The Federal Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) Wage and Hour Division is paying close attention to the healthcare industry for violations. Below are areas where infractions can frequently occur.
- Automatic Meal Deductions. Many hospitals or doctor's offices will automatically deduct a meal period from the employee's paycheck. Employers who utilize this should make absolutely sure that the entire meal break is taken without interruption and closely review payroll hours to ensure they are accurate. We strongly recommend having employees clock in and out instead for more accurate timekeeping.
- Compensable Time. Ensure that healthcare workers are paid fully. These areas are commonly overlooked:
- Donning and Doffing. The Supreme Court ruled that time spent at work putting on and taking off necessary uniforms or gear, or "donning and doffing," is compensable as hours worked.
- Travel Time. Travel between locations is compensable. Likewise, if there is common ownership of those places, the time worked at each location must be aggregated for overtime purposes.
- On-Call. If the employee must be on-call at the worksite, or so close it does not allow the time to be used to the employee's own purposes, then these are compensable working hours.
- Misclassifying Workers. Certain ranks of nurses are often misclassified as exempt when they should be nonexempt. Consult with Nextep's HR Department to develop detailed job descriptions and determine the correct exempt or nonexempt status. It is also important not to designate a worker as an independent contractor unless he or she fully fits into the criteria.
While employers in the healthcare industry are particularly vulnerable to these issues within the FLSA, it does not necessarily mean that other employers should not be concerned. All employers should be familiar with these provisions and contact Nextep's HR Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-811-5150 with specific questions.