Off the Radar and Off the Clock: Some FLSA Misconceptions

We’ve just posted a new white paper in that section on the Personnel Concepts new Web site entitled “Popular Misconceptions,” in which we examine the ingenious ways that employers seek to stay off the overtime-pay radar of the Department of Labor (DOL).

Let’s look at one of those methods: Say Employer A sends 20 hourly employees to training on a Saturday. He calls it “voluntary,” but the employees sense that they’d better go or suffer the consequences.

Calling it “voluntary” and “off the clock,” Business A Head Owner Guy says he doesn’t have to pay overtime for the extra day of work beyond 40 hours that week.

What does the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and DOL say?

Wrong! Since the employees felt pressure to attend, and since the benefits of their attending fell mainly on the company, all 20 of them deserve time-and-a-half for the training.

Let’s put it this way: About the only way an employer can send employees to training and avoid paying them is to say something like, “Okay, go study whatever you like this weekend and I’ll pay for it.” The workers head off to yoga, meditation, screenwriting and start-your-own-business classes voluntarily and without benefit primarily to the company. Since Head Boss is a Nice Guy, he doesn’t have to pay them overtime.

For more information, check out the white paper.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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