Federal law requires some employers to pay their workers for the time that they are not working. They must generally pay their employees for their time if they control how the workers spend their time. This compensation might be for the time that you spend traveling for your company and the time that you spend on call. However, you will generally not be entitled to be paid for time that you spend commuting. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand what time is compensable.
Payments for sleeping
If you work for a company that requires workers to work 24-hour shifts, there are some situations that might entitle you to be paid for the time that you sleep. Some of these types of jobs include caregiving, ambulance drivers, and guards. These workers are usually given time to sleep during their shifts.
The Wage and Hours Division of the Department of Labor states that workers who work for less than 24 hours in a shift must be compensated for the entire time. This means that if you are scheduled to work for 22 hours and spend four hours sleeping, you must be paid for the entire 22-hour period. When shifts last 24 or more hours, workers and their employers can agree to an eight-hour period during which you can sleep. Your employer must offer adequate facilities for sleeping. These 8 hours will not be paid since you will not be under your employer’s control. However, if you are called away from sleeping, you will be paid for the time that you spend working. If you are unable to get at least five hours of sleep during the eight-hour period, your employer must pay you for the entire eight hours.
Compensation for on-call time
If you spend time at work while you are on call and are waiting for an assignment, you are entitled to be paid. You must be paid for the time that you are required to remain at your worksite whether you are actually working. If you are required to be on call while you are elsewhere, you will have to be paid for the times during which you have little control over your time or activities. Employers may place a number of restrictions on their on-call workers, including the following:
- Not drinking alcohol
- Having to remain within a specific distance from your job
- Not working for other jobs during your on-call time
- Wages for training and education
If your employer requires you to attend job training or education, you must be paid for the time that you spend in training or in the seminars. You should also be paid for the time that you spend traveling to and from the training location.
Wages for travel time
You are not entitled to be paid for your commuting time. However, if you are required to go to several different job locations during the day, your employer will likely have to pay you for the time that you spend traveling to them. You might also be paid for time that you spend traveling to your job when you are called in on an emergency. Finally, if your employer requires that you take transportation that is sponsored by the employer from a central area with other workers, you might be paid for the travel time.
Wages for rest breaks and meal breaks
In some states, employers must provide workers with rest breaks and meal breaks during the day, depending on how long they work. In New Jersey, however, employers are not required to provide meal or rest breaks to adult employees. They must provide workers who are under the age of 18 with a 30-minute break after the workers have worked for five hours. Employers who do offer breaks must pay for any that are shorter than 20 minutes.
Talk to the lawyers at Swartz Swidler
If you believe that your employer should have paid you for certain times when you weren’t working, you might want to talk to an attorney. Contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule a free consultation.