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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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FOH Field Operations Handbook
arrowChapter 64 Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Special Minimum Wages under Section 14(c)
arrowSection 64g Issues Requiring Special Attention

Section 64g04: Work Measurement

  • Before an employer can convert the prevailing wage into a commensurate wage, he or she must conduct a work measurement to determine the standard for a worker who does not have a disability.
  • Work Measurement. Work measurement refers to the process of determining the amount of time it should take a worker who does not have a disability to perform an operation, or element of an operation, using a prescribed method. This amount of time becomes the "standard" against which the productivity of the worker with a disability is compared to determine the commensurate wage. Three criteria must be met to obtain an accurate determination:
    1. the work being measured must be performed by a qualified, competent worker who does not have a disability for the work being performed and who possesses the necessary skill and training to properly perform the operation;
    2. the work must be done at a pace that could be maintained by an employee over an entire work shift; and,
    3. for workers being paid a piece rate, an allowance must be made for the worker's personal fatigue and delay time (as per Regulations 29 CFR Part 525.12(h) and discussed in FOH 64i01).
  • The regulations do not require that employers use any particular method of work measurement, but the method used must be verifiable through the use of established industrial work measurement techniques. The following methods of work measurement have been accepted by WH:
    1. Timing the work with a stop watch (see FOH 64i00(c)).
    2. Methods-Time Measurement (MTM). This phrase refers to a work measurement system established in 1948 in which a predetermined time value is assigned to every manual motion involved in performing a given task. The time required to complete a unit of work is derived by first adding together the time values for each motion involved, and then adding a personal time, delay, and fatigue factor (known as a PF&D factor). Generally, not less than a 15% allowance (nine or ten minutes per hour) is used to allow for PF&D (see Regulations 29 CFR Part 525.12(h)(2)(ii)). The original MTM (now referred to as MTM-1) had 450 time values. It has been replaced by a simplified version, known as MTM-2, which has only 30 to 50 time values and thus is easier to learn and apply accurately (see FOH 64i01 for more information on PF&D).
    3. Modular Arrangement of Predetermined Time Standards (MODAPTS).
      • MODAPTS, a work measurement system developed by Australian chemical engineer C.G. Heyde and introduced in 1966, is a predetermined time system which deals with standard time values or units of human physical work, termed "modules" or "MODS." These MODS are related to movements of the human body as work is performed.
      • The following brief description of the development, processes and application of MODAPTS is provided to assist INVs in their understanding of this popular work measurement system.
        1. Heyde determined that all body movements can be expressed in terms of multiples of a single unit of time. This single unit of time (a MOD which equals 129 milliseconds, 0.129 seconds, or 0.00215 minutes) is the time required to complete a single finger movement. The MODAPTs practitioner determines the number of MODs required to complete a particular motion, and assigns a code to the motion. A general rule of thumb is that one MOD equals 1/7 of a second.
        2. MODAPTS divides body motions into three classes: Movement, Terminal, and Auxiliary. These classes are subdivided further.
          • Movements, for example, are then classified depending on the joint or "hinge" that must move in order to complete a movement. The greater the movement, the more MODs are required to complete it. For example, moving the hand at the wrist two inches to retrieve an object is coded as M2 - M indicates that it was a "movement motion" and 2 indicates that the movement had a MOD value of two. Moving the whole arm is coded as M4 and movements from the shoulder involving the body truck are coded M7, meaning that it takes 7 MODs, or approximately one second, to perform the motion.
          • "Movements" motions are followed by terminal activities. Terminal activities are divided into activities coded G (for "Gets") or P (for "Puts"), with more MODs assigned as the activity becomes more complicated. For example, picking up a dime from a flat surface (a "Get") is slightly more difficult that picking up a pencil (another "Get"). The pencil can be picked up with a single grasping motion of the fingers, but picking up the dime requires additional finger manipulation. Therefore the movement of picking up the dime is given two more MODs than picking up the pencil. Picking up the dime is a G3, while picking up the pencil is only a G1.
          • Auxiliary activities include all other activities. Two examples include walking (coded W) and reading (coded R). A single step in an unrestricted area is given 5 MODs (coded W5) and reading one word in a group where the purpose is to get only the overall message is given 2 MODs (coded R2).
        3. The following, based on the sample codes just provided, is the coding for an individual who takes a single step to a table, reads a sign telling him to pick up the dime lying on the table in front of him, reaches out with his or her whole arm and picks up the dime: W5R2M4G3. This is a total of 14 MODs, or approximately 2 seconds (14 MODs times .129 seconds per MOD equals 1.806 seconds).
        4. In this same manner, the MODAPTS practitioner analyzes a job as it is performed by an average experienced worker, codes the motions required to do the job, and tallies the total number of MODs. The total MODs are converted to minutes or hours, and multiplied by an allowance factor (which accounts for personal, fatigue and delay time) to determine the total standard time required to complete the job.
        5. Proponents of this system claim that, of all predetermined time standards systems, MODAPTS is the fastest to use, the most accurate, and the easiest to learn. MODAPTS proponents claim this system is superior to stop watch time studies since it eliminates performance rating, or the subjective practice of evaluating the speed and effectiveness of the worker being studied.
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