Sleeping on the job is usually considered a bad thing. But deducting too many hours when workers are getting shut-eye is also not a good move.
The Dept. of Labor found some employees of Ed David Care Homes Inc. in California were paid a flat rate regardless of how many hours they worked, and the company deducted more than eight hours of sleep time when their shifts were 24 hours or longer.
That dropped them below the minimum wage rate and led to their employer paying $39,000 in back wages.
When sleep time can be excluded
Sometimes workers need to be on duty for extended time periods – even if that entire time isn’t spent doing work activities.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regs, employees on duty for less than 24 hours who are allowed to sleep when not busy are working the whole time.
However, employees on duty for shifts of 24 hours or more who are permitted to sleep when not busy may agree to exclude from hours worked up to eight hours of scheduled sleep time if:
- they take at least five hours of sleeping time
- their employer provides adequate sleeping facilities, and
- the employee can usually get uninterrupted shut-eye in these facilities.