HR Support on Complying with FLSA on Hours Worked

Editor's Note: What counts as working time? What doesn't?

Michael CardmanOverview: 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

Latest items in Hours Worked

  • West Virginia to Count More Activities as Working Time

    Date:
    16 December 2014
    Type:
    News

    New regulations proposed recently by the West Virginia Division of Labor are expected to establish new definitions for what counts as working time under the state's minimum wage and overtime laws. These definitions differ from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a wide range of areas, including pre- and post-shift activities, training time, and break periods.

  • Supreme Court's Amazon Ruling Could Make Plaintiffs Think Twice Before Filing FLSA Lawsuits

    Date:
    09 December 2014
    Type:
    News

    The Supreme Court's ruling in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk sets a significant new standard: Just because an employer requires its employees to perform an activity or benefits from them performing an activity does not necessarily mean that they must be paid for that activity.

  • New Rules Expected for Chain Stores in San Francisco: Employment Manual Updated

    Date:
    03 December 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Eleven sections of the Employment Law Manual have been updated to reflect the recent passage of two new ordinances in San Francisco that, once signed by the city's mayor, would establish significant new rules for chain stores.

  • San Francisco Expected to Regulate Chain Stores' Hiring and Scheduling Practices

    Date:
    03 December 2014
    Type:
    News

    New ordinances awaiting the mayor's signature would, among other things, require certain businesses to offer any additional hours of work available to current part-time employees before hiring new employees or using subcontractors or a temporary services or staffing agency to do work.

  • Meal Breaks Handbook Statement: Delaware

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Delaware employers with five or more employees that seek to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the state's meal break requirements should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Meal Breaks for Minors Handbook Statement: Delaware

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Delaware employers who employ minor employees (those under age 18) and that seek to inform the minor employees and their supervisors about legally required meal breaks and to demonstrate compliance with the law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Meal Breaks for Minors Handbook Statement: Iowa

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Iowa employers that employ minor employees (those under age 16) and seek to inform the minor employees and their supervisors about legally-required meal breaks and to demonstrate compliance with the law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Meal Breaks Handbook Statement: North Dakota

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    North Dakota employers seeking to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the state's meal break requirements should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Lactation Accommodation Handbook Statement: Oklahoma

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Oklahoma employers that wish to comply with Oklahoma's voluntary lactation accommodation provisions should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Work Schedules Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to provide an overview of their typical hours of operation, outline expectations regarding when employees report to work and establish employer discretion to modify the work schedule as needed to meet operational demands should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.