Is it legal for an employer to require employees to show up 30 minutes before a shift and not pay them for it?

I work for a company that pays its employees on a “per class” rate and says that they require you to be there 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the class and on Saturdays requires you to be there 30 minutes early. When I was hired I was told that I make $25 an hour but have 30 minutes for every hour that I work taken off my check. For example, I am there from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm on Saturdays and teach 4 classes and am only paid for the 4 hours not for the hours that I am actually there. I never signed a contract agreeing to be payed $25 per 90 minutes; it says $25 per hour.

Asked on June 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


Archibald J Thomas / Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. - Employee Rights Lawyers

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The question you ask is somewhat complex because your contract was apparently verbally modified when you were told that you would be required to work without pay for 30 minutes.  This requirement, in effect, reduced your hourly rate to something less than $25 per hour.  You do not have to sign a written contract in order for the verbal modification to your written contract to be valid.  In Florida, these verbal modifications to written contracts can be valid.  Since it does not appear that you are paid less than minimum wage and there does not appear to be an issue involving any overtime pay, it would probably be difficult to prevail in an action against your employer based on what you have described.

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