DST This Weekend: Make Sure You Pay Overnight Workers Properly

Something to keep in mind: when the clocks “fall back” this weekend, there may be wage and hour implications for organizations with workers whose shifts extend across the time change.

For instance, if you have hourly workers who are on the job before 2:00am and whose shift doesn’t end until after 2:00am, those folks will end up working an extra hour on Sunday morning — because they’ll work the hour between 1:00am and 2:00am, then when the clocks “fall back” an hour, they’ll work that hour all over again.

So how can this impact their pay?

Let’s say their shift started at 11:00pm and ends at 7:00am. On paper, they will have worked eight hours — the difference between 11:00pm and 7:00am. But in reality they will have been at work for nine hours, because the hour from 1:00am until 2:00am happened twice, thanks to the clocks changing. And the law says you have to pay hourly workers for the time they actually work — which in this case would be nine hours.

Beyond that, if that extra hour means they end up working more than 40 hours in a week, federal law says you have to pay overtime-eligible employees time-and-a-half overtime. (In some states, you must pay overtime for any hours over eight worked in any one work day.)

Now, it isn’t as though you gain or lose employee work time over the long haul. In the spring, the opposite situation holds true: on paper, employees may have worked an eight hour shift, but they will have only actually been on the job seven physical hours. However, the law doesn’t allow you to use the spring “shortfall” to offset the autumn “overage.” You have to pay your hourly workers each pay period for the hours they work. So in the spring you would pay them for seven hours (even if “on paper” they worked eight), and in the fall you must pay them for nine hours, and potentially for overtime (even if “on paper” they only worked eight).

Of course, for overtime-eligible salaried employees their base salary will stay the same no matter how many hours they work, but if they also work across the time change, you may be required to pay them overtime, as well.

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