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What are the rules for “reporting time pay” in California?

Any Time an Employee is Required to Show Up to Work Should Be Considered Paid Time

Under California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Orders, employers must pay employees for unworked (but regularly scheduled) time, also known as reporting time. Simply put, any time an employee is required to show up to work should be considered paid time, even if he is not given a sufficient amount of work to cover all hours.

Under the rules of reporting-time pay in California, if an employee is required to report to work, but performs less than half of his or her usual work hours, the employee must be paid for at least half of the scheduled day’s work at his or her normal pay rate. In addition, employees cannot be paid for less than two hours on a day of reporting, regardless of the time worked.

In this article, our California wage and hour lawyers answer the following questions (and more):

What are the rules for “reporting time pay” in California?
 
What is California reporting time pay or show up pay?
 
What is in the California Wage Orders on reporting time pay?
 
What if I have to call into work by telephone to see if I have to work that day? 
 
Am I entitled to be paid if I have to call into work to see if I actually work that day?
 
What if I have to log on to the computer or check by my cell phone to see if I have to work... Am I entitled to reporting time pay? 
 
Are there exceptions to California reporting time laws?
 

What is California reporting time pay or show up pay?

Under California law, if you are required to report for work and you don't actually work, but are no provided at least half of your usual hours, then you are owed reporting time pay. You must be paid the greater of half of your usual scheduled day (up to 4 hours) or 2 hours at your regular rate of pay. 

What is in the California Wage Orders on reporting time pay? (It's all in the California Wage Orders)

Reporting Time Pay.  Section 5 of each of the Orders provides:
 
(A)   Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two (2) hours nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.
 
(B)   If an employee is required to report for work a second time on any one workday and is furnished less than two (2) hours of work on the second reporting, said employee shall be paid for two (2) hours at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.
 
(C)   The foregoing reporting time pay provisions are not applicable when: (1)   Operations cannot commence or continue due to threats to employees or property; or when recommended by civil authorities; or (2)   Public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public           utilities, or sewer system; or (3)   The interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer’s control (D)   This section shall not apply to an employee on paid standby who is called to perform assigned work at a time other than the employee’s scheduled reporting time.

 

Telephonic report:  What if I have to call into work by telephone to see if I have to work that day? 

One of the questions I get asked is, Am I entitled to be paid if I have to call into work to see if I actually work that day?

This is called telephonic reporting. That is, employers will make employees call into work and see if they work a shift that day. If your employer makes you do this and you are not required to work, then you are owed California reporting time pay for having to call into work. Ward v. Tilly's, Inc. (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 1167, 1178. 

Meaning, you are owed two to four's pay, every time that this happens. 

What if I have to log on to the computer or check by my cell phone to see if I have to work... Am I entitled to reporting time pay? 

Yes. As the court in the Tilly's case stated: 

The reporting time pay requirement operates as follows. If an employer directs employees to present themselves for work by physically appearing at the workplace at the shift's start, then the reporting time requirement is triggered by the employee's appearance at the jobsite. But if the employer directs employees to present themselves for work by logging on to a computer remotely, or by appearing at a client's jobsite, or by setting out on a trucking route, then the employee “reports for work” by doing those things. And if, as plaintiff alleges in this case, the employer directs employees to present themselves for work by telephoning the store two hours prior to the start of a shift, then the reporting time requirement is triggered by the telephonic contact.
Ward v. Tilly's, Inc. (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 1167, 1185. (Emphasis added). 

Clients smiling with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
It feels really good when you get your check for unpaid wages owed to you!

Are there exceptions to California reporting time laws?

However, employers are not required to compensate employees for reporting time under the following exceptions:

  • If work operations are interrupted by threats to employees or property.
  • If civil authorities recommend that work be suspended.
  • If public utility services are interrupted, shutting off electricity, water, gas, or sewer service in the workplace.
  • When work is interrupted due to an act of God, such an earthquake or other natural disasters.
  • If the employee has reported but is not fit to work.
  • If the employee reported to work later than his scheduled time and was fired or sent home as a disciplinary action.
  • If the employee is compensated on paid standby status.
  • If the employee’s regularly scheduled shift is less than two hours.

 

 

Not getting paid wages that you are owed is much more common than most people realize (and if you have concerns about not getting reporting time pay, chances are, the company owes you unpaid wages for other things)

I don't need to read all of the recent studies that talk about how companies aren't paying all of the wages that they owed to employees in order to know that it's true. Based upon what I see, is that most folks have no idea how much they are getting ripped off by the company each paycheck. 

My take is that if you suspect or know that your current or former employer hasn't paid you for reporting time pay, then this is probably the the tip of the iceberg , so to speak. Meaning, you are probably owed a lot more in wages (read: money) than you realize.

My suggestion is that you have an unpaid wages analysis done in order for you to find how much money you're owed

It's quick, painless and free and the upside is that you may find out you're owed a lot of money.  

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Turley on the cover of San Diego Attorney Journal magazine.

 

Why is Bill Turley asked to testify on wage legislation before the

California State Senate and California Assembly? 

Reporting time pay laws in California - Bill Turley

Because Bill is known as a No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk. 

 

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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, photographs,  endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Every case is different. 

This article is not legal advice. 

William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”