Day laborers may or may not be eligible to be paid for time they wait before and after doing a job.
The convention used to find out whether a day laborer is eligible to be paid for time spent waiting centers on if a day laborer was mandated to be at either at a pick-up location or the worksite during the time under consideration. If workers are not allowed to leave the location or use the time for their own purposes, then they ought to be paid. Normally, this means a day laborer should be paid from the moment that a job is assigned.
Ahead of an assignment, laborers are generally free to do whatever they want, and therefore are not likely to be considered employed. To put it another way, day laborers do not get paid for the time between their arrival at the pick-up location, and the time the work is assigned. If a day laborer must report at a set time and wait each day for the same job over the course of many days, they ought to be compensated for that waiting time, even if they have to wait for the actual work to start.
An employer does not have to cover the cost of time spent before or after work activities at the worksite that are exclusively for the worker’s own convenience and are not essential to the work. The primary consideration is whether the waiting was mainly for the worker’s benefit or for the employer’s benefit.
Some employers that provide transportation deduct transportation costs from their day laborers’ pay and under federal guidelines, an employer may make legally authorized deductions. However, deductions generally cannot bring pay to below the federal minimum wage, and state laws may offer laborers even greater protection against deductions.
An employer can make deductions if the day laborer voluntarily received the transportation, it was supplied at a reasonable cost, it wasn’t prohibited by a union contract and other employers in the same industry in comparable geographic locations normally offer transportation.
Moreover, transportation must not be provided mainly for the benefit or convenience of the company. For instance, if a worker offers to get to the site with their own transportation arrangements, but the employer does not permit this to ensure that all workers arrive at the same time, then the transportation is for the employer’s benefit and cannot be deducted from wages.
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