Updated on April 19th, 2023

Reporting Time Pay Law in California

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Wages are what we mean when we use the term “reporting time pay.” If employers do not pay all of this at the moment of an employee being terminated, there may be waiting time penalties involved. There are two reasons why requirements were established regarding this.

First, it was the objective of having employees getting compensated for the work they performed. Second, it was done to encourage adequate notices and schedules.

Reporting time pay has to occur in the following situations:

  • When employees show up for work at the location they are supposed to work.
  • When employees show up for work remotely and sign into their account.
  • When employees show up at a job site for a particular client.
  • When employees set up to embark on trucking routes.
  • When employees phone in 2 hours before they begin their shift.

There are a few exceptions to these requirements. They are the following:

  • If operations are unable to start or keep going because property or employees’ safety is in danger. This would also include a case where civil authorities decided that work should cease immediately.

  • If public utilities are not supplying electric, water, or gas. This also includes failures in public utilities.

  • If an Act of God is responsible for interrupting work that is beyond the control of an employer.

If an employee is on standby, reporting time pay regulations do not apply. They also won’t apply if someone’s normal shift is under 2 hours.

How is “reporting time pay” defined?

This is a way of describing wages that are given to employees in exchange for their time on a job. These employees are supposed to work, but do not work at least half of the time they are supposed to because of inadequate notice or scheduling. Their employers would be responsible for these situations arising. California law concerning reporting time pay are:

  1. Each workday an employee is required to report to work, but is not put to work or is furnished with less than half of his or her usual or scheduled day’s work, he or she must be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at his or her regular rate of pay.

  2. If an employee is required to report to work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on the second reporting, he or she must be paid for two hours at his or her regular rate of pay.

Is there any situation where “reporting time pay” is  not applicable?

Yes, there are several situations where reporting time pay does not apply. There are situations where someone may show up to work when they are supposed to, but they get sent home right away. Other times, they will work for less than half the day. The following situations are when no reporting time pay is given:

  • If an employer has operations that are unable to start or keep going because their property or employees are getting threatened. This also includes situations where civil authorities have deemed that work cannot start or keep going.

  • If public utilities are not providing electric, water, or gas. Also, there may be a system failure in some public utility.

  • If an Act of God interrupts work. This is outside of an employer’s ability to control.

Let’s say I show up to work when I am supposed to. After an hour of being at work, out of an 8-hour shift, my boss sends me home because there’s no work. Later that day, they call me and tell me there is work now and that I should come in. I proceeded to work for 8 hours. Should I be getting paid?

Yes, you should get paid for it. According to the law, you should get paid here. Particularly when employees who come to work when they are supposed to and are sent home because there’s no work. This includes a situation where they worked under half the day they were supposed to work. This holds true if it was 2 to 4 hours at the normal pay rate. This aspect of the law is applicable even when you get called in later to continue working and work a full shift. In this situation, you would have had 11 hours of compensation due to you. You would also get an hour of overtime pay. To figure out how much the overtime pay would be, the following have to be considered:

  • You worked 8 hours at your usual rate. There was an hour at the start of the day you came into work. There was then 7 hours when you worked later on the same day.

  • You worked 3 hours at your normal rate. This signifies the reporting time penalty when you initially came into work. However, it also includes the fact that you weren’t given more than half your normal shift. Reporting time pay is not due to you for that second instance of you coming to work. This is because you worked for more than 2 hours.

  • You worked 1 hour overtime during the course of that same workday.

Let’s say I showed up to work when I was supposed to. I worked 3 hours out of 8 and then got sent home. My employer claimed I didn’t performed well and was not working as I should. Can I get reporting time pay?

Yes, you can get reporting time pay for an hour. Besides that, you are also entitled to getting 3 hours for the work you did prior to getting sent home. Even if an employer thinks your work was unsatisfactory, you cannot escape paying you reporting time pay.

Let’s say I showed up to work when I was supposed to. However, I got sent home after an hour given there was a bomb threat at the workplace. It was not re-opened for the rest of the day and I could not complete my normal 8 hours. Can I get reporting time pay?

No, you cannot. In the event of your normal workday getting interrupted because of a threatening situation to you or property, there is no reporting time pay.

Let’s say I showed up to work when I was supposed to. However, I was not given any work to do. My employer sent me home and informed me I should come for the next shift. I did and then worked 8 hours. I was paid 12 hours at my normal pay rate. However, given it was 12 hours, am I not entitled to 4 hours of overtime pay?

