You schedule your employees for meetings and compensate them accordingly. Case closed, right? But now they come to you and say you should have paid them reporting time pay and/or split-shift premiums for those days. When are those payments triggered?
Garrett Jensen of the Orange County office of Carothers, DiSante & Freudenberger LLP breaks down a recent case dealing with this issue.
What Does the Law Require?
The Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders regulate the wages, hours, and working conditions of California employees.
Two provisions of the orders define and set the compensation required for reporting time pay and split-shift premiums to ensure employees are properly compensated as well as to encourage proper notice and scheduling by employers.
Reporting time pay is defined in the following manner:
“Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two (2) hours and no more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.”
A split shift is “a work schedule, which is interrupted by non-paid non-working periods established by the employer, other than bona fide rest or meal periods … When an employee works a split shift, one (1) hour’s pay at the minimum wage shall be paid in addition to the minimum wage for that workday, except when the employee resides at the place of employment.”
But Mom, I Don’t Want To Get Up—It’s the Weekend!
A class action was filed against AirTouch Cellular by several of its former employees. The former employees worked mostly as “retail sales representatives” or “customer service representatives” at the company’s stores and kiosks, selling cell phones, accessories, and cell phone service plans. They alleged that AirTouch didn’t properly pay its nonexempt employees for attending mandatory store meetings.
One of the former employees, Daniel Krofta, worked at AirTouch stores from October 2005 to October 2006, earning $10.58 to $11.11 per hour plus commissions. His store manager would post the following week’s work schedule at least four days before the workweek began.
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Krofta, like other employees, was required to attend occasional work-related meetings, the majority of which were “store meetings” held once or twice a month on Saturday or Sunday mornings before the store opened. The meetings were scheduled in advance, were listed on his work schedules, and ran for about an hour and a half.
Both of Krofta’s claims at issue in this case arose out of the scheduled meetings. Despite acknowledging that he received payment for all hours reflected on his time sheets, he argued that as a result of AirTouch scheduling him for five work-related meetings on days he otherwise wasn’t scheduled to work, he was entitled to two hours of reporting time pay.
Further, he contended that as a result of the company scheduling him for five work-related meetings on days when he had to come back to work later in the day, he was entitled to a split-shift premium.
How Long Will This Meeting Last?
Krofta acknowledged that he was never sent home from a scheduled period of work before he had worked at least half the scheduled period.
However, in support of his claim for reporting time pay, he argued that regardless of whether meetings were scheduled or whether he worked more than half of his schedule, his employer was required to pay him no less than two hours’ worth of wages.
So who won? Tune in tomorrow to find out.
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