Reporting Time Pay and Meetings Held on an Employee’s Day Off

One question that may challenge hospitals is how to properly pay employees if they report to work on their day off for a scheduled meeting.   Wage Order 5, section 5 addresses reporting time pay but the question has arisen whether reporting time pay rules apply in the circumstance when an employee comes to work on a regularly scheduled day off to attend a meeting that has been pre-scheduled. 

Wage Order 5, section 5 provides that “each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or schedule day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work but in no event for less than 2 hours nor more than 4 hours.”  In section 45.1.4 of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Interpretations Manual, the Labor Commissioner appears to have interpreted this to mean that if an employee who is regularly scheduled to work an 8 hour shift is scheduled to come in to work on his/her regular day off to attend a 2-hour meeting, the employee is entitled to 4 hours of reporting time pay.  

Two recent California cases reject the Labor Commissioner’s interpretation.  In Price v. Starbucks, the apppellate court did not address the particular issue of pre-scheduled meetings on an employee’s day off.  Nonetheless, under the Court’s reasoning, so long as a meeting was scheduled in advance, reporting time pay would not be due, unless the meeting lasted half as long as expected.  Thus, in the example given above, the employee would be due 2 hours of pay for the 2 hour meeting.  Reporting time pay would only be due if the meeting lasted less than 1 hour.

A second case addressed this issue directly, Aleman v. Airtouch Cellular.  However, it was recently de-published when the California Supreme Court accepted it for review on the attorneys fees issue that was raised in the case, therefore it cannot be cited in litigation.  Nonetheless, it does provide some insight on how a court would handle this question.  In that case, the employee was occasionally scheduled for meetings on his regular day off.  Those meetings were included on the schedule, which was posted 4 days in advance of the workweek.  The court found that the employee was not due reporting time pay as the meetings were scheduled in advance and lasted at least 1/2 of the scheduled time.  

A copy of each case is attached for your review.  Hospitals may want to revisit their reporting time pay policy to determine whether any changes might be made and/or education for managers conducted as a result of these cases.