Wage and Hour Implications of Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of pushing the clock forward 1 hour during the summer so that daylight in the evening lasts longer. Each year, DST starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.
For example, on March 11, 2018, the clock sprang forward at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. Then, on November 4, 2018, the clock fell back at 2 a.m. to 1 a.m.
DST affects those employees who work the graveyard shift in all states except for Arizona and Hawaii. (Those two states do not participate in DST.)
Effect on the Graveyard Shift
Employees who are on the clock when DST starts end up working 1 hour less because the clock moves forward 1 hour.
For example, the employee’s shift begins at 11:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m., with an hour for lunch. When DST starts in March, the employee does not work between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. because the clock jumps 1 hour ahead at this time (from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.). As a result, the employee works 7 hours instead of 8.
When DST ends in November, the employee, in theory, works from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. twice because at 2 a.m. the clock winds back to 1 a.m. — resulting in the employee working 9 hours instead of 8.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay nonexempt employees for all hours actually worked. Therefore, employees who work the graveyard shift during DST must be paid accordingly. This means that —
Employees who were on the clock when DST ended on November 4, 2018, should have received 1 hour of additional pay, unless their work started and ended times were modified to reflect the time change.
Employees who are on the clock when DST begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019, should be paid 1 hour less, unless their start and end times have been adjusted to reflect the time change.
Employees who are owed an extra hour because of DST must be paid overtime if the additional hour contributes to them working more than 40 hours for the week. You need to take that extra hour into account when determining the employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime pay purposes.
For employees who are short 1 hour because of DST, you could pay them their regular number of hours — for example, 8 hours instead of 7. However, if you opt to pay this extra hour, which essentially wasn’t worked, do not include it in the employee’s regular rate of pay when calculating their overtime rate.
These implications are specific to the FLSA, so be sure to check for any additional obligations required by state law or an employment contract. If you need help calculating hours for DST, contact us today.
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