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ersham
12-11-2007, 04:40 PM
Starting jan 08 the company i work for is trying to make mandatory Monday breakfast meetings for 1 hr
and pay all who attend minimum wage as a training rate.
is this legal
this company is a contractor and this would be safety and company info.
most employees are paid an hourly wage 4 times the current minimum wage.

meeting was voluntary at 630 am at local restraint. company paid for breakfast.end at 8am
now meeting would start at 7am and end at 8am...still with breakfast. paid by company.

DAW
12-11-2007, 06:11 PM
Probably legal absent contracts or CBA to the contrary.

ersham
12-12-2007, 05:56 PM
Probably legal absent contractors or CBA to the contrary.
what about this from the dlse
pg 164

45.2.6 Meal Time Training Or Client Meetings. If an employee is required by the employer to
attend a luncheon, dinner or other work related meal, or training accompanied by a meal, the
employer must pay for the cost of the meal and the employee must be paid at the employees
regular rate of pay. As the time is work time, it must be counted as hours worked for overtime
purposes. In addition, covered employees continue to be entitled to a duty free 30 minute meal
period in accordance with the terms of the applicable Wage Order.

DAW
12-12-2007, 06:57 PM
Very good. I had not seen that one before. What your employer is doing is legal under federal rules, but apparently not under California rules.

The second 30 minute rule is just part of the standard California "working through lunch" rule, although I would argue that this would not apply to a breakfast meeting at the beginning of the shift.

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_MealPeriods.htm

Psycorps
12-12-2007, 07:13 PM
So presumably if there was no meal involved it would be ok?

I guess Im interested in hearing more about the idea that the employer can designate different payrates as they choose.

DAW
12-12-2007, 09:09 PM
It is not the meal per se by itself that is important. If you look at the actual meal rules, the rules state that after xx hours, a mandatory 1/2 hour lunch break must be taken. CA does not actually care if the employee eats, just that the time with no work be taken. ersham's original question involved starting early in the day. There is nothing in California's meal rules that says by starting early, even if food was served, that a 1/2 penalty for the employer not providing a meal break that was not actually required under CA law is indicated. The rules are all spelled out on the webpage I referenced.

-------

If we are talking about federal rules only, or probably any state other then CA, then yes the employer can generally (as long as the notification occurs prior to the work being done) designate different rates for different types of work. The notion of paying training or travel time at minimum wage is a fairly common practice nationally.

I have not had a chance to hard research the CA-DLSE cite provided. It sounds like something CA-DLSE would say, but until and unless I research it (which will not happen this week), I have no real opinion on that rule. I will include a webpointer to that source in case you feel like doing your own research.

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Manual-Instructions.htm

ersham
12-18-2007, 07:56 PM
Is the dlse opinion good then and is it wrong to pay us this wage?
and is their any other info on reduced pay rate for training?
this training is osha mandatory.

BSPCPA
12-26-2007, 10:27 AM
ersham: Starting in Jan 08 the company I work for is trying to make mandatory Monday breakfast meetings for 1 hr and pay all who attend minimum wage as a training rate. Is this legal? This company is a contractor and the meeting would be to discuss safety and company info

It has long been recognized in both federal and state law that employers can pay the same employee different, hourly rates of pay for different job duties. Absolutely nothing illegal about it. I am aware of numerous cases where this has been liberally interpreted in favor of the employer (e.g., a police officer could legally be paid a lower, hourly, rate-of-pay for feeding, grooming, and caring for his police dog at the kennel than the hourly rate he was paid for patroling the the city street with the police dog by his side). Without knowing your exact job duties, I would conjecture that sitting down and eating breaksfast in a climate controlled room at a one-hour, mandatory, morning meeting is inherently different than the job duties you perform at the construction site (e.g., working outside in the heat and/or rain, climbing ladders, hammering, sawing, pipe fitting, or whatever you do to get your hands dirty).

In any event, a recent Court of Appeal decision found that an employer can pay the very same employee two differents rates of pay even if the job duties are not inherently different (e.g., a bus driver could be paid differet rates of pay for driving different routes). You can access the case here: http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200612131.pdf.

Bottom Line: With very limited exceptions, your employer can establish your rate-of-pay at whatever it wants.

ersham
01-11-2008, 05:53 PM
ersham: Starting in Jan 08 the company I work for is trying to make mandatory Monday breakfast meetings for 1 hr and pay all who attend minimum wage as a training rate. Is this legal? This company is a contractor and the meeting would be to discuss safety and company info

It has long been recognized in both federal and state law that employers can pay the same employee different, hourly rates of pay for different job duties. Absolutely nothing illegal about it. I am aware of numerous cases where this has been liberally interpreted in favor of the employer (e.g., a police officer could legally be paid a lower, hourly, rate-of-pay for feeding, grooming, and caring for his police dog at the kennel than the hourly rate he was paid for patroling the the city street with the police dog by his side). Without knowing your exact job duties, I would conjecture that sitting down and eating breaksfast in a climate controlled room at a one-hour, mandatory, morning meeting is inherently different than the job duties you perform at the construction site (e.g., working outside in the heat and/or rain, climbing ladders, hammering, sawing, pipe fitting, or whatever you do to get your hands dirty).

In any event, a recent Court of Appeal decision found that an employer can pay the very same employee two differents rates of pay even if the job duties are not inherently different (e.g., a bus driver could be paid differet rates of pay for driving different routes). You can access the case here: http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200612131.pdf.

