Working off the Clock: by Clint Brown

It’s five minutes until four, your still not done cleaning, typing, filing, finishing a maintenance request whatever job your category requires and you think to yourself, well I’ll just finish it because there is no one else here to get it done. So you clock out or write yourself out at 4 and go back to work.

This is a familiar scenario. And I want you to be aware that if you are working off the clock you are actually doing harm to yourself and your co-workers. Working off the clock occurs when members perform tasks, before or after their shift without being paid for it: this is actually prohibited by federal law. Your Union contract provides a guaranteed number of scheduled hours for you. The effects of working off the clock are severe.

It’s not as simple as staying late or coming into work before your shift starts to finish a task. Your manager assigns work based on what gets done during a shift. Working off the clock to complete a task give the impression that work is getting done within the scheduled shift. A manager might also assign additional duties (since the original tasks are being completed): thereby compounding the problem. If you are unable to complete a task during your shift, be sure to explain that to your supervisor.

Working off the clock also impacts how others are scheduled.If you are working without compensation ( by law you must be paid for work that is performed.) you are taking hours from fellow members. A shortage of hours is an issue at some work locations, working off the clock only adds to the problem.

There are many drawbacks to working off the clock. If you are injured off the clock, your employer can deny your Workers’ Compensation claim. And even if you are no longer on the clock, you still can be disciplined for misconduct or violations of company policy.

Please do not lose sight of the fact that it is important to put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. We must all strive to protect the privileges we enjoy as Union members. If we don’t guard and protect these valuable rights we are only taking them for granted and we risk losing them.

If you have concerns dealing with working off the clock or any other issues, please contact your Union Representative.