Employees may have an understanding of their own “work week” for various employment purposes based on different business practices or employer scheduling. However, with respect to calculating hours worked for purposes of determining overtime pay under the FLSA, DOL regulations simply require that an employer designate and use a standard work week for a given employee. This principle was recently reiterated by the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit. Johnson v. Heckmann Water Res. (CVR), 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13501 (5th Cir. July 14, 2014).
In Johnson, plaintiffs alleged that their overtime pay was under-calculated because the employer used a Monday to Sunday work week as opposed to a Thursday to Wednesday work week which they alleged was “their actual, seven consecutive day, Thursday through Wednesday work schedule.” The Circuit court ruled that, because the employer applied the Monday-to-Sunday work week consistently, this calculation of hours worked conformed to the FLSA’s requirements as interpreted in DOL regulation (29 C.F.R. § 778.105), a 2009 DOL opinion letter and the Eighth Circuit’s prior decision in Abshire v. Redland Energy Services, L.L.C., 695 F.3d 792 (8th Cir. 2012) involving “nearly identical facts.”
Consistent application of compliant calculation methods is one key to FLSA compliance, both in terms of computing hours worked and resulting overtime pay due.