Can a employer make you work hours that you are not getting paid for?

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a employer make you work hours that you are not getting paid for?

My employer, branch manager in particular said yesterday, if you are suppose to work 10-6 pm and your not done all your work by 6 pm, you have to do the rest of your work on your own time. Can my employer make me work for free to finish my work? If I don’t finish my work she is planning to write me up.

Asked on October 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues here:

First, assuming you are an hourly, not a salaried employee, you have to be paid for all hours worked--period. You may not be made to work without being paid for the hours. If you are salaried and exempt from overtime, you may be made to work any number of hours without additional compensation. If you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, you may be made to work extra hours but need additional compensation for hours worked past 40 in one week. (No extra compesation for working longer than you normally do, as long as you are working 40 hours or less.) There are some salaried staff who are not exempt from overtime--being paid a salary does not, in and of itself, make you exempt from overtime; instead, you need to meet the tests for being exempt, which generally means being an administrative employee without a lot of discretion and authority, being a manager or executive, or being a professional. Go to the Department of Labor (DOL) website to see the tests for overtime exemption.

Second, regardless  of whether and how much you must be paid for the extra work, if you have not completed your work by shift end and the manager feels you should have, he or she could write you up for it, so long as there is no contract or  employment agreement which limits his or her ability to do so. You could be disciplined, suspeneded, demoted, or fired--again, unless you have a contract to the contrary--if your employer wishes it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption