Understanding Working and Non-Working Time In California

According to FLSA, every worker is protected against unfair practices from their employers. Therefore, this act has various regulations to ensure employees get their minimum wage and have the right overtime. Whether you are working under split shifts California, part-time, or a full-time employee, it’s vital to understand the wage and hours rules set to ensure your employer doesn’t take advantage of you.

How Does FLSA Work

Non-exempt workers have to be paid a minimum wage for all hours they work. Also, they have to be given overtime for any work exceeding 40 hours in a week. Generally, any employer or employee is concerned with working hours or non-working hours when it comes to wages as follows:

Hours worked

This includes the time an employee spends working on their duties. It’s the compensable time where an employee must receive at least the minimum wage, having worked for 40 hours in a week. The time may not include the one and one-half times of the regular rate for overtime earned.

Besides, hours worked may also include any other time an employee is under the control of his/her employer. Meaning, in such times, an employer may be obligated to pay the employee even if he/she is not performing any task. For instance, a driver who waits for 30 minutes while a truck is loading and cannot leave the area cannot be denied pay because he/she was not performing any task. In such circumstances, some principles apply:

  • Waiting time: Under the Act, waiting time depends on the circumstance of each case. The fact must show that an employee was waiting to be engaged or was engaged to wait for a given task.
  • On-call time: Employees who remain on call while on the employer premises may be compensated for this time. According to the Act, such employees are working and should be paid.

Other than the above, the below may also be considered as working time:

  • Attending meetings or seminars: Such need not be counted as time works except when one is engaged outside normal working hours.
  • Travel time: Any compensation for travel time depends on the kind of travel being made

Non-working time

Not all non-working time should be paid. For instance, if an employee is required to remain on call at home, they can use the time to do their own things. Meaning their non-working time is not controlled by their employer. Such time is not paid if:

  • An employee is relieved off duty long enough and can use that time to carry out their personal activities.
  • An employee is made to understand that they will not resume duty until a specific time. This mostly happens to an employee who works in split shifts.

Other instances counted as non-working time may include traveling to and from home, meal breaks, not unless one is engaged to work.

To ensure compliance with the above, employees and employers must keep a proper record of the hours worked. However, if one has a dispute and needs to be compensated, the best way to handle such disputes is to speak with an experienced employment lawyer.

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