Work Pays

“My employee worked overtime even though I had specifically told her not to do it without my approval in advance. Do I have to pay for unapproved overtime?”

Your HR Survival Tip

If the employee works, you must pay for the time worked. While you can punish the employee for not following your policy, you must still pay for the work.

When you are having conversations about money, it is best to follow that up with a memo or email so the employee also receives the same information in writing. Since this employee’s actions are costing you money, get their signature on the write-up so you have proof of this warning and can escalate the discipline more easily, if needed.

If they still disregard your policy, decide on a disciplinary action or plan. Options include, but are not limited to:

  • A written warning that reminds the employee of the policy and the consequences of another lapse.

  • A warning that one more lapse will result in a temporary drop in their wages. Get their signature on this warning and make sure they remain at or above minimum wage if you end up lowering their wages.

  • An unpaid suspension of a day or two.

The action you take may vary based on the number of times the employee has failed to follow your policy. You do need to be consistent in your application of any disciplinary action so you don’t appear discriminatory. It’s best to make a management decision on how you will treat this situation going forward. Avoid any possible misunderstandings by making sure your approval process is clearly laid out and your policy is clear.

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