There’s no debating the fact that independent contractors (hourly employees) should track their time. However, all employees should be tracking their hours, even salaried employees. In this article, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss several of the reasons why every type of employee should track every hour they are “on the clock” each week. Again, this includes full-time workers that are paid a fixed salary for their services. If you are working over 40 hours in a week, you are likely owed additional compensation from your employer. To learn more about wage and hour laws and overtime pay, consult a Tampa overtime lawyer today.
Tracking Hours Is a Basic Form of Recordkeeping
One of the primary reasons why you should track your hours is for recordkeeping purposes. Many professionals are required to perform work away from their office on their own time. For example, if you handled a client request from home at 8 p.m. and it took you until 11 p.m. to fix this issue, your employer may not be aware of the amount of time you spent performing this task. Even if they are aware, they may believe that this extra time shouldn’t result in a flexible start time the next day or additional compensation for the hours you spent working. The end result is that you worked an additional three hours in your workweek that you weren’t compensated for.
Unfortunately, many employers have an expectation that their employees should perform over 40 hours of work each week. In some cases, this could mean that you’re working up to or over 50 hours of work each week while only being compensated for around 80 percent of that time. If your employer has this expectation, you should keep a record of the hours you worked each week as this is valuable evidence to have if you elect to contact our Tampa wage and hour attorneys.
Tracking Hours Can Advance Your Career
It’s a fact that there are no employers that are eager to give out raises to employees. At the end of the day, the compensation you earn from a raise is essentially money out of the employer’s pocket. If you have an employee review coming up, employees that closely track their hours can present a compelling argument for a raise. When you track your time, you can present this information to the employer and factor the hours you worked into your wage request. When an employer assesses your productivity and sees the number of hours you’re putting in to reach business objectives, they will be more likely to recognize your hard work and give you a raise. Tracking your hours can also help your employer assess their billing costs for clients. In other words, tracking hours gives an employer insight into how long it takes the employee to complete a project and the billing amount associated with that time spent working. It’s to everyone’s benefit to keep close track of the number of hours they work.
Tracking Hours Can Get You Paid Overtime Compensation
Legally speaking, it’s important for employees to track hours to ensure that they are paid in full for their time. Even if you are a salaried employee, you may be non-exempt from overtime. Under the federally regulated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are owed one-and-one-half times compensation for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. In other words, if you earn $10 per hour, you would earn $15 for each hour worked past 40. When you factor in the fact that you will likely work over 2,000 hours annually, these additional hours worked every week can add up to thousands of dollars in owed compensation.
There are several ways an employer may try to exclude overtime pay from factoring into your owed compensation. For example, an employer may try to reduce your pay by claiming that some of your hours were break time or lunch time. However, if you are required to be at the workplace for lunch, or you continued working through lunch, this is compensable time. Another example of compensable time is any work task you are required to perform before or after your scheduled shift time begins. Locking up an office, cleaning your workspace, or driving to visit a client after your designated shift time are all tasks that you should be compensated for.
Whether you use an accounting software program like Quickbooks or jot down your hours worked in a notebook, it’s critical that you track these hours and your owed compensation. It’s also important that you have access to this tracked time even after your employment tenure ends with a company. Remember that even if your employer tells you that you don’t need to do this, you should continue to track your hours on the clock.
If you qualify for overtime pay, and your employer refuses to pay you additional compensation for hours worked over 40, a record of your tracked time can be critical to your case and may be the deciding factor in whether or not you are able to obtain the unpaid overtime compensation you deserve. If you are owed additional compensation and are interested in learning more about qualifications for overtime pay, please consult a Tampa wage and hour attorney.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.