Voluntary overtime: Is it compensable?

The shelving job for the lab had a high priority. At least that was Carpenter Class I Alex Marley's impression. When the end of shift buzzer sounded at 4:55 p.m., Marley figured that if he kept going another 2-3 hr, the project would be completed.
By Raymond Dreyfack July 1, 1999

The shelving job for the lab had a high priority. At least that was Carpenter Class I Alex Marley’s impression. When the end of shift buzzer sounded at 4:55 p.m., Marley figured that if he kept going another 2-3 hr, the project would be completed.

Pay day was on Tuesday. Marley was at his supervisor’s desk a few minutes after receiving his check.

“What’s the problem?” Maintenance Foreman Luke Bailey asked.

“My paycheck’s short. It doesn’t include3-hr overtime I worked last Thursday.”

Bailey frowned and checked his workbook. “You weren’t scheduled to work overtime Thursday.”

“I know, you weren’t around. But you told me that lab shelving was a priority job; I figured you wanted me to finish it.”

“You figured wrong. That project didn’t warrant overtime pay at time-and-a-half.”

Marley disagreed. “That’s not the impression you gave me.”

Bailey shook his head. “I’ll check it out and get back to you.”

Question: Is Marley entitled to the overtime pay?

Neff’s decision: “Authorize the time-and-a-half pay,” Plant Engineer Arnold Neff instructed Bailey. “All work over 40 hr counts as overtime even when the worker does it on his own initiative. This pay applies whether or not the work is scheduled so long as the supervisor knows about it, should know about it, or creates a situation that leads the employee to believe it is warranted.”

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