Is my employer allowed to prevent me from clocking in for my shift?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my employer allowed to prevent me from clocking in for my shift?

I will be scheduled for a 4 o’clock shift, but due
to high labor, my employer requires me to sit
and wait for what may be hours before clocking
in. For example, I was supposed to work from
4-10, I was present all 6 hours, but only
allowed to work only paid for 2 hours. Do I
have to stay and wait for my turn to clock in?

Asked on August 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Once you appear at your place of work at your scheduled time, ready and able to perform your job duties, then this is considered to be work time so you must be paid for it. This is true whether or not your employer allows you to clock in. The fact is that an employer cannot make a worker wait yet keep them "off the clock". This is because whether an employee is actually engaging in their job duties at the time, if they are at their workplace waiting for their employer to direct them as to what to do and they are not free to do leave, then this is time that is to be paid. Accordingly, if your employer does not want ot pay you, then they can let you go home but if you are required to remain at work waiting, then you are to be compensated for your time.

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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