You’ll Pay for That

by Deborah Z Mark


Employee pay. It should be simple, right?

But have you ever had an employee who worked late without asking permission? How about the one who worked “off the clock” during lunch to get caught up?

You didn’t authorize them to work, so you don’t have to pay them for that extra time, right?


Work Time

According to the Department of Labor, work not requested but “suffered or permitted” to be performed is work time that must be paid for by the employer. The reason doesn’t matter. The employee must be compensated.

“Suffered or permitted” is just the DOL’s fancy definition of the term “employ”.

Leave it to the government to complicate something simple.

Off The Clock

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees (those not salaried exempt) receive minimum wage for all hours worked, and one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 (overtime) in a work week.

If an employee is “off the clock” and does not perform any work during that time, the employer is not obligated to pay the employee for that time. But if the employee answers the phone or does any other work during that time, the employer must pay for that time. Those hours would also count toward the total hours worked during that work week.

Disciplinary Action

If an employee abuses their work schedule, it would be considered a disciplinary issue. Give the employee a verbal and (preferably) written warning, with clear consequences of their actions stated. Continued abuse could be grounds for reduction of hours or termination of employment.

The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story?

Pay now, or pay later.

And if you don’t pay now, you’ll probably pay more later.

Have questions about employee pay? Call managestaff.


It’s what we do.

Image: Stuart Miles/