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e-CFR data is current as of November 30, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter BPart 778Subpart C → Subject Group


Title 29: Labor
PART 778—OVERTIME COMPENSATION
Subpart C—Payments That May Be Excluded From the “Regular Rate”


Payments not for Hours Worked

§778.216   The provisions of section 7(e)(2) of the Act.

Section 7(e)(2) of the Act provides that the term “regular rate” shall not be deemed to include “payments made for occasional periods when no work is performed due to vacation, holiday, illness, failure of the employer to provide sufficient work, or other similar cause; reasonable payments for traveling expenses, or other expenses, incurred by an employee in the furtherance of his employer's interests and properly reimbursable by the employer; and other similar payments to an employee which are not made as compensation for his hours of employment *  *  *.” However, since such payments are not made as compensation for the employee's hours worked in any workweek, no part of such payments can be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Act.

§778.217   Reimbursement for expenses.

(a) General rule. Where an employee incurs expenses on his employer's behalf or where he is required to expend sums by reason of action taken for the convenience of his employer, section 7(e)(2) is applicable to reimbursement for such expenses. Payments made by the employer to cover such expenses are not included in the employee's regular rate (if the amount of the reimbursement reasonably approximates the expense incurred). Such payment is not compensation for services rendered by the employees during any hours worked in the workweek.

(b) Illustrations. Payment by way of reimbursement for the following types of expenses will not be regarded as part of the employee's regular rate:

(1) The actual amount expended by an employee in purchasing supplies, tools, materials, cell phone plans, or equipment on behalf of his employer or in paying organization membership dues or credentialing exam fees where relevant to the employer's business.

(2) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee in purchasing, laundering or repairing uniforms or special clothing which his employer requires him to wear.

(3) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee, who is traveling “over the road” on his employer's business, for transportation (whether by private car or common carrier) and living expenses away from home, other travel expenses, such as taxicab fares, incurred while traveling on the employer's business.

(4) “Supper money”, a reasonable amount given to an employee, who ordinarily works the day shift and can ordinarily return home for supper, to cover the cost of supper when he is requested by his employer to continue work during the evening hours.

(5) The actual or reasonably approximate amount expended by an employee as temporary excess home-to-work travel expenses incurred (i) because the employer has moved the plant to another town before the employee has had an opportunity to find living quarters at the new location or (ii) because the employee, on a particular occasion, is required to report for work at a place other than his regular workplace.

The foregoing list is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive.

(c) Payments excluding expenses. (1) It should be noted that only the actual or reasonably approximate amount of the expense is excludable from the regular rate. If the amount paid as “reimbursement” is disproportionately large, the excess amount will be included in the regular rate.

(2) A reimbursement amount for an employee traveling on his or her employer's business is per se reasonable, and not disproportionately large, if it:

(i) Is the same or less than the maximum reimbursement payment or per diem allowance permitted for the same type of expense under 41 CFR subtitle F (the Federal Travel Regulation System) or IRS guidance issued under 26 CFR 1.274-5(g) or (j); and

(ii) Otherwise meets the requirements of this section.

(3) Paragraph (c)(2) of this section creates no inference that a reimbursement for an employee traveling on his or her employer's business exceeding the amount permitted under 41 CFR subtitle F (the Federal Travel Regulation System) or IRS guidance issued under 26 CFR 1.274-5(g) or (j) is unreasonable for purposes of this section.

(d) Payments for expenses personal to the employee. The expenses for which reimbursement is made must in order to merit exclusion from the regular rate under this section, be expenses incurred by the employee on the employer's behalf or for his benefit or convenience. If the employer reimburses the employee for expenses normally incurred by the employee for his own benefit, he is, of course, increasing the employee's regular rate thereby. An employee normally incurs expenses in traveling to and from work, buying lunch, paying rent, and the like. If the employer reimburses him for these normal everyday expenses, the payment is not excluded from the regular rate as “reimbursement for expenses.” Whether the employer “reimburses” the employee for such expenses or furnishes the facilities (such as free lunches or free housing), the amount paid to the employee (or the reasonable cost to the employer or fair value where facilities are furnished) enters into the regular rate of pay as discussed in §778.116. See also §531.37(b) of this chapter.

