California Wage & Hour Law: Part III

Reporting time pay

To guarantee at least partial compensation for employees who report to their job expecting to work a specified number of hours but who are deprived of that amount of work because of inadequate scheduling or lack of proper notice by the employer, the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders require that employers pay nonexempt employees, in addition to the hours the employee actually works, for certain unworked but regularly scheduled time. IWC Orders 1-16, Section 5 Such payments are known as "reporting time pay." Reporting time pay for hours in excess of the actual hours worked is not counted as hours worked for purposes of determining overtime. The specific requirements for reporting time pay are:

  • Each workday an employee is required to report to work, but is not put to work or is furnished with less than half of his or her usual or scheduled day's work, the employee must be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at his or her regular rate of pay.

    For example, if an employee is scheduled to report to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour, the employer is nonetheless obligated to pay the employee four hours of pay at his or her regular rate of pay (one for the hour worked, and three as reporting time pay). Only the one-hour actually worked, however, counts as actual hours worked.

  • If an employee is required to report to work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on the second reporting, he or she must be paid for two hours at his or her regular rate of pay.

Exceptions to the requirement for reporting time pay found in IWC Orders 1-16, Section 5(C) are as follows:

  1. When operations cannot begin or continue due to threats to employees or property, or when civil authorities recommend that work not begin or continue; or
  2. When public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public utilities, or sewer system; or
  3. When the interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer's control, for example, an earthquake.

Additionally, employers are not obligated to pay reporting time pay under the following circumstances:

  1. If the employee is not fit to work.
  2. If the employee has not reported to work on time and is fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.

The reporting time pay provisions do not apply to employees on paid standby status or when an employee has a regularly scheduled shift of less than two hours, such as a relief cashier who works only during a one-hour period in the middle of the day.

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