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Is It a "Split Shift", or is it "On Duty" time?

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  • Is It a "Split Shift", or is it "On Duty" time?

    I am a bus driver in California, and I work a shift that my employer calls a "Split Shift", and they do not pay me for my time off (6 hours) in between my 2 daily shifts. My hourly wage is well over the minimum wage, so California's 1-hour of split-shift pay is not an issue. The issue is that all 6 hours of my "Off Time" in between my two 4-hour shifts is spent at an alternate work location, and I am not allowed to take my bus anywhere to go get lunch or to go home in it. I am required to park the bus in a designated parking lot, and I am provided transportation to a driver break-room 1 mile away, to spend my 6-hour unpaid break. I have not been told explicitly that I cannot leave the location, which is 35 miles from my workplace (and my car), but to leave would be very inconveninet. I would have to take a cab, or walk about a mile to the nearest food for sale. I am also not completely relieved of all work duties while I am on my 6-hour break in the out of town place. The dispatch office often calls my cell phone with questions, requests to go and move a bus, inspect a bus, etc. My co-workers and I all feel that this is not really a "split shift" if we do not return to our report-to-work location, and that we should be paid all the way through the shift since we are pretty much stranded at an alternate workplace for the 6-hour period. Is it a "split shift", or is it a "single shift" that we should be paid for every hour?

  • #2
    Is your employer governmental or private sector in nature? I am not actually sure if this is important since some of the cited CA cases are governmental in nature, but it is best to be sure.

    Past that, you have an argument. The problem however is that not only does everyone have an argument, but the on call rules have been around since the 1940s. Pretty much every argument that anyone can make was already been both made, and decided. Mostly a long time ago. I do not know what the answer to this particular issue is, but I strongly suspect that CA-DLSE does.

    Chapter 47 in the CA-DLSE manual discusses on call but not at the level of detail to specifically address your question. Basically someone would need to research prior court and administrative decisions with "factors (as defined by the County of Sonoma case) similar to your situation.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Manual-Instructions.htm

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    Also, just me, but I think that you would be hard pressed to argue that the entire 6 hours between shifts fails the test defined by the County of Sonoma case. Historically "on call" is called pretty tight (meaning pro-employer).

    I think that you have a good argument that the time spent moving between the two work locations is maybe time worked, under both FLSA and CLC rules. Of course, again this has likely been decided already. You might want to read both the CA travel rules, plus the federal FLSA travel rules (29 CFR 785.33 - 785.41).
    https://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/T...9CFR785.33.htm
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      My employer is a privat sector employer, not government. Thank you for the info.

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