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Reporting time pay

To guarantee at least partial compensation for employees who report to their job expecting to work a specified number of hours but who are deprived of that amount of work because of inadequate scheduling or lack of proper notice by the employer, the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders require that employers pay nonexempt employees, in addition to the hours the employee actually works, for certain unworked but regularly scheduled time. IWC Orders 1-16, Section 5 Such payments are known as "reporting time pay." Reporting time pay for hours in excess of the actual hours worked is not counted as hours worked for purposes of determining overtime. The specific requirements for reporting time pay are:

  • Each workday an employee is required to report to work, but is not put to work or is furnished with less than half of his or her usual or scheduled day's work, the employee must be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at his or her regular rate of pay.

    For example, if an employee is scheduled to report to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour, the employer is nonetheless obligated to pay the employee four hours of pay at his or her regular rate of pay (one for the hour worked, and three as reporting time pay). Only the one-hour actually worked, however, counts as actual hours worked.

  • If an employee is required to report to work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on the second reporting, he or she must be paid for two hours at his or her regular rate of pay.

Exceptions to the requirement for reporting time pay found in IWC Orders 1-16, Section 5(C) are as follows:

  1. When operations cannot begin or continue due to threats to employees or property, or when civil authorities recommend that work not begin or continue; or
  2. When public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public utilities, or sewer system; or
  3. When the interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer's control, for example, an earthquake.

Additionally, employers are not obligated to pay reporting time pay under the following circumstances:

  1. If the employee is not fit to work.
  2. If the employee has not reported to work on time and is fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.

The reporting time pay provisions do not apply to employees on paid standby status or when an employee has a regularly scheduled shift of less than two hours, such as a relief cashier who works only during a one-hour period in the middle of the day.


1. Q. What is "reporting time pay?"

  A. "Reporting time pay" is partial compensation for employees who report to work expecting to work a specified number of hours and who are deprived of that amount because of inadequate scheduling or lack of proper notice by the employer. The provisions of the law regarding reporting time pay are as follows:
  1. Each workday an employee is required to report to work, but is not put to work or is furnished with less than half of his or her usual or scheduled day's work, he or she must be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at his or her regular rate of pay.
  2. If an employee is required to report to work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on the second reporting, he or she must be paid for two hours at his or her regular rate of pay.
2. Q. Are there circumstances where reporting time pay doesn't apply?

A. Yes, there are a number of instances whereby an employee reports to work as scheduled and is sent home immediately, or works less than half his or her usual or scheduled day's work and is not entitled to reporting time pay.

No reporting time pay is due:

  1. When the employer's operations cannot begin or continue due to threats to employees or property, or when civil authorities recommend that work not begin or continue.
  2. When public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public utilities, or sewer system.
  3. When the interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer's control, for example, an earthquake.
  4. If the employee is not fit to work.
  5. If the employee has not reported to work on time and is fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.
  6. If an unexpected or unusual occurrence during off hours makes it impossible for the employer to open for business and the employer has made every reasonable effort to notify employees not to report for work.
3. Q. Today I reported to work at my scheduled start time and after working one hour of my regular eight-hour shift my employer sent me home because of lack of work. A few hours later my employer called and said that things had picked up and told me to report to work again that same day, which I did. I then worked an 8-hour shift. Am I entitled to any additional pay?

A. Yes, you are entitled to three hours of reporting time pay. Under the law, an employee who reports to work on time and is later sent home because of lack of work, having worked less than half of his or her regularly scheduled shift, is entitled to be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours at his or her regular rate of pay. This provision of the law applies even though you were called back to work later that same day and worked a full shift. For this workday, your total compensation is 11 hours of compensation at your regular rate of pay, and one hour of overtime pay, calculated as follows:

8 hours regular rate. One hour worked the first time you reported to work plus the first seven hours worked the second time you reported to work later in the same workday.

3 hours regular rate. This pay represents the reporting time penalty for the first time you reported to work but were provided with less than half your regularly scheduled shift. No reporting time pay is due for the second time you reported to work because you were furnished with more than two hours of work.

1 hour of overtime for the ninth hour actually worked in the workday.

4. Q. Yesterday after reporting to work on time and working three hours of my usual eight-hour shift, my employer sent me home claiming that my performance was unsatisfactory as I was not doing my job correctly. Am I entitled to reporting time pay?

A. Yes, you are entitled to one hour of reporting time pay in addition to the three hours of wages you earned for the work you performed before being sent home. Performing at a level that the employer feels is unacceptable does not fall within any of the exceptions to the employer's obligation to pay reporting time pay.

5. Q. Today I reported to work as scheduled and was sent home after one hour because of a bomb threat in the building. The building was closed for the entire day and I was unable to work my regular eight-hour shift. Am I entitled to any reporting time pay?

A. No, one of the exceptions to the reporting time pay requirement is if the workday is interrupted due to a threat to employees or property.

