Do employers have to pay you from the time you clock/punch in to the time you clock out?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do employers have to pay you from the time you clock/punch in to the time you clock out?

My wife had been punching in early, completing job duties and not receiving compensation for that time for nearly six years. the company has since changed the policy and do not allow employees to clock in early anymore. How far back can she go to request retribution for this uncompensated time?

Asked on June 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, while an employer does not need to let an employee clock in early, IF they did let the employer clock in early, they have to pay her for the entire time she was clocked in (from punching in to punching out). The labor laws (e.g. the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) mandates payment for all time an employee worked.
2) In your state (MI), the statute of limitations for a wage complaint appears to be one year; so you may be able to go back and seek unpaid wages the 12 months preceding whan you filed the case.

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