California HR

Be Careful When Scheduling Split-Shift Meetings

Yesterday, Garrett Jensen of the Orange County office of Carothers, DiSante & Freudenberger LLP spelled out the facts of a recent court case in which an employee claimed he was entitled to reporting time pay on days he had meetings scheduled. Today, the court’s ruling.

Click here for the facts of the case.

Court Says Employee Not Entitled to Reporting Time Pay

The California Court of Appeals ruled that employee Daniel Krofta wasn’t entitled to reporting time pay because he was furnished work for more than half the time he was scheduled on the five occasions in question.

Despite the ruling, the analysis does set up a result you should review carefully. In the example given by the court, if an employee was scheduled for an hour-and-a-half meeting and was sent home after an hour, he would be entitled to an hour of pay for the meeting but not reporting time pay.

However, if the employee was scheduled for an hour-and-a-half meeting and was sent home after half an hour, he would be entitled to two hours of pay because he was furnished with less than half of his scheduled shift.

No Split-Shift Pay for You!

Krofta, while acknowledging he was paid for all the hours he worked, still argued that he was owed additional compensation for the five instances in which he worked a split shift—a morning meeting followed by a shift later in the day.

AirTouch responded that he wasn’t entitled to additional compensation because every time he worked a split shift, he was paid a total amount greater than the minimum wage for all hours worked plus one additional hour

AirTouch gave the example of Nov. 26, 2005. On that day, Krofta worked a total of eight hours and was paid $84.64 (8 hours x $10.58 per hour).

The minimum wage at the time was $6.75, entitling a minimum wage worker to wages of $54 (8 hours x $6.75 per hour) plus, in accordance with the split-shift premium, an additional hour’s pay at the minimum wage, for a total of $60.75 ($54 + $6.75).

The court agreed with AirTouch’s analysis, noting the split-shift premium provision is intended to ensure that at least the minimum wage is paid for all hours worked plus the one additional hour. Krofta, in being paid well in excess of what was required, wasn’t entitled to the additional compensation.

Krofta was able to claim one victory, however. The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees to AirTouch. The court determined that claims for reporting time pay and split-shift premiums are covered by a provision of the law that allows for attorneys’ fee recovery only by a successful employee. Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular (California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, 12/21/11).

How to Comply with California Wage & Hour Law—fully updated for 2012!

Bottom Line

You need to pay special attention to situations in which split-shift premiums and reporting time pay are triggered.

In reviewing schedules of workers at or near the minimum wage, you must ensure that a split shift doesn’t result in the employee being paid an amount less than the minimum wage for all hours worked plus the one additional hour mandated by the wage order.

In regard to reporting time pay, this case gave the example of meetings scheduled on days an employee otherwise wouldn’t be working.

However, you also should be aware of other situations that would trigger reporting time pay―for example, an employee is called into work and then terminated. In that situation, the employee arguably would be entitled to at least two hours of reporting time pay.

Don’t Get Caught Short on Complex California Wage/Hour Issues

Whenever you’re dealing with issues relating to split shifts, reporting time, or anything else related to employee pay and hours worked, your best defense is a strong offense.

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  • The rules for hourly, salary, and piece-rate pay
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Paying Overtime: 10 Key Exemption Concepts