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Watch for Unauthorized Overtime

May 13, 1999
Related Topics: Wages and Hours, Featured Article
You may be violating the overtime law—without even realizing it—if your employees are putting in overtime without authorization. To try to avoid incurring unauthorized overtime, consider implementing the following policies for non-exempt employees:

  • Prohibiting employees from eating or drinking at their workstations and working before hours, after hours, or during lunch.
  • Prohibiting food at employees' desks
  • Having supervisors periodically patrol the work area during lunch to enforce the rule against working during a lunch break
  • Not allowing employees on the premises more than five minutes before or after the workday
  • Requiring permission to work at home.

It's important that supervisors can spot when non-exempt employees are working extra hours. If they know about it, there can be substantial liability. A couple problem areas: restaurant or retail employees who help out before or after their shift, and sales employees who make special deliveries, phone calls, house calls, or write thank-yous.


Source: Defusing the Overtime Bomb: How to Comply with the FLSA,," Julie Athey, 1999. 800/274-6774.

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