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FLSA violations? Daycare center

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  • FLSA violations? Daycare center

    I apologize if this has been covered, but I am new to this forum and have never encountered these issues before...

    I work in a small, privately owned daycare center. It has come to my attention that the owner is violating FLSA/MD labor laws in the following ways:

    1. Some employees are required to take an hour lunch break, but must remain with the children in their care during that time;

    2. The employees that close the center are required to punch out at the time the center "officially" closes, even if children are still present and there is work to be done (they must clock out at 6:00 pm even if a child is still there until 7pm);

    3. The time clock does not work in the employees' favor some of the time (it's rounded to 15 minute intervals). Say I work from 9-5, if I punch in anywhere from 8:46 to 8:59, the clock rounds up to 9:00. If I punch out from 4:46 to 4:59, the clock rounds down to 4:45. Yet I'm expected to be there early & be prepared and if I'm late supposedly three times, according to my employee manual I can be terminated.

    I guess my question is, am I correct in these violations? Also, I know I can't be terminated for bringing this to my employer's attention or perhaps ultimately filing a claim, but I'm afraid she will start to review the camera footage (each room in the daycare is being recorded) and somehow look for ways to terminate me (for example, if I have a stern look on my face as I'm guiding a child to another part of the room could loosely be interpreted as bullying=abuse). I recently had a good employee evaluation, even though I've been with the company for less than 6 months, but I'm still a bit paranoid about what "retaliation" there may be to me for standing up.

    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    I am not a MD labor law expert, so I am going to address federal law (FLSA) only.

    1. Under FLSA, restricting the employee to the work place during lunch is not necessarily hours worked. Doing actual work during lunch is hours worked. "Sufficiently restricting" an employees actions during lunch can be hours worked.

    2. Punch in/out issues are mostly nothing legally. Not paying hours worked Is something legally.

    3. The rounding rules are 29 CFR 785.48. Rounding goes the nearest quarter hour. 6:52 rounds to 6:45 and 6:53 rounds to 7:00.

    The only FLSA "violation" of consequence is failing to pay for hours worked.
    Last edited by DAW; 03-07-2015, 04:53 PM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      That's what I meant...the employees that punch out for lunch are required to remain in their classrooms to maintain ratios and still care for the kids, even though they are "officially" on their lunch break. So they are required to work, even when on a break (no one is allowed to leave the building during lunch breaks, but I understand that's allowable). And the center closes at 6 and requires employees to punch out at 6, even though there is still work to be done or children to be cared for in the building.

      That was my main question, does it sound like there is a failure to pay for hours worked??? When I bring this to the owner's attention and see if it's remedied and if it isn't, the next step would be filing a claim?

      Something about the rounding of the time clock that seems weird is, if I punch out for lunch at 1:10, the clock will round me back to 1:00. But if I punch back in at say 1:52, it rounds me back up to 2:00. Yet it never rounds in the employee's favor during clocking in for the day or out for the night.

      I'm redundant, but I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row...thanks.
      Last edited by working for the man; 03-08-2015, 07:56 AM. Reason: corrected added

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      • #4
        Maryland doesn't have any different rules which would apply here. You must be paid for each hour actually working. Being on site isn't the same. If you are actually caring for kids during the hour you take lunch, you must be paid for that hour. If you just have to be on-site but are free of duties (emergencies aside), you do not. If you get called to duty during that hour for any reason, the time spent working must be paid. Same for the end of the day. If you are told you must stay with little Susie until 7 and care for her, you get paid until 7, no matter what the time clock shows.

        If that is not what is happening, you can file a claim for free here http://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/wages/
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          I should add that there are some slight differences if any of these employees are actual teachers. The title "Teacher" isn't important and I know day care centers frequently use that title to refer to any adult in charge of the room. If the person really is teaching (creating lessons, providing instruction, etc.), then those folks might fall under different guidelines. Your typical day care worker would not qualify but it wasn't clear if some fell in this category or not. Some day cares are more preschool or tutoring center (for older kids) than day care.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Agreed. Also if the day care center is governmental in nature, there is a second set of possible exceptions in play involving comp time.

            The key thing is the issue is not the time clock, it is failure to pay for either hours actually worked or hours that have been legally "sufficiently restricted" to the point that they legally become hours worked.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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