Shaving Hours

Ensuring you are paid for the full time you have worked

Shaving hours and prevailing wage law

Workers should receive an honest day’s pay for a honest day’s work. Instead, often times employers are shaving hours from the employees and do not compensate or pay workers for all hours worked.

There are three common ways that employers shave hours from employees:

  • Shaving off overtime hours worked
  • Asking employees to work off the clock
  • Falsifying certified payrolls

In every case, the employer is guilty of violating prevailing wage law.

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Common ways employers shave hours

Shaving overtime hours worked

If a worker puts in 9 hours in a day and is only paid for 8 hours that day, then hours are being shaved and the worker is not being paid for all their hours worked. This is illegal and runs against the California Labor Code. The wages for the overtime hours has been earned and the money is due and may constitute a claim that may be recoverable by Donahoo & Associates, PC.

Overtime hours are highly compensated hours and represent a sacrifice by the employee to assist his employer in getting the work done according to schedule. Employers should compensate their employees for the sacrifice and commitment to their job.

In California, work over 8 hours in a day is considered overtime hours and or work over 40 hours in a week is considered overtime hours.

Working off the clock

What may seem like trivial uncompensated time can add up to significant shorting of worker paychecks. 15 minutes shaved off the time clock every day amounts to more than 60 hours per year and more than one year of unpaid work in 40 years on the job. It could be even more if those minutes would push work into overtime.

From an employer’s perspective, shaving hours from everyone on payroll can amount to a huge difference in profits. Hundreds of workers may be losing out on pay these deserve. This is sometimes referred to as wage theft, and can be a serious problem in prevailing wage related projects.

Falsifying certified payrolls

Certified Payroll records are records companies are required to keep when working on a public works projects where the payment of Prevailing Wages are required. Certified Payroll Records or CPRs are to assist the State and the awarding body of the project (the school district, city, or county or state for example) to determine if the proper prevailing wages are being paid for all hours worked.

Many cheating contractors choose to falsify the CPRs under penalty of perjury. An often-used scheme is the shaving or shorting of hours and then listing false hours on the CPRs. Here is a common example that we see often:

A worker on a public works project is working as a Laborer. The prevailing wage rate for this classification is set by the DIR at $40 per hour. The contractor instead pays the worker $10 per hour. If the worker works 40 hours per week they will be paid $10 x 40 hours or $400 for the week. However the project requires $40 per hour to be paid which would be $40 x 40 or $1,600 worth of wages the worker was owed.

To get around the law, the cheating contractor will list on the CPRs 10 hours worked (a shaving of 30 hours) at $40 per hour, which is $40 x 10 hours or $400. The cheating contractor shaves the hours on the CPR to show the minimum hours that will match the check paid to the worker.

This is done all of the time. It is very common. It is very illegal, it is against the labor code and it is a prevailing wage violation. If this is happening to you, you may be owed money.

Construction Worker using a smartphone on the job site.

Record your hours on prevailing wage jobs

It is extremely important to keep a record of your daily work times. Many prevailing wage claims benefit from this personal record of daily hours and work performed. Be sure to include any travel time, meal and rest breaks, hours worked, and work performed so it is easier to calculate overall compensation. Get our trial-tested tips on the best ways to record your hours.

Recover the earnings you deserve

Donahoo & Associates Team

The practice of shaving hours is far to common amongst contractors. This doesn't change the fact that it is against the labor code and it is a prevailing wage violation. If this is happening to you, you may be owed money.

If you think your employer is shaving hours, protect your rights! Contact Donahoo & Associates, PC today for a confidential discussion and analysis of your situation.

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