26 FR 190, Jan. 11, 1961, unless otherwise noted.
Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) requires that each employee, not specifically exempted, who is engaged in commerce, or in the production of goods for commerce, or who is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce, or in the production of goods for commerce receive a specified minimum wage. Section 7 of the Act (29 U.S.C. 207) provides that persons may not be employed for more than a stated number of hours a week without receiving at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for the overtime hours. The amount of money an employee should receive cannot be determined without knowing the number of hours worked. This part discusses the principles involved in determining what constitutes working time. It also seeks to apply these principles to situations that frequently arise. It cannot include every possible situation. No inference should be drawn from the fact that a subject or an illustration is omitted. If doubt arises inquiries should be sent to the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210, or to any area or Regional Office of the Division.
[35 FR 15289, Oct. 1, 1970]
The ultimate decisions on interpretations of the act are made by the courts. The Administrator must determine in the first instance the positions he will take in the enforcement of the Act. The regulations in this part seek to inform the public of such positions. It should thus provide a “practical guide for employers and employees as to how the office representing the public interest in its enforcement will seek to apply it.” (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134, 138 (1944).)
These interpretations will remain in effect until they are rescinded, modified or withdrawn. This will be done when and if the Administrator concludes upon reexamination, or in the light of judicial decision, that a particular interpretation, ruling or enforcement policy is incorrect or unwarranted. All other rulings, interpretations or enforcement policies inconsistent with any portion of this part are superseded by it. The Portal-to-Portal Bulletin (part 790 of this chapter) is still in effect except insofar as it may not be consistent with any portion hereof. The applicable statutory provisions are set forth in § 785.50.
The principles set forth in this part are also followed by the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in determining hours worked by employees performing work subject to the provisions of the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act.
[35 FR 15289, Oct. 1, 1970]
Section 6 requires the payment of a minimum wage by an employer to his employees who are subject to the Act. Section 7 prohibits their employment for more than a specified number of hours per week without proper overtime compensation.
[26 FR 7732, Aug. 18, 1961]
By statutory definition the term “employ” includes (section 3(g)) “to suffer or permit to work.” The act, however, contains no definition of “work”. Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act contains a partial definition of “hours worked” in the form of a limited exception for clothes-changing and wash-up time.
The United States Supreme Court originally stated that employees subject to the act must be paid for all time spent in “physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business.” (Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U. S. 590 (1944)) Subsequently, the Court ruled that there need be no exertion at all and that all hours are hours worked which the employee is required to give his employer, that “an employer, if he chooses, may hire a man to do nothing, or to do nothing but wait for something to happen. Refraining from other activity often is a factor of instant readiness to serve, and idleness plays a part in all employments in a stand-by capacity. Readiness to serve may be hired, quite as much as service itself, and time spent lying in wait for threats to the safety of the employer's property may be treated by the parties as a benefit to the employer.” (Armour & Co. v. Wantock, 323 U.S. 126 (1944); Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134 (1944)) The workweek ordinarily includes “all the time during which an employee is necessarily required to be on the employer's premises, on duty or at a prescribed work place”. (Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680 (1946)) The Portal-to-Portal Act did not change the rule except to provide an exception for preliminary and postliminary activities. See § 785.34.
