Controlled on Duty Time
For some jobs, there can be quite a bit of downtime. Although a restaurant is typically busy during the lunch and dinner rushes, for example, wait staff can find themselves with little to do between those time periods. This time is known as controlled on duty time. Employees are still entitled to compensation for controlled on duty time despite the lack of tasks or assignments that they may have. At Phillips & Associates, our wage and hour attorneys have advised numerous New York City employees whose employers failed to pay them for their controlled on duty time.Understanding Controlled on Duty Time and Your Right to Payment
Controlled on duty time refers to the time that an employee may spend under the control of the employer that is not necessarily spent working on job-related tasks. In some instances, this time is referred to as compensable waiting time, or on-call time. Workers are particularly likely to have periods of this time throughout their work days in certain sectors, such as the restaurant and hotel industries. Some employers attempt to take advantage of controlled on duty time periods by claiming that the employee is not entitled to compensation because the employee was not performing any work. This is simply not true.
The State of New York has enacted a number of minimum wage orders that are designed to protect employees’ rights. According to the Minimum Wage Order for the Hotel Industry, for example, employees are entitled to compensation for working time, waiting time, and travel time. Working time consists of time spent performing actual services, or time spent traveling at the employer’s request from one work location to another. Waiting time consists of the time during which an employee is required or allowed to wait while no work is provided. An employee must be paid according to minimum wage requirements for this time and must be provided allowances for meal periods and rest breaks. Finally, travel time consists of the time that an employee must spend traveling from one of the employer’s establishments to another after the employee has arrived at work and the workday has begun. Time spent traveling must also be paid according to minimum wage requirements.
It is easy to confuse controlled on duty time with meal periods and rest breaks. Meal periods and rest breaks are not controlled on duty time. Instead, they are the time that an employee is provided in order to rest and eat. An employer typically does not have control of an employee during his or her rest breaks and meal periods, and it will likely be required to pay the employee overtime wages if the employee works through his or her meal periods and rest breaks.Explore Your Options With an Employment Law Attorney in New York City
If you have reason to believe that your employer is not providing you with appropriate compensation for your controlled on duty time, we can help. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City lawyers are skilled in wage and hour as well as overtime claims. We can provide capable legal guidance to people throughout the five boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, who are trying to hold an employer accountable for infringing their rights. Our team can guide you through every step of the process and help you investigate a potential lawsuit. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at (833) 529-3476 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.