How long can you wait at work before leaving?

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How long can you wait at work before leaving?

So a few times, both directed and not, I have waited past my scheduled time to clock in, these waits typically last about an hour and a half the longest being 2.5 hours. I wanted to know how long I

can wait before I am legally able to walk out and go back home.

Asked on October 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) You, of course, can leave whenever you want: your are not a prisoner. The employer may terminate or fire you if you leave when the employer wants you to stay, but that is your choice to not endanger your job: you are allowed to leave and cannot be restrained.
2) If you are (as we presume) an hourly employee, you MUST be paid for all time the employer makes you stay or wait at work. Even if you have not "clocked in", if the employer asks or tells you to stay, that is work time and you must be paid for it. If the employer tells you that you can or should go, then if you voluntarily stay there, waiting to see if anything changes or there is work, that voluntary waiting time is not itself work. But if you are directed to wait and do, that is work time and you have to be paid for it.
3) If your employer is making you stay at work without paying you, you could contact the state or federal department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint; you may well be entitled to back pay.


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