I have come into a strange position and could greatly use some advice on how I should proceed. I am an undergraduate student at an American university in a computer engineering program. For the last several months, I have been hired as a student developer working for the university. However due to HR issues I have been working without any compensation. (I have so far worked over 300 hours for the university without pay.)
However last week they have finally got around to filling out the HR paperwork to officially hire me. My immediate boss feels bad about me working all this time and wants to "make it up". He has suggested doing this by going and "padding my pay" by a few hours each week until the time is covered. However I have been told to not let anyone else know or there will be trouble for it. This feels very shady and I am really struggling over whether this is something that is acceptable or not to do.
I know the thing that most people are likely to comment on is “Why the world did you not just quit?” The reason for this is really twofold. The position is a really nice one, I am able to be doing development work to help build up my resume and pay for school as a freshman student. The second being that I really do need the money from the position to help pay for school, and I was told throughout the entire process that I would start being payed “Just next week”.
I understand that they probably were just taking advantage of my ignorance (this is my first job), but has anyone ever had any experience like this where they can give advise on how I should proceed? (Or if the suggested method of padding hours is acceptable?) I’m told that “People do it all the time”, but also being told “don’t tell anyone” just makes it seem somewhat suspicious.
Also as a side note to the site administrators, I apologize for posting this on a separate account from my main account. I just don’t want this traced to me as I have been told that I will be in a lot of trouble if this is found out. (Either the fact that my hours are padded, or that I was working without pay.) (I guess I am breaking a bunch of labor laws by working without receiving payment, and reporting time that I haven’t worked is also illegal. (Theft in office)).
Any advice that could be provided would be greatly appreciated. (Particularly concerning the legality and ethics of the situation.)
( 5 months ago )
The time you worked without being officially hired is water under the bridge. You were a volunteer employee and you will never officially get paid for that time. Let it be lesson to you that you never start working at a job until you do the HR paperwork.
It does count as experience in some ways but you will need to separate it out from the paid time going forward on your resume. When future potential employers do a background check, HR is going to tell them your official start date even though you think you started earlier. Thus you will fail the background check as being a liar.
Document only the hours you worked or an auditor could come along and find that you are committing timesheet fraud and you could go to jail. No one at that point is going to believe your boss told you to do it or that you were simply making up hours worked before you were hired. When I worked for an audit agency, we sent several people to jail for lying on their timesheets. It is not worth the risk as universities are almost certainly audited.