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Hourly EEs with Laptops Washington

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  • Hourly EEs with Laptops Washington

    As a business continuity measure, my employer is requiring most of the staff to use laptop computers. We are financially responsible for these machines and are required to take them home with us each night. We are also required to maintain high speed internet access for the rare occasion that we are allowed to work from home (the snow this past December for example).

    This is also means that each morning we need to unpack the computer, dock it, sign in, wait for it to boot up, sign into the network, then finally punch in. This is a minimun of 6 minutes (up to 10 for those with older machines). Again in the evening, it's punch out, wait for the computer to shut down completely, remove it from the dock and pack it back up. This is another 3-5 minutes. Technically we are supposed to take the computers staight home though I'm pretty sure most people will run errands along they way, regardless.

    My question is, as an hourly employee, am I eligible, under Washington and/or Federal labor law for compensation for any of that time? Does my work day start when I first dock the computer or when I am logged in completely and can punch in? When does it end? I know 9-15 minutes a day seems trivial but at the end of the week, it's 45-75 minutes and at the end of the year 39-65 hours of unpaid time.

  • #2
    You can make a good argument that you need to be paid for any time that you actually working. Or any time that the employer is actually controlling your use of time. If I was at home and I had to plug in the lap top and let it boot up, but otherwise could watch TV or walk the dog while this was playing out, I have no real argument that the boot up time is work time. If I am physically at work, I have a better argument, although not a fool proof one. If I turn on my computer but go to the break room to BS with my co-workers for 1/2 hour, this is arguably not time worked.

    So your answer is a "maybe", depending on details. Work time is always time worked. Time not actually worked is only work time on occasion.

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Thank you for the information. I've only been allowed to work from home about 5 days in the 13 months since I was assigned the laptop. Other than that, this senario applied to being at the office and I do stay at my desk thru the entire startup process as I am generally unlocking cabinets and pulling out the documents I need to work with during the day.

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