CALIFORNIA EMPLOYER WHO SENDS WORKERS HOME EARLY CAN PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



California Employer Who Sends Workers Home Early

Can Pay for the Privilege

Jim is one of the company’s three customer service representatives.   Thirty minutes into the morning shift, the supervisor sends him home for lack of incoming calls.  Later in the day, the work picks back up, the supervisor calls Jim back and Jim ends up working a total of seven hours that afternoon and evening.  While he was only on premises for 7.5 hours, he is however entitled to 11 hours of pay for that day.

True _____?  False  _____?

True.  Dude, wage law rocks.

The California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage orders require employers to pay hourly, nonexempt employees extra compensation, called “reporting time pay,” if the company sends them home prior to the end of a shift.

Section 5 of the IWC wage orders, covering nearly every worker and industry in California, provide that if an employee reports but is either not put to work or completes less than half the shift before being sent home for the day, that employer owes the worker for half of that day’s pay, up to a maximum of four hours compensation. Bummer.

That’s not all.  Under section 5(B) of the wage orders, if the company calls the employee back to work that day and furnishes less than two hours of work on the second reporting, the employer nevertheless owes that worker another two hours pay.  Double bummer.

There are a few exceptions, when: i) company operations don’t start or cease due to threats to employees or property; ii) there is a failure of public services (electricity, water, etc.); and iii) God steps in with an earthquake, etc. “not within the employer’s control.”

The employee is also not going to collect on this rule if he or she is not fit to work, if the employee has not shown for work on time and is fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.

Reporting time pay for hours in excess of the actual hours worked is not counted as hours worked for purposes of determining overtime. This of course also does not apply to exempt status workers since the company as a rule pays them on salary regardless of hours worked daily and weekly.

So, on the question above, the company owes Jim 11 hours pay for that day (at the straight rate), including the seven hours he worked in the afternoon, one-half hour for the first 30 minutes of work and another three and one-half hours reporting time pay, for his showing up in the morning but relieved before the end of that shift for lack of work. Dude.

For more, see Department of Industrial Relations.

Best wishes,  Bob Edwards