Hourly employees know that if they work overtime, their employer must pay them for the extra hours. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean they can work OT whenever they feel like it. Here’s how to end unauthorized overtime:
Make clear—in writing and face-to-face discussions—that employees can only work overtime authorized in advance by a supervisor. Set a policy on overtime approval (see box below) and make sure supervisors understand it and follow it. Explain the consequences. Document those communications.
Then hand out discipline equally to those who don’t follow directions. You can’t refuse to pay them for the nonapproved hours. If a reprimand doesn’t get the message across, try a suspension … or even termination.
Recent case: Newspaper employee Lisa Ritchie was an hourly employee who regularly put overtime hours on her timecard even after being told she could not. The newspaper paid for the extra hours, but fired her for breaking the rules.
Ritchie sued, alleging that entering the hours on her timecard was protected activity and firing her was retaliation.
The court didn’t buy her argument. It reasoned that if employers weren’t able to discipline employees for working unapproved hours, it would remove any leverage the employer had to order no overtime. (Ritchie v. St. Louis Jewish Light, No. 10-1356, 8th Cir., 2011)
Note: Ascontinue to surge, organizations often try to defend themselves by pointing to their policy that says employees should have received approval for overtime.
But a written policy isn’t enough.
Federal judges are dealing harshly with employers that try to rely solely on the “no-OT-without-approval” defense. That’s because the Fair Labor Standards Act () requires management—not employees—to make sure employees don’t work unpaid overtime hours.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “time spent doing work not requested by the employer, but still allowed, is generally hours worked.”
4 ways to stop abuse of unauthorized overtime
- Make sure all employees know they must obtain supervisor approval to work overtime—don’t just stick that requirement in a policy handbook.
- Develop checks to ensure employees aren’t working off the clock. Example: Insist all hourly employees clock in and out.
- Consider additional tracking measures, such as electronic entry cards, to back up reports of hours worked.
- Institute for overtime violators. While you must pay for all hours worked (authorized or not), a couple of days off without pay should stop a repeat offender.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/14600/stop-off-the-clock-work-with-strong-ot-rules "
- When making exempt/nonexempt call, actual duties trump résumé or job description
- Include an extension clause in your noncompete agreements
- It's legit to use differences in location and duties to justify varying pay scales
- Termination reasons needn't be long laundry list
- Hacked! Limiting employer liability for breaches of employee data