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- FLSA Hours Worked Advisor

Preliminary and Postliminary Activities

Time spent in activities which are preliminary (before you begin your principal work activities) and postliminary (after you end your principal work activities) may or may not be hours worked.

Time you spend in the following activities would not be hours worked even though it might be time spent on your employer’s premises or another assigned place of duty.

  • Walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place where you perform the principal activities which you are employed to perform would not be hours worked. This is the case whether you are on or off your employer’s premises or before or after you have checked in or out.

For example, if you travel to a parking area and complete the trip to the work site in a company bus, the time spent traveling to the parking area and riding on the bus to the work site is not hours worked.

  • Activities which occur either prior to or after the time that you end your principal activities on any workday would not be hours worked.

For example, showering at the beginning or end of each workday, for your own benefit and convenience and not directly related to your principal activities, would be considered preliminary or postliminary activity and would not be hours worked.

Exceptions Based on Contract, Custom or Practice

There are two exceptions to these principles. Your employer would have to consider such preliminary and postliminary time as hours worked if:

  1. the time is considered hours worked according to an express provision of a written or unwritten contract between the employer and the employee or the employee's representative (e.g., union), or
  2. the time is treated as hours worked according to custom or practice at the place where the work is performed.

The time spent in these preliminary and postliminary activities is hours worked only if provided for by the contract, custom or practice.

For example, if the contract, custom or practice considered the time spent for the trip to the work site as hours worked but not the return trip, the travel time spent on the return trip would not be hours worked.

Only the amount of time allowed by the contract, custom or practice must be counted as hours worked.

For example, if the time allowed for showering at the beginning and end of the workday is 15 minutes but the activity takes 25 minutes, the time to be treated as hours worked would be limited to 15 minutes.