What are the laws regarding having employees work past their scheduled shifts?

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What are the laws regarding having employees work past their scheduled shifts?

The large retail company that employs me often forces us to stay hours past then end of our scheduled shifts (about 9:30) and work. Even if our work is done, we are forced to help the other departments finish their work or do tasks the manager neglected all day. The climate control is shut off at 9:02 pm Monday through Saturday and at 6:00 pm on Sunday, so we work in the heat or cold. We are not given breaks or lunches after close, regardless of how many hours we’ve been clocked in. And for those of us who live far away and must be in at 7 am the next day, we are not allowed to leave ahead of the rest.

Asked on July 24, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Companies have wide discretion or latitude to make employees work longer than their normally scheduled shifts. The main limitation on this power is that working past shift end is still "work"--that is, if the employee is an hourly employee, he or she *must* be paid for the off-shift work at their normal rate. And if the employee is not an exempt employee (i.e. someone eligible to receive overtime; and all hourly employees are not exempt), then the off or after shift time will count towards total hours worked when calculating whether overtime is owed, and, if so, how much is owed--remember, overtime is owed to non-exempt employees for all hours worked over 40 in a week, even if some of those hours are called "off shift."


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