[35 FR 15289, Oct. 1, 1970]
(a) The Portal-to-Portal Act. The Portal-to-Portal Act (secs. 1-13, 61 Stat. 84-89, 29 U.S.C. 251-262) eliminates from working time certain travel and walking time and other similar “preliminary” and “postliminary” activities performed “prior” or “subsequent” to the “workday” that are not made compensable by contract, custom, or practice. It should be noted that “preliminary” activities do not include “principal” activities. See §§ 790.6 to 790.8 of this chapter. The use of an employer's vehicle for travel by an employee and activities that are incidental to the use of such vehicle for commuting are not considered “principal” activities when meeting the following conditions: The use of the employer's vehicle for travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business or establishment and the use of the employer's vehicle is subject to an agreement on the part of the employer and the employee or the representative of such employee. Section 4 of the Portal-to-Portal Act does not affect the computation of hours worked within the “workday”. “Workday” in general, means the period between “the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences (his) principal activity or activities” and “the time on any particular workday at which he ceases such principal activity or activities.” The “workday” may thus be longer than the employee's scheduled shift, hours, tour of duty, or time on the production line. Also, its duration may vary from day to day depending upon when the employee commences or ceases his “principal” activities. With respect to time spent in any “preliminary” or “postliminary” activity compensable by contract, custom, or practice, the Portal-to-Portal Act requires that such time must also be counted for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are, however, limitations on this requirement. The “preliminary” or “postliminary” activity in question must be engaged in during the portion of the day with respect to which it is made compensable by the contract, custom, or practice. Also, only the amount of time allowed by the contract or under the custom or practice is required to be counted. If, for example, the time allowed is 15 minutes but the activity takes 25 minutes, the time to be added to other working time would be limited to 15 minutes. (Galvin v. National Biscuit Co., 82 F. Supp. 535 (S.D.N.Y. 1949) appeal dismissed, 177 F. 2d 963 (C.A. 2, 1949))
(b) Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Section 3(o) gives statutory effect, as explained in § 785.26, to the exclusion from measured working time of certain clothes-changing and washing time at the beginning or the end of the workday by the parties to collective bargaining agreements.
This subpart applies the principles to the problems which arise frequently.
Work not requested but suffered or permitted is work time. For example, an employee may voluntarily continue to work at the end of the shift. He may be a pieceworker, he may desire to finish an assigned task or he may wish to correct errors, paste work tickets, prepare time reports or other records. The reason is immaterial. The employer knows or has reason to believe that he is continuing to work and the time is working time. (Handler v. Thrasher, 191, F. 2d 120 (C.A. 10, 1951); Republican Publishing Co. v. American Newspaper Guild, 172 F. 2d 943 (C.A. 1, 1949; Kappler v. Republic Pictures Corp., 59 F. Supp. 112 (S.D. Iowa 1945), aff'd 151 F. 2d 543 (C.A. 8, 1945); 327 U.S. 757 (1946); Hogue v. National Automotive Parts Ass'n. 87 F. Supp. 816 (E.D. Mich. 1949); Barker v. Georgia Power & Light Co., 2 W.H. Cases 486; 5 CCH Labor Cases, para. 61,095 (M.D. Ga. 1942); Steger v. Beard & Stone Electric Co., Inc., 1 W.H. Cases 593; 4 Labor Cases 60,643 (N.D. Texas, 1941))
The rule is also applicable to work performed away from the premises or the job site, or even at home. If the employer knows or has reason to believe that the work is being performed, he must count the time as hours worked.
In all such cases it is the duty of the management to exercise its control and see that the work is not performed if it does not want it to be performed. It cannot sit back and accept the benefits without compensating for them. The mere promulgation of a rule against such work is not enough. Management has the power to enforce the rule and must make every effort to do so.