[33 FR 986, Jan. 26, 1968, as amended at 84 FR 68772, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.218   Pay for certain idle hours.

(a) General rules. Payments which are made for occasional periods when the employee is not at work due to vacation, holiday, illness, failure of the employer to provide sufficient work, or other similar cause, where the payments are in amounts approximately equivalent to the employee's normal earnings for a similar period of time, are not made as compensation for his hours of employment. Therefore, such payments may be excluded from the regular rate of pay under section 7(e)(2) of the Act and, for the same reason, no part of such payments may be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Act.

(b) Limitations on exclusion. The provision of section 7(e)(2) of the Act deals with the type of absences which are infrequent or sporadic or unpredictable. It has no relation to regular “absences” such as regularly scheduled days of rest. Sundays may not be workdays in a particular establishment, but this does not make them either “holidays” or “vacations,” or days on which the employee is absent because of the failure of the employer to provide sufficient work. The term holiday is read in its ordinary usage to refer to those days customarily observed in the community in celebration of some historical or religious occasion; it does not refer to days of rest given to employees in lieu of or as an addition to compensation for working on other days.

(c) Failure to provide work. The term “failure of the employer to provide sufficient work” is intended to refer to occasional, sporadically recurring situations where the employee would normally be working but for such a factor as machinery breakdown, failure of expected supplies to arrive, weather conditions affecting the ability of the employee to perform the work and similarly unpredictable obstacles beyond the control of the employer. The term does not include reduction in work schedule (as discussed in §§778.321 through 778.329), ordinary temporary layoff situations, or any type of routine, recurrent absence of the employee.

(d) Other similar cause. The term “other similar cause” refers to payments made for periods of absence due to factors like holidays, vacations, sickness, and failure of the employer to provide work. Examples of “similar causes” are absences due to jury service, reporting to a draft board, attending a funeral, inability to reach the workplace because of weather conditions, attending adoption or child custody hearings, attending school activities, donating organs or blood, voting, volunteering as a first responder, military leave, family medical leave, and nonroutine paid leave required under state or local laws. Only absences of a non-routine character which are infrequent or sporadic or unpredictable are included in the “other similar cause” category.

[33 FR 986, Jan. 26, 1968, as amended at 84 FR 68772, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.219   Pay for forgoing holidays and unused leave.

(a) Sums payable whether employee works or not. As explained in §778.218, certain payments made to an employee for periods during which he performs no work because of a holiday, vacation, or illness are not required to be included in the regular rate because they are not regarded as compensation for working. When an employee who is entitled to such paid leave forgoes the use of leave and instead receives a payment that is the approximate equivalent to the employees' normal earnings for a similar period of working time, and is in addition to the employee's normal compensation for hours worked, the sum allocable to the forgone leave may be excluded from the regular rate. Such payments may be excluded whether paid out during the pay period in which the holiday or prescheduled leave is forgone or as a lump sum at a later point in time. Since it is not compensation for work, pay for unused leave may not be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Act. Four examples in which the maximum hours standard is 40 hours may serve to illustrate this principle:

(1) An employee whose rate of pay is $12 an hour and who usually works a 6-day, 48-hour week is entitled, under his employment contract, to a week's paid vacation in the amount of his usual straight-time earnings—$576. He forgoes his vacation and works 50 hours in the week in question. He is owed $600 as his total straight-time earnings for the week, and $576 in addition as his vacation pay. Under the statute he is owed an additional $60 as overtime premium (additional half-time) for the 10 hours in excess of 40. His regular rate of $12 per hour has not been increased by virtue of the payment of $576 vacation pay, but no part of the $576 may be offset against the statutory overtime compensation which is due. (Nothing in this example is intended to imply that the employee has a statutory right to $576 or any other sum as vacation pay. This is a matter of private contract between the parties who may agree that vacation pay will be measured by straight-time earnings for any agreed number of hours or days, or by total normal or expected take-home pay for the period, or that no vacation pay at all will be paid. The example merely illustrates the proper method of computing overtime for an employee whose employment contract provides $576 vacation pay.)

