Working to earn a living wage is why most people in Michigan and elsewhere go to work. If individuals earn an hourly wage and are not otherwise exempt, they can typically expect to earn overtime wages if they work more than 40 hours a week. Unfortunately, some employers may attempt to avoid paying their workers those extra wages, and unpaid overtime essentially leaves employees working certain hours without compensation.
It was reported that unpaid overtime is becoming an even bigger issue that it already was. In a recent research study, one out of every 10 employees indicated that they have worked an additional 20 hours a week without pay. The report showed that the number of employees working unpaid overtime has doubled since the health pandemic began. Additionally, the number of average unpaid hours has also increased.
The increase is suspected to have occurred due, in part, to the following issues:
- Workers being afraid to speak up about unpaid work out of fear of losing their jobs
- Workers having to put in extra hours to cover for employees who were let go or who left due to the pandemic
- Workers having to adjust to the extra workload created by the pandemic in other ways
Unpaid overtime can put an additional burden on workers in Michigan and elsewhere who are trying to stay afloat during this difficult time. If individuals believe that they are not being justly compensated for their overtime work, they may want to determine whether they could have reason to file a legal claim. Not paying employees properly for the hours they work could constitute wage theft.