Daylight Savings Time and the FLSA: Replayed

Daylight savings time may mean an extra hour worked for some employees.
Daylight savings time may mean an extra hour worked for some employees.

We have returned to Standard Time in most of the United States. For many that means that they get that extra hour of sleep. For some, it means they should get an extra hour of pay. I wrote this post last year at this time, but it is still relevant. If you had employees working when the clocks were set back then you need to pay attention to this post.
Ah… that treasured extra hour of sleep arrives this Sunday morning at 2 a.m. when suddenly the clock switches to 1 a.m. Well at least it does on computers and smartphones, but most of us have to go through the exercise of changing the multitude clocks in our houses. Many of us will actually be snug in our beds when that event arrives. Hopefully, you will have made the changes before going to bed in order to avoid the alarm going off and robbing you of your “Fall back” extra hour of sleep. But what about that worker who is working the late shift? How are they affected?

The “midnight” shift

Many organizations, from manufacturing firms to call centers, retail shops to hospitality establishments have employees working at that time the hour disappears. What happens to them? If you are working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift your workday suddenly gets an extra hour tacked on to it when the clock chimes 2 a.m. Is your employer required to pay you for that time or just for the stated time of your shift?

Actual work time

If you are a worker in this situation you will be happy to know that your employer is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act to pay you for the amount of time you actually worked. Thus, this coming Sunday morning your shift will be nine (9) hours long rather than 8 hours, even though you still finish work at 7 a.m. Does this mean you will get paid overtime?


The Federal law defines overtime as any hours worked more than 40 hours worked in a week. Your extra hour at the beginning of the week may not necessarily throw you in to overtime depending on the rest of your work week. In some jurisdictions, like California, overtime has to be paid for any time worked that exceeds eight hours in a day. So in California you get some OT for that extra hour. In others states you will only get that overtime if you end up working more than 40 hours as a result of the extra hour.

What companies should do

If you are a company with this type of shift operation you need to make sure that the hour worked is recorded and the employees are paid accordingly. Paying based on the hours stated instead of the hours actually worked will get you a compliant and possibly a visit by the USDOL Wage & Hour Division and that is never a happy occasion.

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