Whether waiting time is time worked under the Act depends upon particular circumstances. The determination involves “scrutiny and construction of the agreements between particular parties, appraisal of their practical construction of the working agreement by conduct, consideration of the nature of the service, and its relation to the waiting time, and all of the circumstances. Facts may show that the employee was engaged to wait or they may show that he waited to be engaged.” (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134 (1944)) Such questions “must be determined in accordance with common sense and the general concept of work or employment.” (Central Mo. Tel. Co. v. Conwell, 170 F. 2d 641 (C.A. 8, 1948))
A stenographer who reads a book while waiting for dictation, a messenger who works a crossword puzzle while awaiting assignments, fireman who plays checkers while waiting for alarms and a factory worker who talks to his fellow employees while waiting for machinery to be repaired are all working during their periods of inactivity. The rule also applies to employees who work away from the plant. For example, a repair man is working while he waits for his employer's customer to get the premises in readiness. The time is worktime even though the employee is allowed to leave the premises or the job site during such periods of inactivity. The periods during which these occur are unpredictable. They are usually of short duration. In either event the employee is unable to use the time effectively for his own purposes. It belongs to and is controlled by the employer. In all of these cases waiting is an integral part of the job. The employee is engaged to wait. (See: Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134, 137 (1944); Wright v. Carrigg, 275 F. 2d 448, 14 W.H. Cases (C.A. 4, 1960); Mitchell v. Wigger, 39 Labor Cases, para. 66,278, 14 W.H. Cases 534 (D.N.M. 1960); Mitchell v. Nicholson, 179 F. Supp, 292,14 W.H. Cases 487 (W.D.N.C. 1959))
(a) General. Periods during which an employee is completely relieved from duty and which are long enough to enable him to use the time effectively for his own purposes are not hours worked. He is not completely relieved from duty and cannot use the time effectively for his own purposes unless he is definitely told in advance that he may leave the job and that he will not have to commence work until a definitely specified hour has arrived. Whether the time is long enough to enable him to use the time effectively for his own purposes depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of the case.
(b) Truck drivers; specific examples. A truck driver who has to wait at or near the job site for goods to be loaded is working during the loading period. If the driver reaches his destination and while awaiting the return trip is required to take care of his employer's property, he is also working while waiting. In both cases the employee is engaged to wait. Waiting is an integral part of the job. On the other hand, for example, if the truck driver is sent from Washingtion, DC to New York City, leaving at 6 a.m. and arriving at 12 noon, and is completely and specifically relieved from all duty until 6 p.m. when he again goes on duty for the return trip the idle time is not working time. He is waiting to be engaged. (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134, 137 (1944); Walling v. Dunbar Transfer & Storage, 3 W.H. Cases 284; 7 Labor Cases para. 61,565 (W.D. Tenn. 1943); Gifford v. Chapman, 6 W.H. Cases 806; 12 Labor Cases para. 63,661 (W.D. Okla., 1947); Thompson v. Daugherty, 40 Supp. 279 (D. Md. 1941))
An employee who is required to remain on call on the employer's premises or so close thereto that he cannot use the time effectively for his own purposes is working while “on call”. An employee who is not required to remain on the employer's premises but is merely required to leave word at his home or with company officials where he may be reached is not working while on call. (Armour & Co. v. Wantock, 323 U.S. 126 (1944); Handler v. Thrasher, 191 F. 2d 120 (C.A. 10, 1951); Walling v. Bank of Waynesboro, Georgia, 61 F. Supp. 384 (S.D. Ga. 1945))
Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, are common in industry. They promote the efficiency of the employee and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be counted as hours worked. Compensable time of rest periods may not be offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or on-call time. (Mitchell v. Greinetz, 235 F. 2d 621, 13 W.H. Cases 3 (C.A. 10, 1956); Ballard v. Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., 61 F. Supp. 996 (S.D. Cal. 1945))
(a) Bona fide meal periods. Bona fide meal periods are not worktime. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working while eating. (Culkin v. Glenn L. Martin, Nebraska Co., 97 F. Supp. 661 (D. Neb. 1951), aff'd 197 F. 2d 981 (C.A. 8, 1952), cert. denied 344 U.S. 888 (1952); Thompson v. Stock & Sons, Inc., 93 F. Supp. 213 (E.D. Mich 1950), aff'd 194 F. 2d 493 (C.A. 6, 1952); Biggs v. Joshua Hendy Corp., 183 F. 2d 515 (C. A. 9, 1950), 187 F. 2d 447 (C.A. 9, 1951); Walling v. Dunbar Transfer & Storage Co., 3 W.H. Cases 284; 7 Labor Cases para. 61.565 (W.D. Tenn. 1943); Lofton v. Seneca Coal and Coke Co., 2 W.H. Cases 669; 6 Labor Cases para. 61,271 (N.D. Okla. 1942); aff'd 136 F. 2d 359 (C.A. 10, 1943); cert. denied 320 U.S. 772 (1943); Mitchell v. Tampa Cigar Co., 36 Labor Cases para. 65, 198, 14 W.H. Cases 38 (S.D. Fla. 1959); Douglass v. Hurwitz Co., 145 F. Supp. 29, 13 W.H. Cases (E.D. Pa. 1956))
(b) Where no permission to leave premises. It is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period.