(2) An employee who is entitled under his employment contract to 8 hours' pay at his rate of $12 an hour for the Christmas holiday, forgoes his holiday and works 9 hours on that day. During the entire week, he works a total of 50 hours. He is paid under his contract $600 as straight-time compensation for 50 hours plus $96 as idle holiday pay. He is owed, under the statute, an additional $60 as overtime premium (additional half-time) for the 10 hours in excess of 40. His regular rate of $12 per hour has not been increased by virtue of the holiday pay but no part of the $96 holiday pay may be credited toward statutory overtime compensation due.

(3) An employee whose rate of pay is $12 an hour and who usually works a 40-hour week is entitled to two weeks of paid time off per year per his or her employer's policies. The employee takes one week of paid time off during the year and is paid $480 pursuant to employer policy for the one week of unused paid time off at the end of the year. The leave payout may be excluded from the employee's regular rate of pay, but no part of the payout may be credited toward statutory overtime compensation due.

(4) An employee is scheduled to work a set schedule of two 24-hour shifts on duty, followed by four 24-hour shifts off duty. This cycle repeats every six days. The employer recognizes ten holidays per year and provides employees with holiday pay for these days at amounts approximately equivalent to their normal earnings for a similar period of working time. Due to the cycle of the schedule, employees may be on duty during some recognized holidays and off duty during others, and due to the nature of their work, employees may be required to forgo a holiday if an emergency arises. In recognition of this fact, the employer provides the employees holiday pay regardless of whether the employee works on the holiday. If the employee works on the holiday, the employee will receive his or her regular salary in addition to the holiday pay. In these circumstances, the sum allocable to the holiday pay may be excluded from the regular rate.

(b) Premiums for holiday work distinguished. The example in paragraph (a)(2) of this section should be distinguished from a situation in which an employee is entitled to idle holiday pay under the employment agreement only when he is actually idle on the holiday, and who, if he forgoes his holiday also, under his contract, forgoes his idle holiday pay.

(1) The typical situation is one in which an employee is entitled by contract to 8 hours' pay at his rate of $12 an hour for certain named holidays when no work is performed. If, however, he is required to work on such days, he does not receive his idle holiday pay. Instead he receives a premium rate of $18 (time and one-half) for each hour worked on the holiday. If he worked 9 hours on the holiday and a total of 50 hours for the week, he would be owed, under his contract, $162 (9 × $18) for the holiday work and $492 for the other 41 hours worked in the week, a total of $654. Under the statute (which does not require premium pay for a holiday) he is owed $660 for a workweek of 50 hours at a rate of $12 an hour. Since the holiday premium is one and one-half times the established rate for nonholiday work, it does not increase the regular rate because it qualifies as an overtime premium under section 7(e)(6), and the employer may credit it toward statutory overtime compensation due and need pay the employee only the additional sum of $6 to meet the statutory requirements. (For a discussion of holiday premiums see §778.203.)

(2) If all other conditions remained the same but the contract called for the payment of $24 (double time) for each hour worked on the holiday, the employee would receive, under his contract $216 (9 × $24) for the holiday work in addition to $492 for the other 41 hours worked, a total of $708. Since this holiday premium is also an overtime premium under section 7(e)(6), it is excludable from the regular rate and the employer may credit it toward statutory overtime compensation due. Because the total thus paid exceeds the statutory requirements, no additional compensation is due under the Act. In distinguishing this situation from that in the example in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, it should be noted that the contract provisions in the two situations are different and result in the payment of different amounts. In the example in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the employee received a total of $204 attributable to the holiday: 8 hours' idle holiday pay at $12 an hour (8 × $12), due him whether he worked or not, and $108 pay at the nonholiday rate for 9 hours' work on the holiday. In the situation discussed in this paragraph (b)(2), the employee received $216 pay for working on the holiday—double time for 9 hours of work. All of the pay in this situation is paid for and directly related to the number of hours worked on the holiday.

