The healthcare industry includes hospitals,
residential care establishments, skilled nursing facilities, nursing
facilities, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities
for mental retardation and the developmentally disabled. The following
examples provide guidance regarding common FLSA violations found by
the DOL during investigations relating to the failure to pay healthcare
employees for all hours worked.
Example 1. An intermediate
care facility docks employees by a full quarter hour (15 minutes)
when they start work more than 7 minutes after the start of their
scheduled shift. Does this practice comply with the FLSA requirements?
Yes, as long as the employees’ time is rounded up a full quarter hour
when the employee starts working from 8 to 14 minutes before his or
her shift or if the employee works from 8 to 14 minutes beyond the
scheduled end of the shift.
Example 2. An employee’s
schedule is 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a 30-minute unpaid lunch break.
The employee receives overtime compensation after 40 hours in a workweek.
The employee clocks in 10 minutes early every day and clocks out 7
minutes late each day. The employer follows the standard rounding
rules. Is the employee entitled to overtime compensation? Yes. If
the employer rounds back a quarter hour each morning to 6:45 a.m.
and rounds back each evening to 3:30 p.m., the employee will show
a total of 41.25 hours worked during that workweek. The employee will
be entitled to additional overtime compensation for the 1.25 hours
Example 3. An employer
only records and pays for time if employees work in full 15-minute
increments. An employee paid $10 per hour is scheduled to work 8 hours
a day Monday through Friday, for a total of 40 hours a week. The employee
always clocks out 12 minutes after the end of her shift. The employee
is paid $400 per week. Does this comply with the FLSA? No, the employer
has violated the overtime requirements. The employee worked an hour
each week (12 minutes times 5) that was not compensated. The employer
has not violated the minimum wage requirement because the employee
was paid $9.75 per hour ($400 divided by 41 hours). However, the employer
owes the employee for 1 hour of overtime each week.
Example 4. A licensed
practical nurse (LPN) works at an assisted living facility that has
a “sister facility” 20 miles away. There have been times that the
LPN has been asked to fill in for someone at the other facility after
she completes her shift at her normal worksite. It takes her 30 minutes
to drive to the other facility. The travel time is not recorded on
her time sheet. Is this a violation of the FLSA? Yes. The travel time
must be considered part of the hours worked.
Example 5. A residential
care facility offers specialized training on caring for Alzheimer's
disease residents. There are two workshops: one in the evening for
the day shift and one during the day for the evening shift. All employees
are required to attend. Is this compensable time? Yes, because the
training is not voluntary and is related to the employees’ jobs.
Example 6. The administrator
of a nursing home says specialized patient care training is voluntary,
but the nursing supervisors expect all employees on their units to
attend and schedule times for each employee to go. Is the time considered
hours worked? Yes, the time would be considered hours worked. When
the nursing supervisors expect all unit employees to attend and schedule
their times, it is not truly voluntary.
Example 7. The dishwasher
decides to go to the Alzheimer’s training session after his shift.
Must the administrator pay for the dishwasher’s time spent at the
training session? No, because all four criteria above are met. It
is not considered hours worked.
Example 8. The administrator
provides a Tai Chi course to residents and allows employees to attend
during their off-duty hours. Do employees have to be paid for the
time they attend this course? No, the employees do not have to be
paid because attendance is voluntary and the other three criteria
Example 9. A skilled
nursing facility automatically deducts one-half hour for meal breaks
each shift. Upon hiring, the employer notifies employees of the policy
and of their responsibility to take a meal break. Does this practice
comply with the FLSA? Yes, but the employer is still responsible for
ensuring that the employees take the 30-minute meal break without
Example 10. An hourly
paid registered nurse works at a nursing home that allows a 30-minute
meal break. Residents frequently interrupt her meal break with requests
for assistance. Must she be paid for these frequently interrupted
meal breaks? Yes, if employees’ meals are interrupted to the extent
that meal period is predominately for the benefit of the employer,
the employees should be paid for the full 30-minutes.
Example 11. Many third-shift
nursing home employees who smoke prefer to take three 10-minute unpaid
smoke breaks instead of their 30-minute unpaid meal break. Is it okay
for them to substitute the smoke breaks for their meal break? No,
the employee must be compensated for the smoke breaks.
Example 12. An assisted
living facility has four LPN wellness coordinators who are paid hourly.
They rotate being on call each week. They are required to carry a
cell phone and be within 45 minutes of the facility when they are
on call. They are not paid for all time spent carrying the cell phone
but are paid for time spent responding to calls and time when they
have returned to work at the assisted living facility. Does this comply
with the FLSA? Yes.
Example 13. A residential
care facility pays its nurses an hourly rate. Sometimes the residential
care facility is short staffed and the nurses stay beyond their scheduled
shift to work on patients’ charts. This results in the nurses working
overtime. The director of nursing knows additional time is being worked,
but believes no overtime is due because the nurses did not obtain
prior authorization to work the additional hours as required by company
policy. Is this correct? No. The nurses must be paid time and one-half
for all FLSA overtime hours worked.
Example 14. An hourly
paid office clerk is working on a skilled nursing home’s quarterly
budget reports. Rather than stay late in the office, she takes work
home and finishes the work in the evening. She does not record the
hours she works at home. The office manager knows the clerk is working
at home, but since she does not ask for pay, assumes she is doing
it “on her own.” Should the clerk’s time working at home be counted?
Yes. The clerk was “suffered and permitted” to work, so her time must
be considered hours worked even though she worked at home and the
time was unscheduled.
Last reviewed on January 8, 2015.