Under certain conditions an employee is considered to be working even though some of his time is spent in sleeping or in certain other activities.
An employee who is required to be on duty for less than 24 hours is working even though he is permitted to sleep or engage in other personal activities when not busy. A telephone operator, for example, who is required to be on duty for specified hours is working even though she is permitted to sleep when not busy answering calls. It makes no difference that she is furnished facilities for sleeping. Her time is given to her employer. She is required to be on duty and the time is worktime. (Central Mo. Telephone Co. v. Conwell, 170 F. 2d 641 (C.A. 8, 1948); Strand v. Garden Valley Telephone Co., 51 F. Supp. 898 (D. Minn. 1943); Whitsitt v. Enid Ice & Fuel Co., 2 W. H. Cases 584; 6 Labor Cases para. 61,226 (W.D. Okla. 1942).)
(a) General. Where an employee is required to be on duty for 24 hours or more, the employer and the employee may agree to exclude bona fide meal periods and a bona fide regularly scheduled sleeping period of not more than 8 hours from hours worked, provided adequate sleeping facilities are furnished by the employer and the employee can usually enjoy an uninterrupted night's sleep. If sleeping period is of more than 8 hours, only 8 hours will be credited. Where no expressed or implied agreement to the contrary is present, the 8 hours of sleeping time and lunch periods constitute hours worked. (Armour v. Wantock, 323 U.S. 126 (1944); Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134 (1944); General Electric Co. v. Porter, 208 F. 2d 805 (C.A. 9, 1953), cert. denied, 347 U.S. 951, 975 (1954); Bowers v. Remington Rand, 64 F. Supp. 620 (S.D. Ill, 1946), aff'd 159 F. 2d 114 (C.A. 7, 1946) cert. denied 330 U.S. 843 (1947); Bell v. Porter, 159 F. 2d 117 (C.A. 7, 1946) cert. denied 330 U.S. 813 (1947); Bridgeman v. Ford, Bacon & Davis, 161 F. 2d 962 (C.A. 8, 1947); Rokey v. Day & Zimmerman, 157 F. 2d 736 (C.A. 8, 1946); McLaughlin v. Todd & Brown, Inc., 7 W.H. Cases 1014; 15 Labor Cases para. 64,606 (N.D. Ind. 1948); Campbell v. Jones & Laughlin, 70 F. Supp. 996 (W.D. Pa. 1947).)
(b) Interruptions of sleep. If the sleeping period is interrupted by a call to duty, the interruption must be counted as hours worked. If the period is interrupted to such an extent that the employee cannot get a reasonable night's sleep, the entire period must be counted. For enforcement purposes, the Divisons have adopted the rule that if the employee cannot get at least 5 hours' sleep during the scheduled period the entire time is working time. (See Eustice v. Federal Cartridge Corp., 66 F. Supp. 55 (D. Minn. 1946).)
An employee who resides on his employer's premises on a permanent basis or for extended periods of time is not considered as working all the time he is on the premises. Ordinarily, he may engage in normal private pursuits and thus have enough time for eating, sleeping, entertaining, and other periods of complete freedom from all duties when he may leave the premises for purposes of his own. It is, of course, difficult to determine the exact hours worked under these circumstances and any reasonable agreement of the parties which takes into consideration all of the pertinent facts will be accepted. This rule would apply, for example, to the pumper of a stripper well who resides on the premises of his employer and also to a telephone operator who has the switchboard in her own home. (Skelly Oil Co. v. Jackson, 194 Okla. 183, 148 P. 2d 182 (Okla. Sup. Ct. 1944; Thompson v. Loring Oil Co., 50 F. Supp. 213 (W.D. La. 1943).)