[84 FR 68773, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.220   “Show-up” or “reporting” pay.

(a) Applicable principles. Under some employment agreements, an employee may be paid a minimum of a specified number of hours' pay at the applicable straight time or overtime rate on infrequent and sporadic occasions when, after reporting to work at his scheduled starting time on a regular work day or on another day on which he has been scheduled to work, he is not provided with the expected amount of work. The amounts that may be paid under such an agreement over and above what the employee would receive if paid at his customary rate only for the number of hours worked are paid to compensate the employee for the time wasted by him in reporting for work and to prevent undue loss of pay resulting from the employer's failure to provide expected work during regular hours. One of the primary purposes of such an arrangement is to discourage employers from calling their employees in to work for only a fraction of a day when they might get full-time work elsewhere. Pay arrangements of this kind are commonly referred to as “show-up” or “reporting” pay. Under the principles and subject to the conditions set forth in subpart B of this part and §§778.201 through 778.207, that portion of such payment which represents compensation at the applicable rates for the straight time or overtime hours actually worked, if any, during such period may be credited as straight time or overtime compensation, as the case may be, in computing overtime compensation due under the Act. The amount by which the specified number of hours' pay exceeds such compensation for the hours actually worked is considered as a payment that is not made for hours worked. As such, it may be excluded from the computation of the employee's regular rate and cannot be credited toward statutory overtime compensation due him.

(b) Application illustrated. To illustrate, assume that an employee entitled to overtime pay after 40 hours a week whose workweek begins on Monday and who is paid $12 an hour reports for work on Monday according to schedule and is sent home after being given only 2 hours of work. He then works 8 hours each day on Tuesday through Saturday, inclusive, making a total of 42 hours for the week. The employment agreement covering the employees in the plant, who normally work 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday, provides that an employee reporting for scheduled work on any day will receive a minimum of 4 hours' work or pay. The employee thus receives not only the $24 earned in the 2 hours of work on Monday but an extra 2 hours' “show-up” pay, or $24 by reason of this agreement. However, since this $24 in “show-up” pay is not regarded as compensation for hours worked, the employee's regular rate remains $12 and the overtime requirements of the Act are satisfied if he receives, in addition to the $504 straight-time pay for 42 hours and the $24 “show-up” payment, the sum of $12 as extra compensation for the 2 hours of overtime work on Saturday.

(c) Show-up or reporting pay mandated by law. State and local laws may mandate payments or penalties paid to an employee when, before or after reporting to work as scheduled, the employee is not provided with the expected amount of work. All such payments or penalties paid to employees that are mandated by such laws and that are not payments for hours worked by the employee are excludable from the regular rate if such penalties are paid or payments made on an infrequent or sporadic basis. They cannot be credited toward statutory overtime compensation due.

[46 FR 7312, Jan. 23, 1981, as amended at 85 FR 68774, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.221   “Call-back” pay.

(a) General. Typically, “call-back” or “call-out” payments are made pursuant to agreement or established practice and consist of a specified number of hours' pay at the applicable straight time or overtime rates received by an employee on occasions when, after his scheduled hours of work have ended and without prearrangement, he responds to a call from his employer to perform extra work. The amount by which the specified number of hours' pay exceeds the compensation for hours actually worked is considered as a payment that is not made for hours worked. As such, it may be excluded from the computation of the employee's regular rate and cannot be credited toward statutory overtime compensation due the employee. Payments that are prearranged, however, may not be excluded from the regular rate. For example, if an employer retailer called in an employee to help clean up the store for 3 hours after an unexpected roof leak, and then again 3 weeks later for 2 hours to cover for a coworker who left work for a family emergency, payments for those instances would be without prearrangement and any call-back pay that exceeded the amount the employee would receive for the hours worked would be excludable. However, when payments under §§778.221 and 778.222 are prearranged, they are compensation for work. The key inquiry for determining prearrangement is whether the extra work was anticipated and therefore reasonably could have been scheduled. For example, if an employer restaurant anticipates needing extra servers for two hours during the busiest part of each Saturday evening and calls in employees to meet that need instead of scheduling additional servers, that would be prearrangement and any call-back pay would be included in the regular rate.

