Keeping Track of Your Call Center Time

Galvin B. Kennedy
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Galvin Kennedy is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice to overtime and wage claims.
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This is the sixth time this year that you’ve been waiting to speak to payroll. Since you began this call center job last year, you’ve had probably two checks that were accurate. Every other check has either been missing overtime, a few hours, or in some cases, an entire week of work. Unfortunately, you aren’t generally in the habit of diligently checking your pay stubs—in fact, you specifically signed up for direct deposit so you wouldn’t have to deal with checks. However, a few months ago your wife was balancing your checkbook and discovered that you had been missing several hundred dollars’ worth of pay.

You immediately spoke to the payroll department—for the first time—and they told you that since you no longer had the pay stubs, they couldn’t do anything about the lost wages.

Seriously? You just had to deal with getting gipped of over $300 worth of work?

From that day forward, you decided that you’d keep every single pay stub. Unfortunately, once you looked at the stubs, you still saw discrepancies. For you, and most of your co-workers, an average work day consists of 10 minutes setting up your computer, five hours of taking calls, a 25-minute lunch, another three hours of calls, and then 30 minutes of catch up emails and information gathering. Therefore, your typical work day is over 9 hours long. However, your pay stubs claim that the total hours you work each week is only 36 hours.

How can that be? You know you work more than that? How are you supposed to keep track in order to prove to the payroll department that your checks are wrong.

Tracking Your Time to Double Check Payroll

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) established the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in order to guarantee certain rights and adequate pay to workers. Unfortunately, many employers choose to ignore the FLSA in order to save themselves money. One such type of employer, who is arguably extremely good at loopholing your wages, is call center employers. Call centers have unique ways of recording their employees work hours. As a result, their employees wind up losing rightful pay, while they themselves wind up saving thousands of dollars by intimidating, confusing, and tricking their employees to work off the clock. 

The FLSA states that employers must keep accurate daily and weekly records of employee work hours, including time spent in pre-shift and post-shift job-related activities. However, due to the fact that most call centers only keep track of times when an employee is logged into their phones, precious pre-shift and post-shift time can be lost.

Fortunately, you can personally keep track of this time in order to make sure that you’re paid for all the time in which you work. Use the following tips and strategies to make sure your checks are accurate:

  • Make a spreadsheet. Don’t rely on your employer’s records; if possible, make a spreadsheet on your work computer in order to keep track of your start time, breaks, lunches, and ending times. If you’re unable to keep a spreadsheet on your computer, then bring a hardcopy with you to work to help keep track.
  • Speak with your supervisor about a schedule and time check. Some supervisors are willing to set up a system in which they will keep hardcopy documentation of your work hours, or even implement a role call to document break times, lunches, etc.
  • Document everything. If for any reason you must log out of your phone, but you’re still performing tasks associated with your job or the call center, make sure you write it down. If your payroll department still finds issues with your documenting, have your supervisor witness and sign off on them or start taking photographic proof—make sure your call center allows phones on the floor before using them.
  • Hold on to your pay stubs. Some wage discrepancies can take a long time to figure out, so make sure you keep your pay stubs for at least six months to a year after receiving them. This will not only help with payroll issues, but will also aid you with your taxes.
  • Always double check your hours and pay. Although you should be able to trust that your employer and your employer’s payroll division are able to accurately perform their jobs and pay you what you’ve earned, human error, computer errors, and miscommunications occur all the time. Don’t allow someone else’s mistake or glitch affect your pay. Check, double check, and even triple check to make sure you’re being paid for all the time that you work.

Making Sure You’re Paid What You’re Worth

Some pay checks can be difficult to understand and some employers add to the confusion by instigating pay exceptions and loopholes. Don’t allow your employer to trick you into working for free. Contact us immediately if you believe that you’re being unfairly paid or that your overtime wages are being withheld or unfairly adjusted. Remember, it’s your money, you have the right to do everything in your power to make sure it’s correct, including being represented by an overtime discrepancy lawyer. Call today to see how we can help you make sure you’re paid what you’re owed.

Do you have additional overtime concerns or questions? Do you think the DOL should take additional action to stop call center wage discrepancies? Share your thoughts in the comment section. We’re anxious to hear your opinion, and to allow others like you to benefit from what you have to say.


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