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Am I Entitled To Overtime Pay For Time Spent in Wellness Activities or Exercise Programs Sponsored By My Employer?

Published September 4, 2018 by Employment and Commerce Law Group

Fitness ProgramThe Department of Labor states “meetings, training programs and similar activities” are compensable time unless all 4 of the following factors are met:

  1. Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours.
  2. Attendance is voluntary. (see below)
  3. The event is not directly related to the employee’s job.
  4. The employee does not perform any work for the employer while attending.

Attendance is not voluntary if it is required by the employer. It is not voluntary  if the employee is led to believe that his job would unfavorably affected if they did not attend.

Consider the following two examples:

Example 1

An employer hosts wellness screenings on behalf of its employees. These screenings take place outside of normal work hours. The employer does not require the screening. The screening is not related to the employee’s job. It is purely the employee’s choice whether to participate.

In this case, the employer would not have to pay the employee for their attendance. The program meets all 4 factors set out by the Department of Labor. Attendance is outside regular working hours and is voluntary. It won’t affect the employees job one way or the other if they do not attend. They are not performing any work for the benefit of the employer during the screenings.

Example 2

An employer requires employees to attend a workout class one hour before they clock in to their jobs. Attendance at these classes will be used when considering promotions and/or pay raises.

In this case, the employer would have to pay the employee for their attendance. Because the employee would suffer negative consequences at their job by not attending; attendance is not voluntary.

Each case is different and will depend on very specific facts to that case

These are two simple examples- however each case is going to be very fact specific. If you feel your employer is not properly paying you for all the time you are required to be “at work”, its important to discuss your case with an experienced overtime lawyer. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for employees who have not received proper pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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