Employers whose hours of operation depend on multiple or irregular shifts often wrestle with how to pay employees called into work for off-hours meetings or a short shift, or how to handle split-shift payments for employees whose schedules involve an unpaid break of more than an hour. The California Court of Appeal recently has ruled favorably for employers on both of these issues in Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular.
Contrary to what had been the California Labor Commissioner’s interpretation, the Court ruled that employers are not always required to pay a minimum of two hours of pay to non-exempt employees called into work on days off. Although the employer must pay at least half of what the employee was scheduled to work that day, it does not have to pay half (or a minimum of two hours) of the employee’s usual workday. As an example, the Court of Appeal asked and answered the following question:
If an employee’s only scheduled work for the day is a mandatory meeting of one and a half hours, and the employee works a total of one hour because the meeting ends a half hour early, is the employer required to pay [a minimum of two hours] reporting time pay pursuant to subdivision 5(A) of Wage Order 4 in addition to the one hour of wages?
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