ASK HR: I regularly work late, but my boss refuses to pay me

Wednesday March 18 2020

If I don’t clock in I don’t get paid, yet if I work overtime, I don’t get paid for my effort. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Q. I work for a small private company. If I don’t clock in I don’t get paid, yet if I work overtime, I don’t get paid for my effort. Is this fair? I would like to raise this matter with my boss, but I don’t know how to approach it.


The truth of the matter is that productivity and output is what matters, not the length of time you spend at work.

From what you say, it seems your employer uses the clocking system to confirm attendance - this is an outdated system of managing employees. In most organisations clocking is only used to pay for extra hours worked for the cadre of staff who are entitled to overtime payment.

Check the terms outlined in your appointment letter on overtime entitlement. Payment of overtime is dictated by the HR policy; therefore, your next inquiry should be with your HR department.

If you are in the union, it might be a good idea to liaise with the shop steward to check if the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has this as a benefit to the union staff.

Why do you require to work overtime? Could it be that you are given duties that you are not able to accomplish in one day? If this is the case, then the department has to find more resources to share out the duties equally.

How is your time management during office hours? Do you spend that time on non-work related issues, and only start working towards the end of the day? Are you adequately resourced as a department or is one of your colleagues away on leave? In this case, the overload is for a short period, so you should be able to endure the workload.

You should also check whether the intensity of your work fluctuates during the day so that you can discuss with your supervisor flexible working hours.

If you are confident that you are overworked, discuss it with your supervisor so that an amicable solution may be found. This might include extra cash compensation or additional off days especially when you work over weekends or public holidays.

Even if you are not compensated in cash, the stretch might be a good opportunity for your employer to gauge if you are ready for added responsibility, which may be in form of a promotion. Maintain a positive attitude towards your work therefore and enjoy the challenge.

Some caution though, don’t overwork yourself, maintain a work life balance that works best for you and your employer.

In case you don’t have one, consider a pastime not related to your work to relieve the pressure that you are currently experiencing.