(b) The term “principal activities” includes all activities which are an integral part of a principal activity. Two examples of what is meant by an integral part of a principal activity are found in the report of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate on the Portal-to-Portal bill. They are the following:
(1) In connection with the operation of a lathe, an employee will frequently, at the commencement of his workday, oil, grease, or clean his machine, or install a new cutting tool. Such activities are an integral part of the principal activity, and are included within such term.
(2) In the case of a garment worker in a textile mill, who is required to report 30 minutes before other employees report to commence their principal activities, and who during such 30 minutes distributes clothing or parts of clothing at the workbenches of other employees and gets machines in readiness for operation by other employees, such activities are among the principal activities of such employee.
Such preparatory activities, which the Administrator has always regarded as work and as compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, remain so under the Portal Act, regardless of contrary custom or contract.
(c) Among the activities included as an integral part of a principal activity are those closely related activities which are indispensable to its performance. If an employee in a chemical plant, for example, cannot perform his principal activities without putting on certain clothes, changing clothes on the employer's premises at the beginning and end of the workday would be an integral part of the employee's principal activity. On the other hand, if changing clothes is merely a convenience to the employee and not directly related to his principal activities, it would be considered as a “preliminary” or “postliminary” activity rather than a principal part of the activity. However, activities such as checking in and out and waiting in line to do so would not ordinarily be regarded as integral parts of the principal activity or activities.
These principles have guided the Administrator in the enforcement of the Act. Two cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court further illustrate the types of activities which are considered an integral part of the employees' jobs. In one, employees changed their clothes and took showers in a battery plant where the manufacturing process involved the extensive use of caustic and toxic materials. (Steiner v. Mitchell, 350 U.S. 247 (1956).) In another case, knifemen in a meatpacking plant sharpened their knives before and after their scheduled workday (Mitchell v. King Packing Co., 350 U.S. 260 (1956)). In both cases the Supreme Court held that these activities are an integral and indispensable part of the employees' principal activities.
Section 3(o) of the Act provides an exception to the general rule for employees under collective bargaining agreements. This section provides for the exclusion from hours worked of time spent by an employee in changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday which was excluded from measured working time during the week involved by the express terms of or by custom or practice under a bona fide collective-bargaining agreement applicable to the particular employee. During any week in which such clothes-changing or washing time was not so excluded, it must be counted as hours worked if the changing of clothes or washing is indispensable to the performance of the employee's work or is required by law or by the rules of the employer. The same would be true if the changing of clothes or washing was a preliminary or postliminary activity compensable by contract, custom, or practice as provided by section 4 of the Portal-to-Portal Act, and as discussed in § 785.9 and part 790 of this chapter.
[30 FR 9912, Aug. 10, 1965]
Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time if the following four criteria are met:
(a) Attendance is outside of the employee's regular working hours;
(b) Attendance is in fact voluntary;
(c) The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee's job; and
(d) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.
Attendance is not voluntary, of course, if it is required by the employer. It is not voluntary in fact if the employee is given to understand or led to believe that his present working conditions or the continuance of his employment would be adversely affected by nonattendance.
The training is directly related to the employee's job if it is designed to make the employee handle his job more effectively as distinguished from training him for another job, or to a new or additional skill. For example, a stenographer who is given a course in stenography is engaged in an activity to make her a better stenographer. Time spent in such a course given by the employer or under his auspices is hours worked. However, if the stenographer takes a course in bookkeeping, it may not be directly related to her job. Thus, the time she spends voluntarily in taking such a bookkeeping course, outside of regular working hours, need not be counted as working time. Where a training course is instituted for the bona fide purpose of preparing for advancement through upgrading the employee to a higher skill, and is not intended to make the employee more efficient in his present job, the training is not considered directly related to the employee's job even though the course incidentally improves his skill in doing his regular work.
