Overview: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires 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: Many lawsuits have been filed by employees claiming the activities they perform before and after a shift (known as preliminary and postlminary activities) are compensable working time.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect the forthcoming Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance.
Updated to include information on a California Court of Appeal ruling concerning on-duty meal breaks.
Updated to reflect amendments to the show-up time / reporting time law, effective July 19, 2019.
Updated to reflect amendments to the show-up time / reporting time law in Rhode Island, effective July 19, 2019.
XpertHR has added two checklists and a 50-State chart to help an employer comply with the various federal, state and local breastfeeding/lactation accommodation laws.
This checklist may be used to ensure compliance with various federal, state and local breastfeeding/lactation accommodation laws.
This checklist may be used to handle a lactation accommodation request.
Enhanced to improve scope of coverage; updated to reflect forthcoming lactation accommodation amendments in Washington State.
Chicago has passed the Fair Workweek Ordinance requiring employers to provide employees advance notice of work schedules and additional pay for schedule changes.
HR guidance on complying with the FLSA hours worked requirements.