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Use of Production Aids or “Jigs” When Determining Piece Rates Under FLSA Section 14(c)

There are circumstances where production aids or modifications (jigs or fixtures) must be used to accommodate the special needs of workers with the most severe disabilities or to help them be more productive. A separate time study does not have to be made utilizing these special modifications.

Generally if a jig would increase the productivity of a worker with a disability, yet impede the work of the worker who does not have a disability, the Wage and Hour Division will not question the standard setter’s use or nonuse of the jig during the time study.

The following is an example of the use of a jig:

A worker who does not have a disability is able to pack a specific number of items in a fishing gear box without having difficulty counting the quantities—four swivels per box, 10 hooks per box and nine weights per box. The worker who does not have a disability picks up the correct quantities and places them in the box without difficulty. Some workers with disabilities, however, are unable to determine the difference between the quantities and must use a counting or matching jig. One type of jig allows the workers with disabilities to put one weight into each of nine slots on the jig, and the worker is taught not to put any weights into the box until all nine slots are filled.

Because use of these counting jigs would impede the production of the worker without a disability, they need not be used in the time study.

However, as in the example above, the employer has the option of conducting a second time study in which the worker who does not have a disability uses the jig, because this would have the effect of increasing the wages of the worker with a disability. In this situation, the employer would be paying more than the law requires.

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