6. Q. Yesterday I reported to work at my regular time and there was no work available. I was sent home and told to report for the second shift, which I did. I worked 8 hours on the second shift. For the day, my employer paid me for 12 hours at my regular rate of pay. Since I was paid for 12 hours, shouldn't four of those hours be at the overtime rate instead of my regular rate of pay?

A. No, you were paid correctly. Reporting time pay is in the nature of a penalty against the employer for having you report to work expecting to work a certain number of hours, and depriving you of fulfilling that expectation because of inadequate scheduling or lack of proper notice. Reporting time pay is not compensation for services rendered or labor performed and thus, is not used in determining if overtime is due. Since you did not work more than eight hours in the workday, no overtime is due.

7. Q. Yesterday I reported to work on time and was sent home after only one hour because there was not sufficient work for the entire day. Consequently, I did not work my full 6-hour shift. How much reporting time pay am I entitled to?

A. Your employer is required to pay you two hours of reporting time pay. Since you worked only one hour, which is less than half your scheduled day's work, your employer is required to pay you for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours. Since you worked for one hour, you must be paid for that hour's work, and for two hours of reporting time penalty pay, for a total of 3 hours of pay.

8. Q. Two days ago I reported to work on time for my regular eight-hour shift. I worked for three hours and then went home to take care of my sick child. Am I entitled to any reporting time pay because I didn't work half my usual day's work?

A. No. Because you left work on your own volition to attend to a personal matter, you are not entitled to any reporting time pay. In this situation your employer did not deprive you of the opportunity to work your full schedule, it was your choice not to so and thus, no reporting time penalty is due.

9. Q. Yesterday my regular eight-hour work shift ended at 3:30 p.m. and I was required to report back to work at 5:30 p.m. on the same workday to attend a one hour training meeting. I am paid $10.00 per hour. Am I entitled to any reporting time pay?

A. Yes, you are entitled to one hour of reporting time pay. Under the law, if an employee is required to report to work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on the second reporting, he or she must be paid for two hours at his or her regular rate of pay. In the situation described, since less than two hours of work was provided on the second reporting (i.e., the one hour training session) one hours' pay is due as the reporting time pay penalty. Attending a required meeting is counted as hours worked because during that time you are subject to the control of the employer.

In addition to the one-hour of reporting time pay, you are also entitled to one hour of overtime pay. The time spent at the required training is compensable as hours worked as you were subject to the control of your employer. Since you had already worked eight hours in the workday prior to attending the training, the one-hour spent at the training is the ninth hour worked in the workday and subject to the overtime premium. The following summarizes your total pay due for the day:

8 hours worked at $10.00/hour = $ 80.00
1 hour of reporting time pay (regular rate)* = 10.00
1 hour of overtime at time and one-half = 15.00
$105.00
*Because your employer required you to return to work a second time in the workday and furnished you with less than two hours of work you are entitled to one hour of reporting time pay.

10. Q. What can I do if my employer doesn't pay me my reporting time pay?

A. You can either file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the Labor Commissioner's Office), or you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer to recover the reporting time pay.

11. Q. What is the procedure that is followed after I file a wage claim?

A. After your claim is completed and filed with a local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), it will be assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner who will determine, based upon the circumstances of the claim and information presented, how best to proceed. Initial action taken regarding the claim can be referral to a conference or hearing, or dismissal of the claim.

If the decision is to hold a conference, the parties will be notified by mail of the date, time and place of the conference. The purpose of the conference is to determine the validity of the claim, and to see if the claim can be resolved without a hearing. If the claim is not resolved at the conference, the next step usually is to refer the matter to a hearing or dismiss it for lack of evidence.

At the hearing the parties and witnesses testify under oath, and the proceeding is recorded. After the hearing, an Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) of the Labor Commissioner will be served on the parties.

Either party may appeal the ODA to a civil court of competent jurisdiction. The court will set the matter for trial, with each party having the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. The evidence and testimony presented at the Labor Commissioner's hearing will not be the basis for the court's decision. In the case of an appeal by the employer, DLSE may represent an employee who is financially unable to afford counsel in the court proceeding.

See the Policies and Procedures of Wage Claim Processing pamphlet for more detail on the wage claim procedure.

12. Q. What can I do if I prevail at the hearing and the employer doesn't pay or appeal the Order, Decision, or Award?

A. When the Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) is in the employee's favor and there is no appeal, and the employer does not pay the ODA, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) will have the court enter the ODA as a judgment against the employer. This judgment has the same force and effect as any other money judgment entered by the court. Consequently, you may either try to collect the judgment yourself or you can assign it to DLSE.

13. Q. What can I do if my employer retaliates against me because I told him he owed me reporting time pay?

A. If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you told him he owed you reporting time pay, or because you file a claim or threaten to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner, you can file a discrimination/retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office. In the alternative, you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer.