What time is an employee hourlyentitled to be compensated for?

UPDATED: Dec 29, 2011

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What time is an employee hourlyentitled to be compensated for?

My employer instituted a bag check policy when leaving the job. The legality of that is not disputed. However, with semantics of the workplace, in order for me to go to the area where the bag check will be, and where I will punch out is a 5-10 minute timeframe. My argument is that if the job still expects me to perform a job function over this 5-10 minute period, shouldn’t I be paid for it as I am still at the discretion of my employer? The employer states they can have the timeclock anywhere (which I do not deny) but uses that as reasoning why I should not be paid this time.

Asked on December 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the bag check is simply part of leaving after work, you probably do not need to be paid for it. To analogize, an employer would be free to have its time clock at an location on the other side of the complex from the employee parking lot; the fact that it then takes employes 10 minutes to go from punching out to their car does not require them to be paid. Or to use another, more analogous example: if you had to pass through security (e.g. metal detector and x-ray machine) to get into work and could not punch in until after you passed the security check point, the fact that this could add 5 - 10 minutes to your day does not get you additional pay. Other examples include having to, after punching out, navigate and exit a gated parking lot, where cars could queu up for 5 - 10 minutes before leaving; or punching out on one level, then having to wait for an elevator to take you to the exit level; etc.

If you were doing anything else for the employer while undergoing the bag check--for example, filing out a report or summary; cleaning up the work space; etc.--that would be different. But if the bag check is only part of exiting, you would seem to not have to be paid for it.

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