In order to determine how much an employee should be compensated, it helps to know the amount of hours they worked. But what hours count as compensable time under FLSA? Normally the “workday” is the period of time between the start and completion of the employee’s “principal activity”. However, occasionally, the line blurs between what it counted as compensable time during that workday.
- Suffered or Permitted to work: an employee may voluntarily continue to work at the end of the shift to finish the assigned task or to correct errors. This time is compensable.
- Waiting time: if the employee is engaged to wait, that is compensable time; if the employee is waiting to be engaged, that is not compensable time.
Example of engaged to wait- a fireman playing checkers while waiting for an alarm.
- On-Call time: an employee who is required to remain on call while on work premises is compensable time; an employee who is required to remain on call while at home is not compensable time.
- Rest and Meal Periods: short rest periods, typically 20 minutes or less, are compensable; bona fide meals, typically 30 minutes or more, are not compensable. However, if the employee is not completely relieved from their duty while eating, it is compensable.
- Sleeping time: when an employee works for less than 24 hours, but is allowed to sleep when not busy, that is compensable; an employee who works for 24 hours or more, may agree to exclude hours worked bona fide regularly scheduled sleeping periods of not more than 8 hours as long as there are adequate sleeping facilities provided by the employer, and if the employee can usually have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
- Lectures, Meetings, Training Programs: is not compensable if (1) it is outside of normal hours, (2) it is voluntary, (3) it is not job related, AND (4) no other work is concurrently performed.
- Travel time: this depends on the travel involved; home to work travel is not compensable; home to work on a special one day assignment is compensable; time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity (such as travel from one job site to another) during the workday is compensable; travel that keeps the employee away from home overnight is compensable.
If you have any questions regarding what time is considered compensable under FLSA, please speak to an employment law attorney.
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