Q. Our employee Fred arrived at work for his scheduled shift at 8:00 a.m. today. We asked him to wait in the break room because we weren´t sure we would need him. After fifteen minutes, I told Fred he could go home for the day because we were overstaffed and didn´t have enough work to keep him busy. Fred became irate and is now insisting we owe him for at least four hours of work. We don´t think we should have to pay him, since we didn´t require his services today. Who´s right? Is there a minimum amount we have to pay an employee just for showing up for work?
A. The Oregon rule requiring "show-up pay" or "adequate work" for adult workers was rescinded in 1990. This rule required employers to guarantee work and/or payment of at least half the scheduled shift. Under current wage and hour laws, when an adult employee reports for a scheduled shift but is sent home early for lack of work, the employer need only pay for the actual time worked. If the employee performs no work and is not required to wait on the employer´s premises for any period of time, no wages are due.
Your company is legally required to pay Fred only for the 15 minutes of waiting time in the break room. According to federal and state wage laws, that time is compensable because Fred was "engaged to wait" on your premises. On the other hand, there is no legal obligation to compensate Fred for any other portion of the scheduled shift, unless your company has promised such compensation in its policies or under a wage agreement with the employee.
Q. Barney, a 15-year-old employee of ours, was scheduled to work from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. today. We sent him home immediately after he showed up for work this morning because of the lack of work available. Do we need to pay Barney for any part of the scheduled shift?
A. Yes. There is an "adequate work" rule which remains in effect for minors (employees younger than 18). OAR 839-021-0087(5) states that a minor who is required to report to work must be provided sufficient work to earn at least one-half of the amount earned during the minor´s regularly scheduled shift or be paid reasonable compensation if the work is not provided. Reasonable compensation means the greater of: (a) the amount the minor receives for one hour of work at his/her regular rate of pay; or (b) the amount determined by multiplying the minor´s regular rate of pay by one-half of the hours the minor was scheduled to work.
Since you didn´t provide Barney with any work after he reported for his shift, you must pay him for one-half of the regularly scheduled shift, which in this case would amount to two hours at his regular hourly rate.
Q: Is compensation required when an employee arrives for a scheduled shift and is sent home?
Adult Employee (18+)
Minor (under 18)
No adequate work or show-up pay is required. Employer is only required to pay for actual time worked.
Employer must pay minor employees for one hour of work or half of the scheduled shift, whichever is greater.
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