hours, because many employees’ regular on-the-clock schedules are 40 hours per week, or close to that. Even if the off-the-clock hours are not overtime hours, the FLSA requires the employer pay for that time at the minimum wage.

Off-the-Clock Work and Overtime Pay

If you are paid by the hour, and you are concerned your employer is allowing, encouraging, or requiring you to work off-the-clock, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and determine your rights.
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Time Records

Under the FLSA, it is the legal duty of employers to keep accurate records of the true working hours of all employees who are paid by the hour. But when employees work off-the-clock, employers’ official records will not record the off-the-clock working time.

If you are paid by the hour and you are concerned you are working off-the-clock, you can start keeping your own records of your true working hours and the tasks you performed when you worked off-the-clock. These could be very helpful if you speak to an attorney about your situation.

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Seek Legal Advice

If you feel you are working off-the-clock, an experienced employee rights attorney can help you understand your rights under the FLSA to be compensated for your hard work. Law’s attorneys have represented many employees with claims of unpaid overtime wages, including employees who worked off-the-clock. If you have questions about your FLSA rights, we are here to help.


Off-the-clock work is a common issue that can significantly impact an employee’s pay, including overtime pay. Understanding your rights under the FLSA is crucial to ensuring fair compensation for your hard work. By contacting an employee rights lawyer, you can learn what your rights are and how to protect them. Your time and labor are valuable, and if you work by the hour, then you should be paid for all your working time, not just the working time your employer wants to pay you for.
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