Working before or after your shift

April 23, 2024 Know Your Rights

Working a few extra minutes before or after your shift might not seem like a big deal, but it adds up.
If you work an extra 10 minutes each shift and aren’t being paid for this, that can quickly add up to hundreds lost in pay.

What should I be paid if I work extra minutes or hours?

Firstly, if you’re being asked to stay back or come in early, you must be paid for this time. There is no exception to this and if you’re not being paid, this is unlawful.

If you choose to work for a few extra minutes, you should be paid at either your ordinary rate or your overtime rates – depending on the circumstances.

My employer is telling me I have to get to work early to do pre-work tasks, is this true?

No. If you’re being asked to come in early – or stay back late – without pay, you do have the right to say no to working this extra time.

Provided you’re being paid, your employer can request you to work overtime if the request is reasonable.

To determine whether this request is reasonable, your employer should consider your personal circumstances (e.g., family responsibilities), the amount of notice given, your role and work responsibilities.

It should not be an expectation by your employer that you should regularly come in early or stay back late to complete work duties.

Other ways you might be losing out at work

There are many ways you can miss out on getting paid properly including:

  • Working through rest or meal breaks;
  • ‘Clocking off’ and then going back to work;
  • Completing compulsory training or paper work at home;
  • Not being paid the correct overtime rate.

What should I do if I’m doing unpaid work before or after my shift?

This is unlawful and you have the right to raise this and pursue back pay.

The SDA is committed to stamping out unpaid work in all industries. You should contact us as soon as possible so we can investigate and pursue this for you.