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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses - FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor

Down Time and Hours Worked Under the FLSA

Down time refers to compensable time when a worker with a disability is on the job but is not producing because of factors not within his or her control—such as lack of work, equipment breakdowns, etc. Workers with disabilities, including those paid piece rates, are required to be paid for down time at a rate equal to their average hourly earnings during the most representative period, not to exceed a quarter (calendar or fiscal). An employer must be consistent in the method used when computing the employee’s average hourly earnings.

As a practical matter, workers with disabilities employed by community rehabilitation programs are often unable to leave their place of employment because of special transportation arrangements or other reasons unique to their condition. The employer may provide rehabilitation services to workers with disabilities during periods of extended down time and such time need not be considered compensable so long as:

  • The services provided are not primarily for the purpose of increasing job productivity;
  • Such time is clearly identified, recorded and segregated on time records; and
  • The services are provided in an area away from the production area if other employees are still working.

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FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor | Wage and Hour Division