Pay for Time Scheduled

“What do I need to pay an employee just to come in one day for a 45-minute meeting?”

Your HR Survival Tip

If the employee understands they are only coming to work for 45 minutes, that’s all the time you need to pay. The problem lies in whether that is fully understood.

There are two primary scenarios for paying someone for less than a day but these aren’t the only reasons. (1) You want them to come in for a brief time so you can terminate their employment. (2) You had too many employees come to work based on the amount of work available.

If we say to come in for just 45 minutes tomorrow, they’ll ask why. If it’s a simple team meeting, you can say that. But if you want to fire the employee, it’s not a great idea to broadcast your intent in advance. Overall, save those short meeting days for something you’re free to discuss. You only need to pay for the time scheduled because the employee is not expecting to be there longer.

If you scheduled too many employees and now need to send a couple of them home, California feels you should take the hit rather than the employee. The employees showed up as requested so you’ll need to pay for “reporting time” that day. Reporting time pay is part of California’s wage and hour laws. When you send someone home earlier than scheduled, you must pay for one-half of their scheduled hours but no more than 4 hours and no less than 2 hours:

  • Scheduled for 8 hours, you’d pay for 4 hours (one-half of the scheduled amount).

  • Scheduled for 2 hours, you’d pay for 2 hours (the minimum amount of reporting time pay).

  • Scheduled for 6 hours, you’d pay for 3 hours (one-half of the scheduled amount).

  • Scheduled for 10 hours, you’d pay for 4 hours (no more than 4 hours is due with reporting time pay).

If you plan ahead a bit, it’s not hard to avoid reporting time pay. Check your workload and the schedule… inform employees before they leave work the previous day that you won’t need them tomorrow. When terminating in the morning include at least 4 hours of reporting time pay on their final check to cover the time for the meeting and clearing out their belongings. Be considerate of employees’ time and be compliant with their pay.

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