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Which Types of Hours Worked Qualify for Compensation Under the FLSA?


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a number of guidelines for employers and protections for employees. Among these regulations, the FLSA provides overarching rules for how to calculate an employee’s number of hours worked in a given pay period.

On a larger level, the FLSA requires all employers to pay their employees either the federal or state minimum wage. If the employee works more than 40 hours in a week, that constitutes overtime. For overtime hours worked, the employer must award time-and-a-half pay.

Additionally, the FLSA provides guidance concerning what types of work duties qualify as actual work time. Specifically, the FLSA outlines important considerations for the time an employee spends waiting, on-call time, resting or eating meals.

Waiting Time

The amount of time an employee spends waiting to perform their duties may qualify as hours worked under the FLSA. If the employee is on shift and simply waiting for an assigned task, then waiting time classifies as hours worked. But if an employee is waiting outside their workplace before their shift begins, it is unlikely to count as hours worked. Those employees have yet to begin their official duties and, thus, are not technically on shift at that point in time.

On-Call Time

In certain cases, an employee is eligible for compensation for any hours worked in an on-call capacity. If the employee is required to stay at the workplace while on-call, then the employer must pay for those hours worked. But if the employee is allowed to go home or leave a message for client follow-up, then it may not classify as hours worked. In either case, the individual circumstances of the work performed will dictate the necessity of employee compensation.

Resting Time

In most situations, resting periods constitute actual working time. This is especially true in industries where resting periods are required by law, such as transportation or safety. But if an employee exceeds the standard resting period — generally 20 minutes or less — then the employer does not have to provide compensation. Though the employer must inform all employees of relevant workplace-specific limits on resting periods.

Eating Meals

In most situations, break periods for eating meals are not considered actual working time. These meal break periods are typically 30 minutes or longer, without any expectation of work performance during that time. But if the employer requires employees to perform work duties during a meal break period, it is a different story. In those cases, the employee is likely entitled to compensation for hours worked.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have questions about wage and hour rules in Florida, it can be particularly prudent to reach out to an experienced labor and employment attorney. The attorneys at Penichet Law in Miami, Florida, have established proficiency handling wage and hour disputes as well as other aspects of labor and employment law. If you need legal help, contact us today for a consultation.