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Kansas City Missouri Overtime Pay Law Blog

What is time clock rounding?

When it comes to overtime pay, there are some employers who will do anything to avoid it. You may have worked for an employer that watched hours very closely and stopped you from clocking in if it would mean you went into overtime. This is understandable since overtime pay costs them more money. However, there may be some employers in Missouri who take their methods too far and actually cheat you out of earned overtime pay. 

In fact, there is one practice that can sometimes break the law. This is called time clock rounding, and according to the United States Department of Labor, this is when an employer rounds your clock in and clock out times to the nearest quarter hour. For example, if an employer is rounding your times and you clock in at 1:28, then your time would be clocked for pay purposes as 1:30. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Overtime Pay

As a worker in Kansas City, you may rely on overtime pay to get by. As a result, it’s essential that you’re fully aware of the process to ensure that you’re being paid fairly and according to all applicable laws and regulations. The following are a few commonly asked questions regarding overtime pay, with answers provided by the United States Department of Labor.

How is overtime pay calculated?

Administrative exemption controversy

What is an administrative exemption and why is it such a big deal for mortgage industry employees? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) already has criteria for administrative employees, but the interpretation of these criteria has proven to spark some disagreement and controversy.

Some Circuit Courts in the United States have ruled that mortgage company employees such as loan officers, processors and underwriters are exempt, and others have ruled that they are non-exempt. Recently, the Supreme Court refused to make a definitive ruling on exempt status, leaving inconsistency in its wake.

Discrepancies in overtime pay a widespread issue for Baltimore PD

For many workers in Missouri, the idea of working overtime to make some extra money is a welcomed way to boost a paycheck or save up for something special. In fact, under federal law, employers are required to pay overtime in many states once a worker has exceeded so many hours in a week. However, if not properly monitored, dishonest employees can get away with claiming overtime hours they have not actually worked. 

Take for example a recent case out of Baltimore, Maryland where a policeman has been convicted of crimes involving abuse of overtime pay. In what appears to be a widespread problem among the Baltimore Police Department, the officer collected nearly $9,000 worth of normal and overtime pay during periods when he was not actually working. In one incident, it was discovered that he was at home while he claimed to be actively patrolling the downtown casino district in Baltimore. Investigators began monitoring the officer and discovered his alleged misconduct. While he awaits his sentencing, he is currently suspended from the department without pay. 

Should I be paid for the hours I am on call?

If some of your responsibilities at your job in Missouri involve being on call, you may have to put certain aspects of your life on hold so that you can be available at a moment's notice. Should your employer have to pay you for this disruption? The answer is not necessarily clear-cut.

Chron.com explains that the federal wage and hour law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, requires your employer to pay you for every hour that you work if you are paid on an hourly basis. One of the big factors in whether or not your time on call counts as work is where you are at the time. Are you required to stay at work? That time counts as work time.

Should you get paid for working during your lunch break?

Although Missouri does not require employers to provide lunch breaks to employees, yours does, and taking that half hour off the clock to sit down in the break room and eat your meal is a perk you appreciate. Your supervisor typically pops in with questions about your work, a client or some other issue, and the two of you may spend some or all of the time that you are eating in discussion. Is that fair, or even legal?

TSheets.com explains that like state law, the federal wage and hour law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, also does not require your employer to provide you with a lunch break. However, this does not mean your lunchtime belongs to your boss. If you are not on the clock, that time belongs to you. When your supervisor addresses work issues with you, that time should be paid, according to federal law, even if you do not really mind spending the time dealing with job duties. 

How does time clock rounding work?

You may have worked for employers in Missouri in the past that kept an accurate, to-the-minute time clock. However, at your current job, your time is rounded to the nearest quarter hour. Is that legal?

The U.S. Department of Labor explains that the Fair Labor Standards Act does give employers the right to track employees' time in 15-minute increments, and they may also round up or down. This rule has strict limits, though, and if your employer does not follow these, it could be a wage and hour violation.

When you are asked to work off the clock

We have covered many of the different ways in which overtime violations manifest in the workplace, whether they affect younger workers or those who are paid a salary. However, there are many other considerations with regard to overtime violations that occur far too often in Missouri and cannot be overlooked. For example, some workers may be asked or pressured to work off the clock in order to prevent their work week from exceeding 40 hours. In some cases, even part-time workers are asked to work off the clock regardless of overtime, simply to avoid paying workers what they are owed.

All employers should be aware of overtime laws, but some may pretend that they are not familiar with particular requirements in order to evade their responsibilities and take advantage of those they employ. Ideally, this behavior would be addressed right away, but it remains too common in workplaces across the state. Sometimes, an employer may be aware that one of their employees will exceed 40 hours if they work a bit longer, thus entitling them to overtime pay, and ask the worker to work off the clock. Some employees may dismiss their concerns and tell themselves that the request is not a big deal, without realizing the severity of this violation.

Commission income must be included when calculating overtime pay

The opportunity for overtime in the workplace can be great motivator for employees to work extra hours. But for employee’s receiving commission pay, overtime compensation may not be correctly calculated. When employers miscalculate overtime pay for commission employees, workers miss out on considerable income.

Should you get overtime pay or comp time?

If your employer regularly offers you comp time instead of overtime pay when you put in long hours at your Missouri workplace, you may be losing out on money that should be on your paycheck. According to SmallBusiness.com, except in the case of government employers, companies that provide paid time off work instead of an hourly wage one-and-a-half times your normal rate may be breaking federal employment laws. 

In order for overtime pay to be mandatory, your position must not be salaried. Even if your employer does label your earnings as a salary, the company may still owe you overtime pay if you make less than $455 for a week's work, or if your yearly earnings are less than $23,660.

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