The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their employees for all hours they are “suffered or permitted to work.” These hours are known as “work hours” or compensable time.
What is compensable time?
Compensable time includes all hours during which an individual is actually performing productive work and all hours an employee is required by his or her employer to remain available for the next assignment. Compensable time does not include periods where an individual is relieved of all obligations and is free to pursue his or her own interests.
How is compensable time calculated?
To determine how much of an employee’s time is compensable time, employers must determine whether the employee is on duty, and how rest periods or certain industry extended hours affect an employee’s hours of work. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division enforces work hour standards.
What are the penalties for noncompliance?
FLSA violations are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to six months or both. In addition, these violations are subject to civil liability in state or federal courts and employers may be required to compensate employees for unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, court costs and any other amount a court sees fit to impose. Fee amounts may increase for repeat and willful offenders.
Employers may not discharge or discriminate in any manner against an employee who files a complaint or cooperates with the DOL in an investigation or proceeding.
Contact Associated Underwriters Insurance for more information on wage payment and work hour laws.