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End of Daylight Saving Time: Wage-Hour Implications for Night Shift Workers

November 9, 2010

Daylight Savings Time ended in most states on Sunday, November 7 at 2 a.m. when set our clocks back one hour. How does this time change effect nonexempt employees who were working at the time we "fell back"?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and most states' wage-and-hour laws require covered employers to pay their nonexempt employees at least the minimum wage (currently $7.40 per hour in Michigan) for all time worked, and overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The requirement to pay for "all time worked" refers to actual hours worked, not an artificial measurement of time. Thus, an employee whose shift crossed over 2 a.m. on November 7 must be paid for the extra hour created by the end of daylight saving time.

For example, say a production employee in a manufacturing plant is scheduled to work third shift, beginning at 11 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 7 a.m. on Sunday. On paper the employee is only scheduled to work 8 hours. However, in reality at 2 a.m. on Sunday the clocks "fell back" one hour, and the employee actually ended up working a 9-hour shift. The employee must be paid for the full 9 hours, and all 9 hours must be counted in determining whether the employee has worked more than 40 hours necessary to trigger overtime obligations under the wage-hour laws. Failure to properly pay for this actual time worked could give rise to liability under the FLSA or other laws.

Employers should also carefully check their own state's wage-hour laws and any applicable collective bargaining agreements or other contracts to ensure if any additional obligations are imposed. Varnum attorneys are ready to assist with any questions or concerns that employers may have, and to ensure that employer timekeeping policies are in full compliance.

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