California employees who report to work and then are sent home are generally entitled to at least a partial payment for that day. Wage Order 4 states, “Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished with less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay….”
If you regularly have mandatory workplace meetings that fall outside some employees’ regular workday, consider scheduling those meetings for a specific time period. As the following case shows, that could save some money.
Recent case: Daniel Krofta worked at a cellphone store. Once or twice a month, the retailer held a storewide meeting, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning before store opening. The meetings were set out as a two-hour block on each employee’s schedule.
However, sometimes the meetings didn’t last two hours. If Krofta wasn’t scheduled to work that day, he would go home, getting paid for the actual time he was at the meeting. This was always at least an hour, or half the scheduled time.
He sued, alleging he should have been paid at least two hours for showing up, according to Wage Order 4.
The court didn’t agree. It said that because the work was scheduled for two hours, half the scheduled time would be one hour.
If the meeting lasted just one hour, then he was paid for half the scheduled time and nothing more was due. (Aleman, et al., v. Airtouch Cellular, No. B231142, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2011)