Overview: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations require employers to pay nonexempt employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. Usually, it's fairly simple to determine what counts as working hours. If an employee is at a desk filling out paperwork or on an assembly line manufacturing goods, then that time obviously counts as hours worked.
But there are many situations in which it is not quite so simple to figure out whether time counts as hours worked. What if an employee is taking a rest break, with her feet up on her desk? What if an employee is on call and must be ready to return to the office with little notice? What if an employee is traveling to a sales meeting in another city? What if an employee is attending a training session in the office? The answer: under the FLSA, it depends on the circumstances.
Trends: One of the most frequently litigated issues under the FLSA is whether activities that employees perform before and after a shift (known as preliminary and postlminary activities) are compensable. Meat- and poultry-processing companies are a frequent target of lawsuits alleging that employees should be paid for activities such as putting on protective gear before a shift, but these arguments could be extended to a variety of industries.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
This section helps HR professionals manage challenges that come with operating in multiple states, notably complying with differing state and key municipal laws, and addresses the pros and cons of having a centralized or decentralized HR department. Trends currently affecting multistate employers are identified, such as same-sex marriage laws and tracking various state leave laws, are discussed.
The Supreme Court has said it will hear a challenge by Tyson Foods of a $5.8 million judgment involving more than 3,000 workers at the company's Iowa pork-processing plant. The workers claimed Tyson failed to pay them for time spent putting on and taking off protective clothing and equipment.
Telecommuting programs have numerous advantages for both employees and employers, including combatting absenteeism, boosting productivity and morale, and increasing employee retention. Employers should follow the steps in this How To on managing telecommuters.
California employers seeking to establish expectations for meal and rest breaks and to demonstrate compliance with applicable federal and California law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers that have employees who perform work outside should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers seeking to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the California law requiring employers to provide unpaid break time and reasonable locations for employees to express breast milk should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook .
California employers that must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and seek to address the circumstances under which employees classified by the employer as nonexempt will receive the overtime premium should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers seeking to provide employees with an overview of its business travel and reimbursement policy and to help maintain reasonable limits on business expenses should consider including this model poilcy statement in their handbook.
California employers seeking to advise employees on how to proceed in case of bad weather should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on complying with the FLSA hours worked requirements.