Do you have to pay an employee for answering an after-hours work related call that only lasted a few minutes?
The Industrial Welfare Commission Orders, Section 2, describes “hours worked” as time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so. So, answering short calls, texts, and emails would fall under the definition of hours worked.
These small increments of time can be hard to track and previously were disregarded as “de minimis” time. De minimis time is commonly defined as a few seconds or minutes in duration, and where the failure to count such time is justified by industrial realities. However, the California Supreme Court held in 2018 that the de minimis rule has not been adopted by California laws, which require that employees be paid for “all hours worked.”
If it is not necessary for your employees to answer calls after-hours, create a policy that prohibits employees from working off the clock. If an employee still works after-hours, pay them for the time worked, but you can also discipline the employee for violating your policy.
For any questions regarding new laws, or existing laws, contact the Labor and Employment Law Attorneys at SBEMP.
For more information or to request a consultation please contact the law offices of SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) by clicking here.
SBEMP LLP is a full service law firm with attorney offices in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Rancho Mirage), CA; Costa Mesa (Orange County), CA; San Diego, CA; Princeton, NJ; and New York, NY.
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