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Scheduled Time Labor Laws

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  • Scheduled Time Labor Laws

    I am an assistant manager for a fast-food chain in Pennsylvania. We recently have had a number of threats by our employees about calling the labor board because we tell them that we need to send people home when the business is slow.

    My question is, is it legal to send an hourly employee home before the end of their scheduled shift if the business just isn't there? When they are hired, they are not *guaranteed* a certain number of hours a week or hours per day. They may "usually" get 40 hours but I don't believe we are held to that just because that is what is scheduled.

    We can't plan for the slow days, but we have to protect our labor percent and our business overall.

  • #2
    Yes you can unless you have a binding employment contract to the contrary
    which it seems you don't. You would not be doing anything illegal.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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    • #3
      I worked in FF for a number of years in a number of businesses. I know it is NOT illegal, or else it wouldn't be STANDARD procedure for any FF business.

      As a matter of fact, even when I was working at a veneer plant, they would send us home if we ran out of wood to slice!

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      • #4
        Well, just because it's "standard practice" doesn't automatically mean it's legal; I've seen many standard industry practices that are illegal.

        In this case, however, in Pennsylvania, it's perfectly legal and Pennsylvania does not have a law requiring any minimum reporting time pay.

        So, OP, let them file. The claims will go nowhere.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          It is, in fact, legal in all 50 states to send an employee home if there is no work for them, barring a bona fide, legally enforceable contract or CBA that expressly says otherwise.

          In a few states, mine included, you *may* need to pay them for between 2-4 hours (depending on the state, and at what point you send them home) but that does not affect the legality of sending them home in the first place; also, Pennsylvania is NOT one of those states.

          So tell them to call the DLI to their hearts content. It won't get them anywhere, and perhaps having the DLI tell them it's legal for you to do so may make more of an impact.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            To borrow a phrase from cbg, tell them the company always wants to comply with the law but you are unaware of the law they are referring to.

            Ask them to point you to chapter and verse in the PA or Federal law which forbids sending people home early. Then say until they can provide that information the policy stands.

            I have used this phrase several times and it works well. You are not getting into an argument with the employee, just asking for the proof so you can properly inplement the law.

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