At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2011, people all across the United States turn their clocks back one hour to end Daylight Saving Time (DST). Daylight Saving Time is intended to place more sunlight into “daytime” hours in order to seemingly stretch the day longer and conserve energy. In fact, 2011 marks the fifth year DST was expanded by four weeks pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
For many, the change simply means an extra hour of sleep — but for employers, the time change has unique and important implications. While most organizations have developed protocols for dealing with the technological requirements of the time shift, such as adjusting the time in their computer systems, voice-mail, and time clocks, many employers may not be prepared for the other impacts of the time change caused by the end of DST.
An employee that is not “exempt” from the overtime requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and subject to the New York Wage Payment Law (Article 6 of the New York Labor Law) must be paid for all time worked. Generally, time worked is defined as time that an employee is “suffered or permitted to work” (See e.g. Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203 (g); 29 C.F.R.§ 785). “Non-exempt” employees working the midnight, third, or graveyard shift on Sunday, November 6, 2011 will actually work the hour from 2:00 a.m. To 3:00 a.m. twice. Unless the employee’s shift is correspondingly shortened by one hour, a midnight shift employee must be paid for the extra hour worked on Sunday morning. “FALLING BACK,” may result in an obligation to pay overtime if the additional hour causes the employee to exceed 40 hours in that workweek. Conversely, a non-exempt employee that work this shift in March at the start of DST works one less hour, and the employer is not obligated to pay a non-exempt employee for the hour that we “SPRING FORWARD.” Unionized employers should consult the collective bargaining agreement to determine if the parties bargained a different arrangement.
If you have questions about how this may impact your business, please contact Sean P. Beiter (716.566.5409; firstname.lastname@example.org), Rick Braden (716.566.5436; email@example.com); Matthew C. Van Vessem (716.566.5476; firstname.lastname@example.org), or another member of the Goldberg Segalla Labor and Employment Practice Group.