elaws - FLSA Hours Worked Advisor
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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses - FLSA Hours Worked Advisor

Employees Residing on the Employer's Premises on a Permanent Basis,
For Extended Periods of Time or Working at Home

Some employees work at home or live on their employer's premises on a permanent basis or for extended periods of time. Examples include an apartment complex maintenance person who lives in the apartment complex, a house parent in a group home or a college student employed as a "resident assistant" who lives in the dormitory. If this describes your employee’s employment situation, all of the time spent at their home or at your premises is not hours worked. Ordinarily, your employee has time to engage in normal private activities such as sleeping, eating, entertaining, and other periods of complete freedom from all duties when he or she are able to leave your premises and use the time as he or she chooses.

Reasonable Agreement

It is difficult to determine the exact hours worked under these circumstances and any reasonable agreement between you and your employee which takes into consideration all of the applicable facts will be accepted. In this regard, you may wish to review waiting time, meal periods and sleep time. The agreement must indicate the number of hours your employee will work and the hours he or she may use for personal activities.

The reasonable agreement must be an employee-employer agreement and not a unilateral decision by you. Such an agreement should normally be in writing in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding of the terms and conditions of your employee’s employment. It must account for the time spent working and the time when your employee may engage in normal private activities, with sufficient time for eating, sleeping, entertaining and other periods of complete freedom.

The reasonable agreement should consider all relevant factors including any restrictions or limitations on the use of your employee’s personal time and the expected interruptions to eating and sleeping periods. Whether your employee is really free to use personal time as he or she wishes will depend on what actually happens, regardless of the provisions of the written agreement.

The following is an example of a reasonable agreement: a resident assistant in the university dormitory has an agreement with the university to be available for the dormitory residents 5 hours each day (from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Monday through Friday and to respond to any emergencies in the dormitory. The resident assistant may use the rest of his or her time for attending classes, studying, going to sporting events or concerts, etc., as he or she chooses. The university considers as hours worked the 5 hours per day (Monday through Friday) that the resident assistant is available to residents and any time spent responding to emergencies in the dormitory.

An exact record of hours worked is not required if your employee is living on your premises or working at home. You may keep a time record showing the schedule adopted in the agreement and indicate that your employee’s work time generally was the same as the agreement or schedule.

If you and your employee find that there is a great difference between the hours your employee agreed to work and the hours needed to do the job, a new agreement must be reached which reflects the actual hours your employee is required to work. All of the time your employee spends working is hours worked.

Click on the underlined text to learn more about homeworkers.

To review the regulations, click on the underlined text.

For more information, please contact your local Wage and Hour District Office.