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Enforce overtime approval policies—But pay for all hours worked

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. Our company policy requires an employee’s supervisor to approve all overtime. However it’s common for employees to work overtime that has not been approved; time they then record on their time sheets. Since the overtime was never approved, our management takes the position that it does not need to pay for this overtime. My understanding is that all hours worked must be paid. Which is correct?

A.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires paying for all overtime—or for that matter, any hours worked.

The fact that your employee worked the hours without authorization is no defense to a wage-and-hour claim. (The company may be able to dispute whether the hours were, in fact, ever worked, but that is a question of fact.) Assuming you have a policy requiring the preapproval of overtime, the only recourse is to discipline the employee for working hours that were not authorized.

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