Published on March 11, 2014
Determining the start of the workday
Calculating hours worked by employees may seem simple, but the Fair Labor Standards Act has some rather involved nuances when it comes to track worker time and attendance.
BLR.com points out that the FLSA doesn't define the term "workday," which commonly refers to the shift or time spent on the job by an employee.
Because the meaning isn't spelled out, disagreements about activities performed at the very beginning or end of a work period are sometimes difficult to resolve.
The specific example provided by BLR.com - employees changing in and out of protective garments and walking to a time clock at a frozen food production facility - led to a lawsuit filed by staff.
The workers felt they should be compensated for these duties. The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court eventually ruled for the employer, noting that changing and walking time were customarily excluded from pay by collective bargaining.
Another recent "donning and doffing" case was described in legal journal Lexology, where employees of a steel company argued that putting on work-related clothing required payment.
The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in a similar fashion to the Eighth Circuit Court.
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