The arrival of cooler weather heralds the end of daylight saving time and a potential Fair Labor Standards Act challenge for employers with employees who work a graveyard shift.
This year, daylight saving time ends on Nov. 3, and most states will set the clocks back one hour beginning at 2 a.m. Employees working the graveyard shift that night will work an extra hour because the clock is turned back.
The FLSA requires that employees must be credited with and paid for all hours actually worked, even on nights where there is an additional hour in their usual shift. If an employee works nine hours on the day that daylight saving time ends he or she must be paid for all those hours, which must count toward the total hours worked for the week.
If the extra hour pushes an employee’s working time over 40 hours for the workweek, he or she is entitled to overtime for the extra time. A similar principle applies to employees who cross time zones, for example by flying from east to west. Regardless of what time the clock says, employees must be paid for the hours they actually work.
Under the FLSA, covered employees are entitled to earn time and one-half their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 during a workweek, with some notable exceptions for certain types of jobs such as firefighters and police officers.
To avoid any potential problems, employers should proactively take note of any potential impact daylight saving time could have on employees’ hours worked and account for the additional hour in any records tracking those hours. Depending on the type of time keeping system an employer has, some adjustments may be required to make sure payroll for the period is accurate.
As always, employers also should make sure they are complying with any state or local statutes that might affect wage and hour practices, in addition to the stipulations of any collective bargaining agreements that apply to employees and all FLSA provisions.
For more information about tracking employees’ hours worked properly, consult Thompson’s FLSA library at http://hr.complianceexpert.com/.