Call Back Minimum, Hours Worked and the FLSA

Question of the Day

Our employment contract states “any employee that is called back to duty shall be compensated for a minimum of four (4) hours”.  There are times when firefighters are called back to work for only an hour or two.  The firefighter still receives four hours of pay even if they work less than four hours.  When counting hours worked for FLSA overtime purposes should these hours be included?  

The FLSA requires all hours worked be paid.  Additionally, the FLSA requires all hours worked count towards maximum hours for overtime purposes.  However, hours that are paid but not worked do not have to be counted for FLSA overtime purposes.  Collective bargaining agreements or state laws may require counting these hours but nothing in the FLSA requires it.

Provisions similar to these are common in many employment contracts.  For example, if a firefighter is called back to work on his or her normally scheduled day off they may be guaranteed (through an employment contract) four hours of pay whether they work four hours or not.  If the firefighter is sent home after only one hour of work they will still receive four hours of pay.

Only hours actually worked in the work period need to be included when calculating hours worked for FLSA overtime purposes.


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