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Conducting Work Measurements of Hourly Paid Jobs

The following is a detailed description of the steps an employer should follow when conducting a time-based measurement (setting the standard) for a job that will be paid on an hourly basis.

1. Develop a job description.

  1. Define specific job duties, responsibilities and general tasks.
  2. List the types of skills, training or experience required.
  3. Indicate the days and times the work is performed if such factors could have an impact of the productivity of the worker.
  4. Indicate to whom the worker reports.

2. Perform a task analysis that includes both quality and quantity standards.

  1. Identify the components, tasks and subtasks to be performed.
  2. Develop an accurate picture of the method and procedures used to accomplish the tasks. Include types of equipment and supplies to be used. Specify the area, location, floor, building, etc. where the work is to be performed.
  3. Establish the minimum acceptable quantity and quality standards for the job. These standards must be realistic and achievable by the worker who does not have a disability while working at a normal pace that could be comfortably sustained throughout an entire work shift.
  4. Determine a definite start and stop point. The start point is the action which begins the job cycle— including all set-up time normally performed by the workers—such as getting out a mop and bucket. The stop point for an hourly job is the action that completes the job, such as putting the mop and bucket away.
  5. Note the methods and procedures that will be used by the worker who does not have a disability when establishing the standard so that they are the same when the worker with a disability is evaluated. When the worker with the disability performs the actual work, it must be performed in the same way the standard setter performed the work when establishing the standard, or in a way that allows the worker with the disability to be more productive (for example, the use of “jigs” such as counting devices that help the worker with a disability complete the task).
  6. Make certain that the task analysis is an accurate description of the work and is the way the work is actually accomplished.

3. Select the worker(s) who does not have a disability to be timed (the standard setter(s)). (This will usually be an employee who does not have a disability or a staff member(s) who is:)

  • Qualified to perform the task
  • Familiar, experienced, and comfortable with the work
  • Able to perform in a typical work environment
  • Able to maintain a consistent and efficient pace
  • Able to perform at or close to 100 percent productivity

4. Time the worker who does not have a disability performing the job. (This sets the standard of productivity (quantity and quality) of the worker who does not have a disability for the job.)

  1. This procedure is known as “setting the standard.”
  2. The individual conducting the study (the observer) must:

  1. Assure that the standard setter performs the task exactly as it will be performed by the worker with a disability (except when the worker with a disability needs special equipment to perform the job which, if used by the standard setter, would actually impair the performance of the standard setter). Include irregular elements that are part of the job such as the replenishing of supplies, the unlocking and locking of doors, the cleaning and refueling of equipment, etc;
  2. Compare the standard setter’s actions to the written procedures;
  3. Structure the study to avoid, as much as possible, “lost time” situations. Lost time is time excluded from a time study for an activity that is not a regularly recurring part of the job. Example: time lost when a supervisor acting as the standard setter is interrupted during the time study by an employee’s question;
  4. Time the standard setter’s work using the same start and stop times as designated earlier;
  5. Read the stopwatch and make recordings;
  6. Document the measurement used to set the standard, check for "quality" and "quantity," perform rework as necessary (if applicable);
  7. Conduct the study three times and determine average time. It is recommended that either three different standard setters be timed or that the same standard setter be timed three different times and the results averaged. When possible, use three different people as standard setters. Using three different people allows for the fact that different people normally work at different paces.

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