If I am required to be at work at a specific time, shouldn’t I be ‘on the clock’ when I arrive at work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I am required to be at work at a specific time, shouldn’t I be ‘on the clock’ when I arrive at work?

As a pest control tech, I am required to be at the office by 700 am. I am told
not to punch the clock while I load my truck and then travel to my first job.
Then I can ‘punch in’ via my computer. That can be as late as 800. In the
evening, when I leave my last job, I am required to go back to the office to turn
in my work. I am told to punch out when I arrive at the office but then I have to
wait another hour before it is my turn to turn in my work. Shouldn’t I be paid
when I arrive at the office in the morning? Then in the evening, be paid for all
the time I am required to be there?

Asked on April 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are correct: your workday starts when you first arrive at the first location (typically, and in this case, the office) at which your employer requires you to show up; and your workday ends when you finish the last task (e.g. turning in your work) required by your employer. Obviously, there are some limitations: if you voluntarily showed up earlies than necessary, your employer doesn't need to start paying you until the time they told you to begin working or to show up; and if you, say, took an hour off after your last call to get dinner, before then turning in your work, they don't have to pay you for that hour. But you do need to be paid for all hours that you are someplace they require you  to be and/or doing work. You also need to be paid overtime if/when you work more than 40 hours in a week. If you are being short paid, you could file a wage complaint with the state department of labor, to recover unpaid back wages.

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