"Off The Clock" Work

Date: 31/08/2023

Is your employer requiring you to come in prior to the start of your shift to make sure you are set up for work? Is your employer requiring you to stay back at the end of your shift to pack up? If so, are you being paid for this work?

“Off the clock” work required of workers in contact call centres may be causing you to be underpaid. In contact call centres, “off the clock” work can look like coming in before your shift to have the necessary software running or staying back after your shift to finish up calls and shut software down. This could also be having to set up or shut down software around your break times.

As this work is essential to the job that you are completing, it could constitute wage theft. Without workers completing these tasks, workers would not be able to start their shifts, therefore it is work that needs to be compensated for.

“Off the clock” work red flags to look out for:

- Pre-shift work: setting up software, starting up procedures, putting on communication equipment.
- Post-shift work: shutting down software, closing procedures, cleaning up workspace and equipment, finishing up calls.
- Working during or skipping meal and rest breaks.

For some workers, this work could quickly add up to 30 minutes of unpaid work each day. On top of this, if a worker is already working the maximum number of hours per day, the “off the clock” work they are doing might also need to be paid at the overtime rate.

What can you do?
1. Talk to your union delegate and co-workers about the issue: If you are not being paid for the extra work you are doing, it is likely that your co-workers aren’t either. One of the best ways to address the issue of wage theft in the workplace is to organise amongst yourselves and tackle the issue together. It will shift the conversation from being an individual issue to being a shared, collective workplace issue.

2. Talk to your employer about the issue: Approaching your employer and bringing up the issue may be useful in determining whether they are willing to pay you for the extra work you are doing. If they are unwilling to, then next you can approach your union.

3. Talk to your union about this: We can help to reveal the extent of the issue in your workplace. We can work with you and your colleagues about how to rectify the issue and pursue any possible underpayments.

For further information please contact: Your ASU Organiser or the ASU Office on 03 9342 3300 or at [email protected]

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If you require any support or additional information, please contact your local ASU organiser or the ASU office on (03)9342 3300 or at [email protected]
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Call centres

The Australian Services Union has significant membership in call centres across Australia. 3/08/2022