Oil, Gas, and Field Workers: Are You Including ALL of Your Work Time When Calculating Your Hours?

You have a job to do. You have been hired by your employer to perform specific tasks, and much of your work day is taken up with those tasks. However, you are still putting in significant time doing other things that are specifically requested by your employer or necessary to your job. It is important for you to keep track of all of your time so that you can keep an accurate accounting of your hours and collect fair compensation for the time that you have worked.

Five Things We Don’t Want You to Forget About

As you add up your hours, we encourage you to think about all of your work and to include the following kinds of things in your calculation:

  • Travel between job sites. If you have been asked to work on a different job site, then the time that you spend getting from one place to the other is not time “off” but rather time for which you should be paid.
  • All meetings. Safety meetings, scheduled meetings, and emergency meetings are all work-related and should be included in the hours that you work.
  • Paperwork. If you are asked to complete paperwork on the job site or at home then the time that you spend doing this work should be included in the hours that you work.
  • Scheduling and phone calls. Are you asked to complete a schedule or to call in to check your schedule? That is time spent working and should be accounted for accordingly.
  • Tasks that are not part of your regular duties. Are you training a new employee? Filling in for someone who is sick? Drafting a safety manual? Performing other duties that are out of the ordinary for you? These are all part of your work week and should be counted as such.

Of course, this is list is not all inclusive and there may be other things that you are asked to do that should be counted as work hours.

How to Get Your Employer to Listen—and More Importantly to Pay

Your employer does not want to pay you overtime and may try to tell you that you are paid per day or per job and not per hour. However, your employer may not be right. To learn more about your rights and about how to get your employer to pay you fair wages for the work you have done, read our FREE report, 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim, and start a live chat with us today.

 

When Hours Don’t Count for Overtime Benefit Consideration

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, when employees work more than 40 hours in one week, their employers are required to pay them overtime of one and one-half times regular pay for each extra hour worked. Unfortunately, certain exemptions can be made depending on an employee’s job title and field that they work in, but the basic understanding should generally be upheld by all employers. However, calculating hours worked in order to justify the 40-hour work week can cause immeasurable problems for you and your employer.

If you take 35 hours’ worth of paid vacation time but then work an eight-hour shift, do you deserve three hours of overtime (OT)? If you were sick for three days (while taking sick days) but decided to make up some hours on your days off, do you deserve OT, since you were technically paid for the days you were sick? What hours are actually calculated for hours worked?

True Hours Worked

Although some careers vary on overtime calculation standards, the oil industry—as well as the majority of non-exempt employees in Texas—determines overtime hours strictly based on hours that are physically worked. The Texas Workforce Commission states that employers must only pay employees overtime for hours in which they are "suffered or permitted to work" over their 40-hour workweeks. In other words, only hours physically worked in excess of 40 in a seven-day workweek are counted toward overtime pay. This excludes “work” hours such as:

  • Paid leave hours – Any hours in which you will be paid your normal salary, but are not physically performing your duties. This includes sick days, medical appointment blocks, forced vacation, and disciplinary investigations.
  • Paid holiday hours – Any hours that are taken for holiday pay are not calculated into the hours that you physically work throughout the rest of the week. For example, if your vacation started on a Wednesday and ended the following Wednesday, and to get ahead you worked 30 hours between Monday and Tuesday, your additional 24 hours of vacation time will not be added to the 30 you already worked in order to give you 14 hours of overtime. Likewise, if you work on the weekend following your vacation to make up hours, it won’t be factored in with the vacation pay you took for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  
  • Extra hours worked (over eight hours) in a single day during a normal workweek – Except in certain situations, when you work over eight hours in one day, but your total hours for the week remain at 40, you won’t receive OT for that day. Unless the extra hours result in the total hours for the workweek going over 40 hours.

Being Informed Can Help You Get Your Rightful Pay

In can be difficult to accurately calculate your overtime, as well as determine if your employer is skimming your wages. However, with the proper knowledge and help, you can ensure that you get paid your rightful wages for the work you do. Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have with your overtime wages. Remember, it’s your money, make sure you are receiving it.

Need more information about your worker rights? Please feel free to download our free report, 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim. You’ll not only learn more about your rights and claim options, but you’ll also see how our knowledge and experience can help you get the justice you deserve.