Fighting For Workers In Pay Disputes Since 1987

Can your employer make you start working before you clock in?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Employment Law, Wage & Hour Laws

It is a common scenario in many workplaces: Your employer asks you to start working before you clock in or to finish up a few tasks after you clock out. But is this legal?

Reviewing Illinois labor laws can help you know your rights and protect your interests as an employee.

What are employee rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Illinois follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlines some protections for employees. According to the FLSA, non-exempt employees should receive pay for all hours they work, including any time the employer requires them to be on duty or at the workplace. This means that if your employer requires you to start working before you clock in, they should compensate you for that time.

What is work time?

Under the FLSA, work time includes any period during which an employee must be on duty on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work. This includes time spent on tasks assigned by the employer, even if they occur before the employee officially clocks in or after they clock out.

What can you do if you are not getting paid for the extra time?

If your employer is not paying you for work you are doing off the clock, you should keep track of all the time you spend on work tasks, even if they occur before you clock in or after you clock out. Having a written record of your hours will help strengthen your case if you decide to take further action.

Next, have a discussion with your employer about the issue. They may not realize they are violating labor laws or they may be willing to rectify the situation once they understand your concerns.

Your employer should not ask you to start working before you clock in without compensating you for that time. This is your time and according to Illinois labor laws and the FLSA, you should receive pay for it.