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Maintain independent records to avoid employer wage theft

You work hard for your employer, and you deserve to receive the fair and full amount of wages for your time and labor. You may think that as long as you remember to clock in and out at the right time, that you will receive the appropriate level of pay for your time.

Sadly, some employers don't feel the same way. There are managers or even companies who intentionally attempt to underpay staff. One common means of underpaying workers may involve changing time clock records to slightly reduce the number of hours and minutes an employee gets paid for in any given pay period. While a couple of hours or a few minutes may not seem like much, they can actually add up to a large sum over time and across multiple staff members.

Employers should compensate hourly workers fairly

Salaried workers generally do not need to worry about wage theft or issues with overtime pay. Regardless of the number of hours they work, they can expect to usually receive the same amount of compensation each pay period. Hourly workers, however, depend on every minute of work to keep their income level stable. Federal labor laws make it clear that employers have an obligation to pay you for your time.

Many workers may eventually discover that they are not receiving all the of the pay that they should. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute has estimated that workers in just the 10 most populous states get unpaid by a staggering $8 billion each year. There are two likely sources of that wage theft. One is illegally underpaid overtime labor and the other is the intentional underpayment of a worker based on the amount of time he or she worked.

Employers may go so far as to change time clock records

In order to avoid detection when stealing wages from employees, managers or businesses may actually go in and change the time clock records for individual staff members. If they only shave off a few minutes each day or perhaps an hour every paycheck, workers are unlikely to notice the discrepancy. However, those workers deserve to receive their hourly pay for every minute that they provide labor and staffing for their employer.

One of the simplest ways to track potential time clock record alterations is to maintain an independent record of all the hours you work. If your time clock system prints a receipt, you should always retain it to compare against your paycheck. Sometimes, mistakes are accidental and addressing it with management or human resources can correct the problem. Other times, you may need to take legal action if it's clearly an ongoing and intention underpayment.

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