(b) Application illustrated. The application of the principles in paragraph (a) of this section to call-back payments may be illustrated as follows: An employment agreement provides a minimum of 3 hours' pay at time and one-half for any employee called back to work outside his scheduled hours. The employees covered by the agreement, who are entitled to overtime pay after 40 hours a week, normally work 8 hours each day, Monday through Friday, inclusive, in a workweek beginning on Monday, and are paid overtime compensation at time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of 8 in any day or 40 in any workweek. Assume that an employee covered by this agreement and paid at the rate of $12 an hour works 1 hour overtime or a total of 9 hours on Monday, and works 8 hours each on Tuesday through Friday, inclusive. After he has gone home on Friday evening, he is called back to perform an emergency job. His hours worked on the call total 2 hours and he receives 3 hours' pay at time and one-half, or $54, under the call-back provision, in addition to $480 for working his regular schedule and $18 for overtime worked on Monday evening. In computing overtime compensation due this employee under the Act, the 43 actual hours (not 44) are counted as working time during the week. In addition to $516 pay at the $12 rate for all these hours, he has received under the agreement a premium of $6 for the 1 overtime hour on Monday and of $12 for the 2 hours of overtime work on the call, plus an extra sum of $18 paid by reason of the provision for minimum call-back pay. For purposes of the Act, the extra premiums paid for actual hours of overtime work on Monday and on the Friday call (a total of $18) may be excluded as true overtime premiums in computing his regular rate for the week and may be credited toward compensation due under the Act, but the extra $18 received under the call-back provision is not regarded as paid for hours worked; thus, it may be excluded from the regular rate, but it cannot be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Act. The regular rate of the employee, therefore, remains $12, and he has received an overtime premium of $6 an hour for 3 overtime hours of work. This satisfies the requirements of section 7 of the Act. The same would be true, of course, if in the foregoing example, the employee was called back outside his scheduled hours for the 2-hour emergency job on another night of the week or on Saturday or Sunday, instead of on Friday night.

[84 FR 68774, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.222   Other payments similar to “call-back” pay.

The principles discussed in §778.221 are also applied with respect to certain types of extra payments which are similar to call-back pay. Payments are similar to call-back pay if they are extra payments, including payments made pursuant to state or local scheduling laws, to compensate an employee for working unanticipated or insufficiently scheduled hours or shifts. The extra payment, over and above the employee's earnings for the hours actually worked at his applicable rate (straight time or overtime, as the case may be), is considered as a payment that is not made for hours worked. Payments that are prearranged, however, may not be excluded from the regular rate. Examples of payments similar to excludable call-back pay include:

(a) Extra payments made to employees for failure to give the employee sufficient notice to report for work on regular days of rest or during hours outside of his regular work schedule;

(b) Extra payments made solely because the employee has been called back to work before the expiration of a specified number of hours between shifts or tours of duty, sometimes referred to as a “rest period;”

(c) Pay mandated by state or local law for employees who are scheduled to work the end of one day's shift and the start of the next day's shift with fewer than the legally required number of hours between the shifts; and

(d) “Predictability pay” mandated by state or local law for employees who do not receive requisite notice of a schedule change.

[84 FR 68775, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.223   Pay for non-productive hours distinguished.

(a) Under the Act an employee must be compensated for all hours worked. As a general rule the term “hours worked” will include:

(1) All time during which an employee is required to be on duty or to be on the employer's premises or at a prescribed workplace; and

(2) All time during which an employee is suffered or permitted to work whether or not he is required to do so.

