Can my employer legally not pay me for time that I have worked?

UPDATED: May 26, 2011

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Can my employer legally not pay me for time that I have worked?

I made a written copy of my timecard last week yet today when I got my check I was 10 minutes short of what I had calculated; they paid me for 32 hours and not 32 hours and 10 minutes. It even just says 32 hours on the pay stub, so they just totally left out the 10 minutes. I have a feeling this has been happening since I started about 10 months ago (but do not know for sure). I just don’t want to say anything until I know full details of what this is considered and what can be done.  What I can do to if they are shorting my pay?

Asked on May 26, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you must be paid for ALL hours worked--period. Because it is difficult to slice time too thinly and track and pay it, employers are  allowed to make de minimis adjustments--e.g. if someone works 2 minutes over one time, not pay for it. However:

1) This adjustments have to be de minimis--and 10 minutes, or 1/6 an hour, is almost certainly too large.

2) The adjustments should work both ways--e.g. round up for 2 minutes some time, if the employee clocked out just before his shift. 

3) Changes in hours should just be on an as needed basis--not a systematic under-reporting.

If the employer is  regularly taking out 10 minutes of your time, and not compensating by rounding up in your favor, too, a more-or-less equal number of times--there may be a violation of wage and hour law. You could speak to an employment attorney or contact the state or federal labor departments.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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