How do employees get paid for work performed on the Sunday of Daylight Savings?


For those of you with businesses in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, you can skip today’s post, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

As for the rest of you, let’s talk about how to pay graveyard shift employees who worked the early hours of Sunday morning when we set the clocks ahead one hour Daylight Savings Time.

Exempt Employees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires covered businesses to pay employees for all hours actually worked. When employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek, they receive overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay. However, the FLSA exempts some employees who receive a certain minimum salary (and satisfy other statutory requirements) from these overtime requirements. The trade-off is that employers must pay these exempt employees the same salary regardless of the number of hours worked in a workweek.

Those employees working the graveyard shift when Daylight Savings Time begins work one hour less because the clocks are set ahead one hour. But regardless of whether an exempt employee worked the graveyard shift when Daylight Savings Time begins, s/he gets paid the same amount of the week.

Non-Exempt Employees.

Daylight Savings Time does not impact no-exempt employees who work, say, a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule — unless, of course, they forget to set their clocks ahead and show up to work an hour late. But with mobile phones and other clocks self-adjusting, I’m not sure how common that is anymore.

Daylight Savings time impacts non-exempt employees working a graveyard shift (e.g., a shift that begins at 11:00 p.m. and ends at 7:30 a.m. the next day). Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor (and common sense) has this situation covered with an example of how this works:

  • On the Sunday that Daylight Savings Time starts at 2:00 a.m., the employee does not work the hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. because at 2:00 a.m., all of the clocks are turned forward to 3:00 a.m. Thus, the employee only worked 7 hours on this day, even though the schedule was for 8 hours.

Assuming the employee actually worked the scheduled shift, in this situation, the employee has worked seven hours instead of the usual eight. (In the Fall, when Daylight Savings Time ends, the employee will work nine hours instead of eight.)

It’s hard to screw this up. In the worst-case scenario, you’ve paid for an extra hour of work, but you haven’t violated the law FLSA. So, it may cost you a bit. But it’s not like you paid over $518K for Tom Brady’s “final” TD pass at auction on the day before he decides to unretire.

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