Can an employer not pay me for time worked?

Is it legal for an office to have a policy that if you forget to clock out, you have only 24 hours to correct the mistake or not be paid? What should be included in a written request for payment of hours worked and not paid? How should I document the written request?

Asked on March 31, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Employers must pay hourly employees for all time worked--period, end of sentence. The employer cannot refuse to pay if the employee forgets to clock out. Obviously, if the employee forgets to clock out, there may be an issue about establishing or proving the hours worked; however, if the employee can in fact substantiate them, then he or she must be paid, and the employer cannot be an arbitrary 24-hour limit on getting paid.

All that said, when possible, it's better to work with an employer's policies then fight them. If you have 24 hours, best to get your request in within 24 hours. Put in any and all information and evidence that would establish when your worked and when you left. Send the request ideally by someway you can prove sending and, ideally, delivery, such as email (especially with notification of receipt) or by fax (and keep the status sheet).


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