Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Department of Labor to Issue Regulations to Help Employees Know Their Wage and Hour Rights...and they define "clothes"

The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently announced that intends to issue regulations requiring employers to provide workers with information about their rights to minimum wage and overtime pay. And, for employees exempt from overtime, the DOL’s regulations would require employers to perform an exemption analysis that would have to be disclosed to the worker, retained, and provided to any enforcement agent of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. For more, read here.


Also, the Department of Labor has issued an a new Administrator Interpretation pertaining to Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(o), and the definition of “clothes.” § 203(o) states that time spent “changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday” is excluded from compensable time under the FLSA if the time is excluded from compensable time pursuant to “the express terms or by custom or practice” under a collective bargaining agreement. However, this new Administrator Interpretation holds that the § 203(o) exemption does not extend to protective equipment worn by employees that is required by law, by the employer, or due to the nature of the job. In other words, if part of an employee's uniform is protective materials like a helmet, smock, plastic apron, arm guard, belly guard, plastic arm sleeve, then they are not considered "clothes" for purposes of compensable time issues.

With respect to the changing of clothes, the Administrator's Interpretation states that clothes changing covered by § 203(o) may be a principal activity. Where that is the case, subsequent activities, including walking and waiting, are compensable.

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