The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) reports that payroll issues can arise when hourly employees work through scheduled breaks, show up early and start working, or stay late and continue working past their normal ending times.
Employers sometimes think it is permissible to not pay employees for such unauthorized or unneeded work time. Unfortunately, that is not how the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or (TWC) would view the matter in a wage claim situation. Under longstanding wage and hour regulations relating to hours worked, employers must count as hours worked any time that they either know or should know the employee is working. DOL's stance on that is particularly blunt: Employers may not simply sit back and accept the benefit of employees' work time without paying for it, and if you know or should know that an employee is working without authorization, the only solution is to use your power as employer to enforce its rules.
Put another way, employees working unauthorized or unneeded time is not a pay matter - it is a disciplinary matter. Your practice has to pay for such work time, but you do not have to be happy about it; you may administer appropriate corrective action to ensure that such a problem does not happen again. Handle such problems as what they are: rule violations.
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