The Department of Labor (DOL) and the courts are cracking down on compensation missteps, and you might be surprised what they’re considering “compensable time” these days.
What’s the first thing employees do when they get to work — fire up a computer, put on equipment?
In many cases, employers are expected to compensate employees for performing these actions — and if those extra few minutes each day trigger overtime requirements, you’ll be on the hook for that too.
Company forced to pay up
That’s what happened to Farmers Insurance. Each day, call center employees had to power up their workstations, launch software programs and log into the company phone system before beginning work.
The DOL recently ruled that the time to do this — about five minutes a day — was part of 3,459 employees’ workday. That meant they had to be paid for it.
Result: Farmers was slapped with a $15 million bill for back wages, including overtime pay.
Takeaway: If there are daily pre-shift or post-shift tasks employees can’t do their jobs without, it may be wise to make sure you’re paying them for that time.