If my employer has started to enforce that all part-time employees to punch out for 20 minutes during a 5 hour shift, is that legal

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If my employer has started to enforce that all part-time employees to punch out for 20 minutes during a 5 hour shift, is that legal

The employer is a package delivery and pick-up company so I’m not sure if there are different laws for such.

Asked on October 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends: if you punch out and don't work for that 20 minutes, it is legal: an employer is free to schedule when employees do or do not work. So if you punch out and it's free time (eat, smoke, have coffee, relax, surf the web or chek social media, etc.), this is legal.
But it's not legal if you are still working and they just want you to do 20 minutes of work "off the clock," that is not legal. For hourly employess, "off the clock" is never legal: employers must record and pay for all time spent working. If you are being required to work off the clock, you could contact your state department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint for the money you should be paid.


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