[30 FR 9912, Aug. 10, 1965]
Of course, if an employee on his own initiative attends an independent school, college or independent trade school after hours, the time is not hours worked for his employer even if the courses are related to his job.
There are some special situations where the time spent in attending lectures, training sessions and courses of instruction is not regarded as hours worked. For example, an employer may establish for the benefit of his employees a program of instruction which corresponds to courses offered by independent bona fide institutions of learning. Voluntary attendance by an employee at such courses outside of working hours would not be hours worked even if they are directly related to his job, or paid for by the employer.
As an enforcement policy, time spent in an organized program of related, supplemental instruction by employees working under bona fide apprenticeship programs may be excluded from working time if the following criteria are met:
(a) The apprentice is employed under a written apprenticeship agreement or program which substantially meets the fundamental standards of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the U.S. Department of Labor; and
(b) Such time does not involve productive work or performance of the apprentice's regular duties. If the above criteria are met the time spent in such related supplemental training shall not be counted as hours worked unless the written agreement specifically provides that it is hours worked. The mere payment or agreement to pay for time spent in related instruction does not constitute an agreement that such time is hours worked.
The principles which apply in determining whether or not time spent in travel is working time depend upon the kind of travel involved. The subject is discussed in §§ 785.35 to 785.41, which are preceded by a brief discussion in § 785.34 of the Portal-to-Portal Act as it applies to traveltime.
The Portal Act provides in section 4(a) that except as provided in subsection (b) no employer shall be liable for the failure to pay the minimum wage or overtime compensation for time spent in “walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform either prior to the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences, or subsequent to the time on any particular workday at which he ceases, such principal activity or activities.” Section 4(a) further provides that the use of an employer's vehicle for travel by an employee and activities that are incidental to the use of such vehicle for commuting are not considered principal activities when the use of such vehicle is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business or establishment and is subject to an agreement on the part of the employer and the employee or the representative of such employee. Subsection (b) provides that the employer shall not be relieved from liability if the activity is compensable by express contract or by custom or practice not inconsistent with an express contract. Thus traveltime at the commencement or cessation of the workday which was originally considered as working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (such as underground travel in mines or walking from time clock to work-bench) need not be counted as working time unless it is compensable by contract, custom or practice. If compensable by express contract or by custom or practice not inconsistent with an express contract, such traveltime must be counted in computing hours worked. However, ordinary travel from home to work (see § 785.35) need not be counted as hours worked even if the employer agrees to pay for it. (See Tennessee Coal, Iron & RR. Co. v. Musecoda Local, 321 U.S. 590 (1946); Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 690 (1946); Walling v. Anaconda Copper Mining Co., 66 F. Supp. 913 (D. Mont. (1946).)
An employee who travels from home before his regular workday and returns to his home at the end of the workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel which is a normal incident of employment. This is true whether he works at a fixed location or at different job sites. Normal travel from home to work is not worktime.
There may be instances when travel from home to work is overtime. For example, if an employee who has gone home after completing his day's work is subsequently called out at night to travel a substantial distance to perform an emergency job for one of his employer's customers all time spent on such travel is working time. The Divisions are taking no position on whether travel to the job and back home by an employee who receives an emergency call outside of his regular hours to report back to his regular place of business to do a job is working time.
