HR Management & Compliance

Ask the Expert: Is Employee Owed 2 Hours of Reporting Time Pay for 45-Minute Meeting?

Question: We had a store meeting.  One employee was off and only came in for the 45 minute meeting.  She is saying she is entitled to 2 hours of pay.  Do I owe her for 2 hours or just the 45 minutes.  She says there is a minimum of 2 hours for working.”

Answer: Occasionally, employees are called to work on a day they are not otherwise scheduled to “work” to attend a mandatory meeting. Reporting time pay requirements are stated in Section 5 of California’s Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, as follows: “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 nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.”

Interpreting this language has been tricky especially in situations where the employee normally works an 8-hour shift is called into work a 2-hour training session or to attend a meeting on a day the employee does not normally work.

The California Court of Appeals has held that if such a meeting lasts at least half the scheduled meeting time, the minimum 2-hour reporting time compensation is not owed. The employee needs to be paid only for the time worked (Price v. Starbucks Corp., 192 Cal. App.4th 1136 (2011)). Likewise, in Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular, 209 Cal. App. 4th 556 (2012), the Court ruled that where meetings have been scheduled, employers owe reporting time pay only if the employee works less than half of the scheduled time on those days.

Thus, whether your employee should receive the minimum 2-hour reporting time pay depends upon whether the meeting was scheduled in advance, the duration of the scheduled meeting time, and whether the employee worked (attended the meeting) at least half the scheduled time.

To recap, in situations where a meeting is scheduled apart from an employee’s usual workday, the employee’s entitlement to reporting time pay will depend upon whether he or she worked for less than half of the scheduled time. If not, then the employee is entitled to receive wages compensating him or her for the actual time worked, but is not owed reporting time pay.

Because of the complex issues involved with reporting time pay, you may want to consult with an attorney who has an expertise in these issues.