What is reporting time pay and am I entitled to it?

Sometimes your employer asks you to come to work before your shift is set to begin or asks you to go home early due to lack of work. This can be inconvenient especially if you were given short notice and it can put you in a financial bind if you are not paid.

If you are required to show up to work before your shift starts or are asked to leave early due to lack of work, California law may require your employer to pay you for this time. This is referred to as reporting time pay.

What is reporting time pay?

Reporting time pay is part of a worker’s wages. It applies when employers require their workers to show up to the workplace before their official shift begins, log on to a computer remotely before their official shift begins, asks a worker to leave early due to lack of work or provides two hours or less of notice to show up to work.

Reporting time also applies when a worker is scheduled to work, shows up but is not put to work, is given less than half their usual hours due to lack of work, poor scheduling or lack of notice. Poor workplace employment does not disqualify a worker from reporting time pay.

When reporting time applies, a worker must be compensated for half of their normal scheduled wages, but in no case for less than two hours or more than four hours of their normal wage rate.

Exceptions to reporting time pay

There are a few circumstances where reporting time pay is not required.

One is if the workplace cannot open or continue due to a threat to workers or workplace property.

A second is if the electricity, water, gas or other public utilities are out at the workplace.

A third is if workplace interruptions are outside of the employer’s control, for example, due to a so-called Act of God.

If you choose to leave work on your own volition for personal reasons, you cannot get reporting time pay.

Your rights if you are denied reporting time pay

California law requires employers to provide qualifying employees with reporting time pay as part of their required compensation. If you are denied reporting time pay that you should have received, you have a few options. One option is to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Another option is to sue your employer in court.