Bottom Line: With very limited exceptions, your employer can establish your rate-of-pay at whatever it wants.

if we are doing their mandatory osha safety training and time sheets from previous week this would all be work we were hired for !!!!!!

Pattymd
01-11-2008, 11:11 PM
if we are doing their mandatory osha safety training and time sheets from previous week this would all be work we were hired for !!!!!!

I don't understand what this post is trying to ask or accomplish.

DAW
01-12-2008, 07:12 AM
I don't understand what this post is trying to ask or accomplish.

I do. I took a very quick look at the CA-DLSE enforcement manual quote given earlier. While the quote is coming from the current version of the manual (March 2006), the opinion letter referenced in the quote (# 2001.03.19) was withdrawn in July 2007, which is not a very good sign. This implies that CA-DLSE no longer stands behind any statements based on that opinion letter.

At the end of the day, the OP is going to need to talk directly to CA-DLSE on this issue.

Pattymd
01-12-2008, 02:20 PM
I do.


You're a better man than I, Charlie Brown. ;)

DAW
01-12-2008, 03:58 PM
You're a better man than I, Charlie Brown. ;)

Possibly because you are not a man?

Pattymd
01-12-2008, 04:20 PM
Possibly because you are not a man?

That's one reason. ;)

BSPCPA
01-12-2008, 07:57 PM
ersham: what about this from the dlse p.164: 45.2.6 Meal Time Training Or Client Meetings. If an employee is required by the employer to attend a luncheon, dinner or other work related meal, or training accompanied by a meal, the employer must pay for the cost of the meal and the employee must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. As the time is work time, it must be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes. In addition, covered employees continue to be entitled to a duty free 30 minute meal period in accordance with the terms of the applicable Wage Order.

DAW: I took a very quick look at the CA-DLSE enforcement manual quote given earlier. While the quote is coming from the current version of the manual (March 2006), the opinion letter referenced in the quote (2001.03.19) was withdrawn in July 2007, which is not a very good sign. This implies that CA-DLSE no longer stands behind any statements based on that opinion letter. At the end of the day, the OP is going to need to talk directly to CA-DLSE on this issue.

Just a few comments to make matters clear:

1. Ersham quoted the DLSE manual (as in full force and effect today) correctly - word for word.

2. Neither the DLSE manual not Ersham's quote contain any reference to OL 2001.03.19.

3. In any event, OL 2001.03.19, which the DLSE withdrew on March 20, 2007 (not July 2007) was written to answer the following legal questions: Are employers obligated to reimburse employees the cost of their meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) when they travel on company-related business? If so, can employers set a cap on the amount they will reimburse?

4. Suffice to say, OL 2001.03.19 has nothing to do with the question the poster has asked, which is: Assuming I make upwards of 4 times the minimum wage for the contracting work I do for my employer, can my employer legally pay me a lower, hourly, rate-of-pay ($8 an hour) to attend a mandatory, early-morning, breakfast meeting?

5. As I posted above, this is generally going to be allowed. Employers are free to set the amount they are willing to pay for labor at any amount they wish (subject to minumum wage and overtime premium pay mandates, of course). An employee, on the other hand, can accept the amount his/her employer is willing to pay or quit. It really is as simple as that.

DAW
01-12-2008, 09:13 PM
I am using the March 2006 version of the manual which apparently is no longer current. If I am reading the notes on the CA-DLSE website correctly, the current version is apparently May 2007. I will have to find out for sure when I download the current version. The version I have does reference the opinion letter (which is were I got the reference from).


4. Suffice to say, OL 2001.03.19 has nothing to do with the question the poster has asked, which is: Assuming I make upwards of 4 times the minimum wage for the contracting work I do for my employer, can my employer legally pay me a lower, hourly, rate-of-pay ($8 an hour) to attend a mandatory, early-morning, breakfast meeting?


Since the opinion letter has been withdrawn this is sort of moot point now, but CA-DLSE did (at least in March 2006) very specifically referenced this opinion letter in this section of their manual.

45.2.6 Lunch Time Training Or Client Meetings. DLSE has opined on the question of what liability an employer assumes when non-exempt employees are required to attend a lunch as part of their duties. (O.L. 2001.03.19). The question involved the situation where the employer was paying for the food consumed at the luncheon. DLSE concluded that the required lunch was to be treated as an on-duty meal period which must be paid at the employees regular rate of pay and counts toward determining the overtime liability of the employer. In addition, since this is an on-duty meal period which obviously does not meet the requirements of a waiver, the employee would be entitled to the premium provided of one- hour at the regular rate of pay.

BSPCPA
01-12-2008, 11:00 PM
DAW: The CA-DLSE did (at least in March 2006) make a very specifically reference to OL 2001.03.19 in this section of their manual.

Ersham, while OL 2001.03.19 may have been cited in prior editions of the DLSE manual, I do want to stress that it has absolutely nothing to do with your stated issue of concern -- being compensated at only $8/hour for attending company-mandated, early-morning, breakfast meetings. Just so you don't think there has been some change in law or DLSE enforcement position regarding this matter, you can access OL 2001.03.19 for yourself here: http://web.archive.org/web/20060926170837/www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/opinions/2001-03-19.pdf

Note: There is a blurb at the end of OL 2001.03.19 stating that employers must reimburse employees for the cost of meals consumed at company-mandated, work-related meetings if food and beverage is consumed. However, I don't think this is an issue of concern in your case, as you stated "the company meetings start at 7am and end at 8am...with breakfast paid by company."

Bottom Line: What your company is doing seems legal to me, and I am going to end off here.

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