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California employers may cheer if daylight saving time ends

One of the ballot measures California residents voted on when they visited the polls on Nov. 6 determines whether or not the Golden State will continue to observe daylight saving time. Employers dislike daylight saving time because it causes hours to appear and then disappear as clocks are moved forward and then back. This can create a bookkeeping headache for employers and lead them to run afoul of federal and state wage and hour laws.

Workers who are on duty when the nation's clocks move forward will work one hour less than their timecards indicate, and those who are at their posts when daylight saving time ends will appear to have worked one hour longer than they really did. Laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act require companies to pay their nonexempt workers only for the time that they actually put in, which means that either shifts or wages must be adjusted when the clocks change.

The phantom hours situation becomes even more complex for employers when workweeks stretch beyond 40 hours and overtime pay rates factor into the equation. While the FLSA does not require employers to count unworked hours when calculating overtime pay, it does prohibit them from crediting unworked hours of pay toward any overtime due. This means that employers must keep meticulous records of how many hours were worked when daylight saving time began and whether or not their employees were compensated for these unworked hours.

Attorneys with employment law experience may advise workers who feel that they have been underpaid or misclassified to keep all of their paystubs and timecards as well as copies of their employment agreements. This is because wage and hour disputes are generally decided based on this kind of evidence. Attorneys may also encourage employers to settle these disputes discretely and quickly to avoid further scrutiny from federal or state regulators.

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