Nov 28, 2016 06:00 AM EST

Know Your Rights: Avoiding Unpaid Overtime And Unfair Salary Deductions Through Employment Law

By JC Santos

Businesses do not limit their cost-cutting tactics through profit maximization and tax avoidance. More often than not, they cut a few more stems in the employee payroll and these unfair trimmings become part of the company's profit. Almost everywhere, employees suffer unpaid overtime and unfair salary deductions not just because of employers with bad accounting habits but due to employees not knowledgeable about their legal rights — or are working under pressure.

Unpaid overtime is a frequent issue amongst employees in Japan. According to Japan Times, 40 percent of Japanese workers will put in about 16 hours of unpaid overtime due to long work hours. The news website mentions that work hour regulation is lax in the country.

Unpaid overtime is not just a long shift but also the actual shop door-closing and accounting conducted by employees. According to The Market Mogul, employees cannot close the shop as long as a customer is inside -- even if it is way past the indicated closing hours. Post-closing, managers and employees will still need to account for the day's activities and perform maintenance tasks as needed, which can take from 15 minutes to an hour of unpaid work.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 Section 13-16 allows employers to deduct on employee wages if they are anything government-mandated -- such as income tax or student loan deductions and the existence of a contract signed by both employer and employee specifies a deduction for a certain benefit the employer will provide. Any other deductions out of bounds is considerable unfair deductions

While the ERA 1996 is limited to the United States, other countries often have similar employment rights. The US enforces these laws faithfully on both ends. The efficacy of this legislation in other countries depends on a government's dedication to protect employees -- often a hot debate topic among employees and politicians.

In most cases, managerial pressure, and "leverages", are common reasons for employees to fail to report discrepancies. For example, managers give leeway to employees who "forgive" a little occasional mismanagement including unfair bonuses to themselves taken from another employee. It may also be peer pressure or fear of unemployment that drives the employee to avoid filing a report.

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