Bono, AR asked in Employment Law for Arkansas

Q: My job makes us clock in and go to the floor to work 15 minutes early but no pay is issued for the time. Is that legal

I work in a factory with 12 hr shifts from 5:30 to 5:30. Employees are allowed to clock in up to 30 minutes early. My department is required to go to the floor and relieve the other shift and start working at 5:15 . In pursuant of being compensated accordingly, I refused to show up early and not get paid but all it has done is get me council meetings and in turn I’ve been bullied by several of the supervisors for not complying and it has in turn caused so much mental distress that not only have I had to leave work due to panic attacks but I’ve mentally crashed to the point where I fear for my mental health to return so I am in search of a new job. I worked there for the last 3 years. Shouldn’t this 15 minutes everyday be compensated?

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: Employees must be compensated for all time they work, but employers are permitted to mandate early arrivals, late departures, or otherwise change your schedule as long as you are paid for it. In this situation, your employer is permitted to ask you to begin work at 5:15 instead of 5:30 assuming the early clock-in policy you mentioned above is in effect and you are clocked in before beginning work.

Chris W. Burks
Chris W. Burks
  • North Little Rock, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: Thanks and if you are not paid for the 15 minutes before your shift, then you may have a minimum wage or overtime claim depending on your rate of pay and hours worked. Additionally, if you have an adverse employment action against you because you took action on your wage rights, you may also have a retaliation claim as well. You should speak with an employment law attorney to discuss your rights.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II

A: You are entitled under both Federal and State laws to be paid for the time you are working. If you clock in and report to your workstation, you are working from the time you clock in. The employer is required to pay you for this time. Take photos of your time cards and compare the time you work to the # of hours shown on your pay stubs. What you are describing is WAGE THEFT, and the law prohibits it. Not only do you get the wages for the time you are not paid, you are entitled to an equal amount as liquidated damages under Federal Law. Since this is a company wide practice there is also a possibility that you could be the Lead Plaintiff in a class action on behalf of all your co-workers. You should contact an employment law attorney or a wage and hour attorney to discuss fully. Take photos of the workplace showing where the clock is and where you go to report for work.

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