A problem arises when an employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special 1-day work assignment in another city. For example, an employee who works in Washington, DC, with regular working hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. may be given a special assignment in New York City, with instructions to leave Washington at 8 a.m. He arrives in New York at 12 noon, ready for work. The special assignment is completed at 3 p.m., and the employee arrives back in Washington at 7 p.m. Such travel cannot be regarded as ordinary home-to-work travel occasioned merely by the fact of employment. It was performed for the employer's benefit and at his special request to meet the needs of the particular and unusual assignment. It would thus qualify as an integral part of the “principal” activity which the employee was hired to perform on the workday in question; it is like travel involved in an emergency call (described in § 785.36), or like travel that is all in the day's work (see § 785.38). All the time involved, however, need not be counted. Since, except for the special assignment, the employee would have had to report to his regular work site, the travel between his home and the railroad depot may be deducted, it being in the “home-to-work” category. Also, of course, the usual meal time would be deductible.
Time spent by an employee in travel as part of his principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, must be counted as hours worked. Where an employee is required to report at a meeting place to receive instructions or to perform other work there, or to pick up and to carry tools, the travel from the designated place to the work place is part of the day's work, and must be counted as hours worked regardless of contract, custom, or practice. If an employee normally finishes his work on the premises at 5 p.m. and is sent to another job which he finishes at 8 p.m. and is required to return to his employer's premises arriving at 9 p.m., all of the time is working time. However, if the employee goes home instead of returning to his employer's premises, the travel after 8 p.m. is home-to-work travel and is not hours worked. (Walling v. Mid-Continent Pipe Line Co., 143 F. 2d 308 (C. A. 10, 1944))
Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly worktime when it cuts across the employee's workday. The employee is simply substituting travel for other duties. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during the corresponding hours on nonworking days. Thus, if an employee regularly works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday the travel time during these hours is worktime on Saturday and Sunday as well as on the other days. Regular meal period time is not counted. As an enforcement policy the Divisions will not consider as worktime that time spent in travel away from home outside of regular working hours as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile.
If an employee is offered public transporation but requests permission to drive his car instead, the employer may count as hours worked either the time spent driving the car or the time he would have had to count as hours worked during working hours if the employee had used the public conveyance.
Any work which an employee is required to perform while traveling must, of course, be counted as hours worked. An employee who drives a truck, bus, automobile, boat or airplane, or an employee who is required to ride therein as an assistant or helper, is working while riding, except during bona fide meal periods or when he is permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer.
Time spent in adjusting grievances between an employer and employees during the time the employees are required to be on the premises is hours worked, but in the event a bona fide union is involved the counting of such time will, as a matter of enforcement policy, be left to the process of collective bargaining or to the custom or practice under the collective bargaining agreement.
Time spent by an employee in waiting for and receiving medical attention on the premises or at the direction of the employer during the employee's normal working hours on days when he is working constitutes hours worked.
Time spent in work for public or charitable purposes at the employer's request, or under his direction or control, or while the employee is required to be on the premises, is working time. However, time spent voluntarily in such activities outside of the employee's normal working hours is not hours worked.
Generally, time spent by employees outside of their regular working hours in developing suggestions under a general suggestion system is not working time, but if employees are permitted to work on suggestions during regular working hours the time spent must be counted as hours worked. Where an employee is assigned to work on the development of a suggestion, the time is considered hours worked.
Section 11(c) of the Act authorizes the Secretary to promulgate regulations requiring the keeping of records of hours worked, wages paid and other conditions of employment. These regulations are published in part 516 of this chapter. Copies of the regulations may be obtained on request.
In recording working time under the Act, insubstantial or insignificant periods of time beyond the scheduled working hours, which cannot as a practical administrative matter be precisely recorded for payroll purposes, may be disregarded. The courts have held that such trifles are de minimis. (Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680 (1946)) This rule applies only where there are uncertain and indefinite periods of time involved of a few seconds or minutes duration, and where the failure to count such time is due to considerations justified by industrial realities. An employer may not arbitrarily fail to count as hours worked any part, however small, of the employee's fixed or regular working time or practically ascertainable period of time he is regularly required to spend on duties assigned to him. See Glenn L. Martin Nebraska Co. v. Culkin, 197 F. 2d 981, 987 (C.A. 8, 1952), cert. denied, 344 U.S. 866 (1952), rehearing denied, 344 U.S. 888 (1952), holding that working time amounting to $1 of additional compensation a week is “not a trivial matter to a workingman,” and was not de minimis; Addison v. Huron Stevedoring Corp., 204 F. 2d 88, 95 (C.A. 2, 1953), cert. denied 346 U.S. 877, holding that “To disregard workweeks for which less than a dollar is due will produce capricious and unfair results.” Hawkins v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 12 W.H. Cases 448, 27 Labor Cases, para. 69,094 (E.D. Va., 1955), holding that 10 minutes a day is not de minimis.
