What is the law regarding payment for hours worked?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding payment for hours worked?

Is it legal for my job not to pay me for my overnight shift last Tuesday July 4th working 11 p-7 am? My boss said I was scheduled to have off that night but I didn’t know, so I still signed in. I work from home as a phone agent for a fulfillment center and I never check the emailed schedule because my hours are constant. It just so happened on 07/04, I was supposed to have off and the boss said that she turned off the phones but I still clocked in at 11 pm and received calls until about 12 pm which is when they must have turned the phones off but I still made myself available until 7 am the next morning. No calls came through after 12 am but I thought it was a slow night due to the holiday. Now the boss is saying I won’t get paid for the time I made myself available during that shift which was from 11 pm until 7 am the next morning. Is the legally right for them to not pay me for those hours I was clocked in and available?

Asked on July 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal for them to not pay you: your employer, not you, is in charge of when you work, and you have no right to work or be paid for hours the employer did not want you to work. The employer did not put on the schedule and did not approve of you being on the schedule: if your work was not approved or scheduled by the employer, they do not need to pay you for it.

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