The activities which you are employed to perform are your principal
activities. These activities include any work of consequence performed for your
employer--no matter where the work is performed. Your principal activities also
include all activities which are an integral (or essential) part of your
- When operating a lathe an employee will frequently, at the beginning of his
or her workday, oil, grease or clean his or her machine, or install a new
cutting tool. Such activities are an essential or integral part of the
principal activity. Time spent in these activities would probably be hours
- The time spent by a butcher sharpening knives and other tools is a part of
the principal activity the butcher was hired to perform and would probably be
Among the activities included as an essential part of a principal activity
are those closely related activities that are necessary to perform the
- If an employee in a chemical plant cannot perform his or her principal
activities without putting on certain protective clothes, changing clothes on
the employers premises at the beginning and end of the workday would be a
necessary part of the employees principal activities. The time spent in
changing clothes would probably be hours worked.
- Some employees, such as nurses and machine operators, who replace employees
already on duty, are required to report to work before the beginning time of
their shift. This time is frequently referred to as "reporting time."
The extra reporting time is for the purpose of being made aware of what is
going on or receiving instructions to continue work already in progress. This
time is probably hours worked.
- Note: there are
rules concerning early relief or reporting time for certain public sector
employees. For more information about these special rules, please click on the
If you have questions concerning the time you spend in preliminary or
postliminary activities, please contact your local
Hour District Office.