(a) Differences between clock records and actual hours worked. Time clocks are not required. In those cases where time clocks are used, employees who voluntarily come in before their regular starting time or remain after their closing time, do not have to be paid for such periods provided, of course, that they do not engage in any work. Their early or late clock punching may be disregarded. Minor differences between the clock records and actual hours worked cannot ordinarily be avoided, but major discrepancies should be discouraged since they raise a doubt as to the accuracy of the records of the hours actually worked.
(b) “Rounding” practices. It has been found that in some industries, particularly where time clocks are used, there has been the practice for many years of recording the employees' starting time and stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes, or to the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour. Presumably, this arrangement averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually work. For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.
(a) Section 6. Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) requires that each employee, not specifically exempted, who is engaged in commerce, or in the production of goods for commerce, or who is employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce, or in the production of goods for commerce receive a specified minimum wage.
(b) Section 7. Section 7(a) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 207) provides that persons may not be employed for more than a stated number of hours a week without receiving at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for the overtime hours.
(c) Section 3(g). Section 3(g) of this act provides that: “ ‘Employ’ includes to suffer or permit to work.”
(d) Section 3(o). Section 3(o) of this act provides that: “Hours worked - in determining for the purposes of sections 6 and 7 the hours for which an employee is employed, there shall be excluded any time spent in changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday which was excluded from the measured working time during the week involved by the express terms of or by custom or practice under a bona fide collective-bargaining agreement applicable to the particular employees.”
Section 4 of this Act provides that:
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), of this section, no employer shall be subject to any liability or punishment under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, the Walsh-Healey Act, or the Davis-Bacon Act, on account of the failure of such employer to pay an employee minimum wages, or to pay an employee overtime compensation, for or on account of any of the following activities of such employee engaged in, on, or after May 14, 1947:
(1) Walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform, and
(2) Activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities, which occur either prior to the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences, or subsequent to the time on any particular workday which he ceases, such principal activity or activities. For purposes of this subsection, the use of an employer's vehicle for travel by an employee and activities performed by an employee which are incidental to the use of such vehicle for commuting shall not be considered part of the employee's principal activities if the use of such vehicle for travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business or establishment and the use of the employer's vehicle is subject to an agreement on the part of the employer and the employee or representative of such employee.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section which relieve an employer from liability and punishment with respect to an activity the employer shall not be so relieved if such activity is compensable by either:
(1) An express provision of a written or nonwritten contract in effect, at the time of such activity, between such employee, his agent, or collective-bargaining representative and his employer; or
(2) A custom or practice in effect, at the time of such activity, at the establishment or other place where such employee is employed, covering such activity, not inconsistent with a written or nonwritten contract, in effect at the time of such activity, between such employee, his agent, or collective-bargaining representative and his employer.
(c) For the purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, an activity shall be considered as compensable, under such contract provision or such custom or practice only when it is engaged in during the portion of the day with respect to which it is so made compensable.
(d) In the application of the minimum wage and overtime compensation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, of the Walsh-Healey Act, or of the Davis-Bacon Act, in determining the time for which an employer employs an employee with respect to walking, riding, traveling, or other preliminary or postliminary activities described in paragraph (a) of this section, there shall be counted all that time, but only that time, during which the employee engages in any such activity which is compensable within the meaning of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.