(b) Thus, working time is not limited to the hours spent in active productive labor, but includes time given by the employee to the employer even though part of the time may be spent in idleness. Some of the hours spent by employees, under certain circumstances, in such activities as waiting for work, remaining “on call”, traveling on the employer's business or to and from workplaces, and in meal periods and rest periods are regarded as working time and some are not. The governing principles are discussed in part 785 of this chapter (interpretative bulletin on “hours worked”) and part 790 of this chapter (statement of effect of Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947). To the extent that these hours are regarded as working time, payment made as compensation for these hours obviously cannot be characterized as “payments not for hours worked.” Such compensation is treated in the same manner as compensation for any other working time and is, of course, included in the regular rate of pay. Where payment is ostensibly made as compensation for such of these hours as are not regarded as working time under the Act, the payment is nevertheless included in the regular rate of pay unless it qualifies for exclusion from the regular rate as one of a type of “payments made for occasional periods when no work is performed due to failure of the employer to provide sufficient work, or other similar cause” as discussed in §778.218 or is excludable on some other basis under section 7(e)(2). For example, an employment contract may provide that employees who are assigned to take calls for specific periods will receive a payment of $5 for each 8-hour period during which they are “on call” in addition to pay at their regular (or overtime) rate for hours actually spent in making calls. If the employees who are thus on call are not confined to their homes or to any particular place, but may come and go as they please, provided that they leave word where they may be reached, the hours spent “on call” are not considered as hours worked. Although the payment received by such employees for such “on call” time is, therefore, not allocable to any specific hours of work, it is clearly paid as compensation for performing a duty involved in the employee's job and is not of a type excludable under section 7(e)(2). The payment must therefore be included in the employee's regular rate in the same manner as any payment for services, such as an attendance bonus, which is not related to any specific hours of work. The principle in this paragraph (b) also applies when such “on call” pay is mandated by state or local law.

[84 FR 68775, Dec. 16, 2019]

§778.224   “Other similar payments”.

(a) General. Sections 778.216 through 778.223 have enumerated and discussed the basic types of payments for which exclusion from the regular rate is specifically provided under section 7(e)(2) because they are not made as compensation for hours of work. Section 7(e)(2) also authorizes exclusion from the regular rate of other similar payments to an employee which are not made as compensation for his hours of employment. Such payments do not depend on hours worked, services rendered, job performance, or other criteria that depend on the quality or quantity of the employee's work. Conditions not dependent on the quality or quality of work include a reasonable waiting period for eligibility, the requirement to repay benefits as a remedy for employee misconduct, and limiting eligibility on the basis of geographic location or job position. Since a variety of miscellaneous payments are paid by an employer to an employee under peculiar circumstances, it was not considered feasible to attempt to list them. They must, however, be “similar” in character to the payments specifically described in section 7(e)(2). It is clear that the clause was not intended to permit the exclusion from the regular rate of payments such as most bonuses or the furnishing of facilities like board and lodging which, though not directly attributable to any particular hours of work are, nevertheless, clearly understood to be compensation for services.

(b) Examples of other excludable payments. A few examples may serve to illustrate some of the types of payments intended to be excluded as “other similar payments”.

(1) Sums paid to an employee for the rental of his truck or car.

(2) Loans or advances made by the employer to the employee.

(3) The cost to the employer of conveniences furnished to the employee such as:

(i) Parking spaces and parking benefits;

(ii) Restrooms and lockers;

(iii) On-the-job medical care;

(iv) Treatment provided on-site from specialists such as chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, personal trainers, counselors, or Employee Assistance Programs; or

(v) Gym access, gym memberships, fitness classes, and recreational facilities.

(4) The cost to the employer of providing wellness programs, such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings, vaccination clinics (including annual flu vaccinations), nutrition classes, weight loss programs, smoking cessation programs, stress reduction programs, exercise programs, coaching to help employees meet health goals, financial wellness programs or financial counseling, and mental health wellness programs.

(5) Discounts on employer-provided retail goods and services, and tuition benefits (whether paid to an employee, an education provider, or a student loan program).

(6) Adoption assistance (including financial assistance, legal services, or information and referral services).

[84 FR 68775, Dec. 16, 2019]

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