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FLSA Hours Worked Advisor

Preliminary and Postliminary Activities

Time spent in activities which are preliminary (before your employee begins his or her principal work activities) and postliminary (after your employee ends his or her principal work activities) may or may not be hours worked.

Time your employee spends in the following activities would not be hours worked even though it might be time spent on the your premises or another assigned place of duty.

  • Walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place where the employee performs the principal activities which he or she is employed to perform would not be hours worked. This is the case whether the employee is on or off your premises or before or after he or she has checked in or out.

For example, if your employee travels to a parking area and completes his or her trip to the work site in a company bus, the time spent travelling to the parking area and riding on the bus to the job site is not hours worked.

  • Activities which occur either prior to or after the time your employee ends his or her principal activities on any workday would not be hours worked..

For example, showering at the beginning or end of each workday for the employees own benefit and convenience and not directly related to the employee's 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. The employer would have to consider this 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 to the extent provided for by 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 provision must be considered 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.