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 a change in the Philadelphia Fair Workweek Ordinance's implementation date.
McDonald's has settled a wage theft class action that accused the fast-food chain of underpaying 38,000 workers at its California restaurants by failing to give them adequate rest breaks and denying overtime pay.
Having an employee handbook that prohibits employees from working during meal periods is not enough for Oregon employers to avoid liability, the Oregon Court of Appeals held in Maza v. Waterford Operations.
Updated to reflect information on an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling concerning meal breaks.
Updated to reflect forthcoming California amendments expanding lactation accommodation protections.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments to the breastfeeding breaks law.
Updated to reflect forthcoming final overtime rule updating and revising the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption requirements.
Updated guidance to reflect forthcoming final overtime rule updating and revising the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption requirements.
HR guidance on complying with the FLSA hours worked requirements.