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What activities can a Washington D.C. worker be paid for?

Workers in Washington, D.C., may be familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) This Act lays out federal mandates regarding the minimum wage a worker must be paid and the compensation a worker should receive if he or she works overtime. However, Washington, D.C., residents may be interested in learning more about what types of activities at work are compensable.

For example, wait time at a person's place of employment may be an issue. In general, if a worker is "engaged to wait," this time may be compensable, compared to a worker who is "waiting to be engaged," which may not compensable.

Workers may also wonder whether they may be compensated for their lunch hours and breaks taken. In general, if a break is short (such as a break that lasts less than 20 minutes), the worker may be compensated. However, lunch or other meal breaks that last, for example, a half-hour or more, may not be compensable.

What about employees who are "on-call?" Workers who must be "on-call" at their place of work may be compensated for this time. However, workers who are "on-call" at their place of residence may not be compensated for this time. Similarly, if a worker must remain on duty for less than a day, but is allowed to sleep during a portion of that time, he or she may be compensated for this time. However, this may vary if the worker works is on duty for more than a day.

Many workers in Washington, D.C., must attend training programs and meetings. In some cases, this may be compensated. However, if attendance at one of these functions is voluntary, is unrelated to the individual's work and no other job duties are concurrently being executed, then this time may not be compensated.

A follow-up post to this one will discuss this issue further, specifically with regards to travel time. Since this post cannot provide legal advice, workers in Washington, D.C., who are wondering how the FLSA applies to the facts of their case may want to seek the advice of an attorney to learn more about compensable time under the FLSA.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, "Fact Sheet #22: Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)," Accessed Oct. 26, 2015

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