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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 64j Establishing Objective Standards for Hourly Pay Rates

Section 64j00: General

  • See FOH 64g06 for what to do if the prevailing wage was an hourly rate which the employer wishes to convert to a piece rate when paying the workers with disabilities.
  • Some employers may have used pre-established ("off-the-shelf") industrial standards in lieu of conducting a time study. These are typically too general to use when setting the standard for workers who do not have disabilities. If pre-existing industrial standards are adopted as the measure of production for the workers who do not have disabilities, they must be verifiable and reflect the work methods used by the workers with disabilities.
  • Some general principles involving time-based measurements of hourly paid workers with disabilities include:
    1. Initial evaluation of worker's productivity must be made within the first month after employment.
    2. Results of productivity evaluation should be recorded and the worker's wages adjusted retroactively not later than the first pay period following the initial evaluation.
    3. A review of worker's productivity must be made at least every six months thereafter.
    4. Time-based measurements should not be conducted before the worker has time to become familiar with the job.
    5. Evaluations shall not be done when a worker is fatigued or subject to conditions that will result in less than normal productivity.
    6. Just as 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, the worker with the disability should also be timed on three different occasions and the results averaged.
    7. There are some hourly-paid jobs that do not lend themselves to complete time-based measurement because the entire job cycle is too long or because the amount of work depends upon the actions of others.
      • For example, a janitorial job often involves cleaning at a number of different sites with different cleaning tasks over the course of a week; or the bagging of groceries at a supermarket and policing the dining room at a fast food restaurant depend upon the number of customers and the products they buy.
      • An acceptable way to objectively evaluate a worker's productivity would be to set up a standardized job simulation. Using the techniques described in FOH 64j00(e)(4) below, time a standard setter(s) and the worker with a disability in the simulated setting.
  • The following is a summary of the steps an employer shall follow when conducting a time-based measurement when the prevailing wage survey indicated that workers were paid by the hour, not by the piece, and the employer wishes to pay a commensurate hourly rate. A detailed description of these steps is contained in FOH 64j00(e) below.
    1. Develop a job description.
    2. Perform a task analysis that includes both quality and quantity standards.
    3. Select the worker(s) who do not have disabilities to be timed (the standard setter(s)).
    4. Time the worker who does not have disabilities performing the job. This sets the standard of productivity (quantity and quality) of the worker who does not have disabilities for the job.
    5. Time the worker with a disability performing the job. This sets the level of productivity (quantity and quality) of the worker with a disability.
  • The employer should have completed all these steps in FOH 64j00(d) above. They are discussed in more detail below. When reviewing an employer's time studies, the INV should verify that, at a minimum, the employer completed the steps below that are in Italics bold print. These are also the same requirements the INV must follow when conducting his or her own time study or observing a new time study conducted by the employer (either because none was done previously or to confirm the results of the employer's earlier study).
    1. Develop a description of the work to be performed.
      • Define specific job duties, responsibilities and general tasks.
      • List the types of skills, training or experience required.
      • Indicate the days and times the work is performed if such factors could have an impact of the productivity of the worker.
      • Indicate to whom the worker reports.
    2. Perform a task analysis.
      • Identify the components, tasks and subtasks to be performed.
      • 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.
      • 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. These standards could be based on the historic on-the-job performance of workers who do not have a disability.
      • Determine a definite start and stop point. The start point is the action which begins the job cycle, such as getting out a mop and bucket. The stop point for an hourly job is the action which completes the job, such as putting the mop and bucket away. See FOH 64j01 if the tasks are dissimilar.
      • 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 (see FOH 64i02 for use of jigs in time studies).
      • 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 person(s) who do not have disabilities to perform the work (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% productivity.
    4. Time the worker who does not have a disability (standard setter) performing the job.
      • This is known as setting the standard.
      • 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.
        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 a term used by NISH that the INV may find on time study documents. 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 stop watch and make recordings.
        6. Document the measurement used to set the standard.
        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.
    5. Time the worker with a disability performing the job. Evaluate the performance of the worker with a disability following the procedures discussed in FOH 64j02.
  • The INV should verify that the steps discussed in FOH 64j00(e) above were taken, and especially note whether the employer included rework time when setting the standard. The importance of the employer's treatment of rework time is explained below in 64j02(b)(1).
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