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What must be included as hours worked when calculating weekly overtime?

Simply  put, any time considered "hours worked" by regulation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (29 C.F.R. Part 785) or equivalent state law must be counted toward the weekly total hours for overtime purposes. Though this is fairly straightforward, employers often wonder if travel time, on-call time and training time are hours that need to be counted toward overtime. Again, if those hours meet the regulatory definition of hours worked, then those hours count toward the 40-hour overtime threshold. The following general principles apply in determining hours worked in those activities.

Travel Time

Whether travel time is hours worked will depend on the type of travel involved.


Training Time

Time in training is considered hours worked unless it is outside regular work hours, is voluntary, no productive work is performed during the training, and the training is not directed toward making the employee more proficient in the individual's present job. 

On-Call Time

On-call time is considered hours worked unless the employee is able to use his or her time freely. See How should we pay on-call, nonexempt employees for the time they are not actually working when on call?

In contrast, paid time off such as holiday, sick and vacation hours do not count toward the 40 hours because this time is not hours worked. See Must employers count holiday leave, vacation and sick leave hours taken during the workweek toward the overtime requirement?

Time not worked, whether or not it is paid time off, does not by law count toward the 40-hour threshold used to calculate overtime pay, but an employer can choose to be more generous if it wishes. For more information about the FLSA overtime rules see the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division's resources on the topic.



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