This new case involves an employer in the window installation and repair business. The company failed to pay installation crews for travel time spent driving between job sites during the work day. It failed to pay window technicians for time spent loading and unloading materials. Further, bonuses paid to lead technicians should be used when calculating overtime rates.
Window Restoration Acquisition Corp. paid $45,257 in back wages and liquidated damages to seven employees for violating the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
1. TRAVEL TIME DURING THE WORK DAY IS PAID TIME.
As a general rule under the FLSA, commuting to work and then back to home at the end of the day is not paid time. The employer doesn’t need to pay a worker for driving to work and then back home. [The Portal to Portal Act of 1947 (29 USC §§251-262)].
However, once the employee is “on the clock” and the work day begins; travel time between job sites is paid time. Paid time also counts toward whether the employee works more than 40 hours in a single work week. If more than 40 hours is worked in a single work week, the employee earns overtime pay for the extra work time.
Window Restoration was only paying workers for the time spent at each job site. Workers should be paid for the travel time between job sites which occurs during the work day.
For example in 2018, a Georgia-based company that provides non-medical in-home care to the elderly and those with disabilities agreed to pay $7,727,500 to settle class claims under state law that it did not pay its workers for the time they spent driving to multiple clients in a work day (Anderson, et al. v. Southern Home Care Services Inc. and Res-Care Inc., No. 1:13-cv-00840, (N.D. Ga., Oct. 26, 2018)).
What kind of jobs have multiple job sites in a single work day? Custodial crews often clean multiple buildings in a single shift and travel between the locations. As shown above, home health care providers often make several in-home visits during a single work day. Installers of telephones, cable and alarm systems, etc. work at multiple homes throughout the day. Painters, plumbers, roofers, and other construction workers, carpet cleaners, often travel to several job sites in a single day. Technicians who repair home refrigerators, stoves, or HVAC units visit many homes in a single day. Tree cutting and landscaping jobs visit multiple locations. The time spent traveling between sites for these jobs is paid time.
This travel time is still payable work time, even if an employer makes the worker record the time spent traveling, or even if the worker clocks out remotely on a phone app for the travel time.
2. LOADING AND UNLOADING MATERIALS.
Window Restoration and Repair also failed to pay technicians overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. Specifically, the time employees spent loading and unloading materials was payable work time. This was time that should be paid even if the trucks are loaded or unloaded at the beginning or end of the day, as well as during the day between travel to multiple job sites.
This employer only counted hours at customers’ job sites when calculating overtime. All of this time counts toward whether the worker put in more than 40 hours in a single work week. had been counted for overtime purposes.
3. OVERTIME AND BONUS PAYMENTS.
Window Restoration Acquisition Corp. also failed to include bonuses paid to lead technicians when calculating their overtime rates, resulting in payment at rates lower than those required by law.
Overtime pay is calculated at 1 ½ times the Regular Rate. If all the employee receives is hourly pay, then the Regular Rate is the same as the hourly rate. However, if the employees is paid by the hour plus a production bonus, then both need to be added in the Regular Rate. For example, an employee paid only $10.00 per hour earns overtime pay at 1 ½ times $10.00 per hour or $15.00 each overtime hour.
But suppose an employee earns $10.00 per hour plus a $2.00 per hour production bonus. The Regular Rate is $12.00 ($10.00 plus $2.00). Then the overtime rate is 1/1/2 times $12.00 per hour or $18.00 each overtime hour. The Regulations describing what types of extra payments above hourly pay count as “production bonuses” can be found here.
4. CHECK YOUR PAY.
Check your pay to see that all of the time you worked is recorded and paid. Travel time between job sites during the work day is paid time. Does this push the total time in a week over forty hours? This time should be paid at overtime rates. Is your overtime rate calculated correctly to include any production bonuses? If you earn production bonuses or other pay along with your hourly pay, these extra payments may need to be included in the overtime rate for each hour of overtime that you are owed.
The Ken S. Nugent, P.C. Overtime Team of attorneys can help you collect (1) back wages, plus (2) liquidated damages in an additional amount of the same back wages and overtime, and (3) attorney’s fees and costs. For a free evaluation of your work situation, contact us here.