Wage theft is not as easy to spot as you might think. Most employers don’t pay cash, so the prospect of your employer taking out a few bills before handing over your pay is low. It’s more likely that your employer direct deposits your pay into your bank account. Many workers don’t check to make sure that they get paid the right amount as it’s unlikely that they receive a pay stub to compare the deposit to.
While failing to pay you the total amount due is technically theft, it may be easier to visualize this tactic if you call it cheating.
How can an employer cheat you out of wages?
If you have doubts about your pay, start noting down all the hours you work and the breaks you take. In another column, note down the money that you receive each week or month. Here are some of the things you might notice:
- You receive less than the minimum or agreed wage: Check your paycheck it actually reflects an increase after you received a pay raise. If you receive minimum wage, remember that it also periodically increases.
- Your boss tells you to take time off instead of paying overtime: When you work more than 40 hours per week, your employer must pay you time and a half for it. Being allowed to come in late the next day instead only equates to them paying you at your usual rate. It saves the company the extra 50% that the law requires them to pay.
- You work a few minutes extra before or after your agreed hours: Your job starts at nine, yet you get there at 8:45 am, and your boss gives you work to do right away. Or, you’re supposed to get off work at 5 pm, but you do not get off until 5:15 pm. If your schedule says 9 to 5, then your employer might owe you for any work before and after your shift.
Noting things down makes it easier to show the evidence to your boss and have them correct any payment errors. If they refuse to make the necessary corrections, then you may need to take legal action to get the wages your employer owes you.