No, you are not. Your employer paid you the way they were supposed to. Reporting time pay should not be considered something you are compensated for the work you performed. This is why it won’t be used to determine whether overtime is owed to you. Given that you actually did not work over 8 hours during the day, you are not owed any overtime.

Let’s say I showed up to work when I was supposed to. However, I got sent home after being at work for 1 hour, given the lack of work. I also was unable to work for the entirely of my 6-hour shift. What am I owed when it comes to reporting time pay?

You should be paid 2 hours of reporting time pay. Given that you worked for 1 hour, that is under half the normal day of work for you. In this sort of situation, employers have to pay you for half of your normal day of work. There is never a situation where they would pay you for under 2 or over 4 hours of reporting time pay. Given that you worked for an hour, you need to get paid for an hour of work. You also need to get paid for 2 hours of reporting time pay. Altogether, you need to get pay totaling 3 hours.

Let’s say I showed up at work 2 days ago when I was supposed to. I usually work an 8-hour day. This time, I only worked for 3 hours, after which I went home because my child was ill. Can I get reporting time pay since I was unable to work half of the day?

No, you cannot get any reporting time pay. You left work out of your own free will. Although you may have considered it an emergency, it was still a personal matter you were attending to. This means that you are not eligible for this kind of pay. Your employer was not depriving you of the means of working a full shift. You made the choice and are not owed reporting time pay.

Let’s say I had an 8-hour shift yesterday, which was over at 4 PM. I was told to come back in at 6 PM the same day. There was a training session that lasted an hour. I get paid $15/hr. Do I get any reporting time pay?

Yes, you do. You can get an hour of reporting time day. According to the state law, employees may have to show up at work again in a single workday. If they do, and work for less than two hours, they have to get paid for up to two hours at their normal pay rate. In this cases, given that there was less than 2 hours offered during the second reporting, there was an hour of pay you were owed. Even though it was just a meeting, it still counts towards you working, given you were under the employer’s control.

Besides getting an hour of reporting time pay, you can also get an hour of overtime. That meeting could be considered as an hour of work. Given that you worked an 8-hour day prior to the meeting, that meeting was hour number 9. That 9th hour would be considered overtime.

What can be done when my employer won’t pay for the reporting time pay I am due?

If your employer is not paying you your reporting time pay, you can file a wage claim with the DLSE. Alternatively, you have the option of suing your employer and taking them to court to get the pay owed to you.

What process is followed once a wage claim is filed?

The first step in the wage claim process is to file a wage claim. Once you have completed it and filed it with the closest DLSE office to you, it gets assigned to the Deputy Labor Commissioner. Once that occurs, that individual will ascertain how to move forward. They will take into account the circumstances of your claim, along with any information present. What may happen is your claim getting referred to either a hearing or it gets dismissed.

When a conference is decided on, both you and your employer will get notifications in the mail. This notification will include the day, time, and location of the conference. This event will ascertain how valid the claim is. It will also be a priority to figure out whether the claim can get resolved without it going to a hearing. If your claim doesn’t get resolved there, what happens next is a hearing.

Hearings are done under oath and everything is recorded. Once a hearing is complete, there will be an Order, Decision, or Award. This ODA will be given to both you and your employer by the Labor Commissioner.

Both you and your employer are allowed to appeal this Order, Decision, or Award to a court. The court will get it scheduled for a trial, where both you and your employer will get to bring forth evidence and witnesses. Any evidence and testimony put forward at the previous hearing will not factor into the decision that the court will make. If you are unable to get representation, the DLSE can represent you.

If I win at a hearing, yet my employer isn’t paying me, or they appeal the ODA, what can be done?

You may have an ODA in your favor, where there is no appeal, yet your employer isn’t paying the ODA. In this situation, the DLSE gets the court to place the Order, Decision, or Award as a judgment against them. This is something that has the same power and effect as whatever judgment a court would enter. Alternatively, you have the option of attempting to get the judgment on your own from your employer. You can also have the DLSE get it for you.

What can be done when an employer retaliates against you after you tell them they owe you reporting time pay?

Sometimes, an employer will retaliate against an employee in some way. This sometimes comes as them firing the employee. They simply spoke up and said they were owed reporting time pay. They also may have filed a claim or threatened to do so. In any of these situations, you have the option of filing a retaliation complaint with the office of the Labor Commissioner. Your other option is to sue your employer and take them to court.

Please tell us your story:

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