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California - Service Employees, at what time are you allowed to clock in?

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  • California - Service Employees, at what time are you allowed to clock in?

    I am a Service Electrician in Ca., my regular start time is 7:30am. My boss, now implemented a new rule and im not sure if its legal. I get to my job at around 7:20am and my employer does not let me punch-in on our time sheet, until they give me all of my service calls for the day, load the service truck, and check the fluids of the truck (truck provided by employer for service). Sometimes i don't leave the shop until its well over 8am, when they finally let me clock in. Also they have changed all of the drive time we do from location to location to min wage. They gave us the reason of " times are tough" is this legal?

  • #2
    I assume you're an hourly non exempt employee - if not, please correct me.

    It would be legal to pay you min. wage for drive time unless you have a binding
    employment contract to the contrary. They can't change your pay rate for time
    already worked at the old rate though. (time you worked before they notified
    you of the change)

    However, it is illegal to not pay you for all time worked. You are working
    before your punch in time & should be paid for this time.
    Last edited by Betty3; 01-20-2011, 04:39 PM.
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    • #3
      Yes i am an hourly paid employee. My start time is 7:30am and the company reprimands employees if they are late. Am i to clock in at 7:30? or wait until the work orders are given to me to start my day? which sometimes takes up to 30 mins.

      Thank you


      • #4
        Several things.
        - You keep using the phrase "clock in". The government says you must be paid based on actual hours worked. The government says nothing about YOU having to clock in. Under the federal FLSA regulations the employER is required to keep time accounting records, and to provide those records to the government when requested. The employer is not required to let you do anything as far as the time accounting is concerned. IF you are not being paid for hours worked, THEN you need to file a wage claim. Please note how the phrase "clock in" was not used in that sentence. You are apparently trying to create a "clock in" rule that does not actually exist. Just keep track of actual hours worked. Do so at home. A paper notebook works just fine. Focus on the rules that actually exist. YOU cannot make the employer do anything.
        - The employer requiring you to report to work at 07:30 but not required start of work until 08:00 as stated is not correct. Under federal rules only, hours worked are hours worked, even if the employer is playing time accounting games. Even if there is not time accounting. Some of the things you mentioned are certainly hours worked under the federal rules. Better yet, you are in CA, who has "time controlled" not an "hours worked" rule. If the employer is ordering you to show up at 07:30 AM, then they are controlling your time. Even if you sit in the corner and do nothing, the employer is "controlling" your time. Meaning in CA, that is hours worked. If we were looking at federal rules only we would have an "engaged to wait" versus "waiting to be engaged" argument (maybe), but CA does not play that game. The CA rules are much more favorable to the employee.

        So keep track of your time and file a wage claim. Past that point, if the employer tells you to show up at 07:30, then show up at 07:30. They can legally fire you for failure to do so even if they are not correctly paying you. These are legally two very different issues.
        Last edited by DAW; 01-20-2011, 05:20 PM.
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