Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Donning, Doffing, and Booting Up?

Blog Paul Caron at Tax Prof Blog has a post on a National Law Journal story (subscription required) discussing lawsuits alleging that employers unlawfully failed to pay employees for the time it takes to boot up and log off their computers each day.  The argument is that 15 to 30 minutes each day is spent on these activities and that the employees should be paid for that time.  The question is whether employees are free to do nonwork things while the computer is doing its thing.

My biggest question is:  15 to 30 minutes?!  Speaking as one who is forever cursed by slow computer performance, that still seems outrageously long.  Although I imagine that all the software required at some companies could take that long to load up.

Hat Tip:  Kathleen Lyon



Labor and Employment News | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Donning, Doffing, and Booting Up?:


The correct answer is, who knows? It seems clear enough that turning on the computer is the beginning of the work day, assuming no other work was performed before. If that is the case, the next question is whether or not the employee was completely relieved of any work duties AND whether the down time is sufficient to use for his/her own purposes. An increment as small as 15 minutes is not enough and 30 minutes of uninterrupted time probably is.

Posted by: dmh | Nov 19, 2008 5:40:08 AM

how about employees working from home: should employers pay telecommuters to telecommute?

if they don't pay employees for their regular (driving/bus to work) commute, should home-based telecommuters get paid for their (tele)commute?

let's assume they spend 15 minutes -- turning on their home-office computer, logging in, booting up, etc. -- then getting to the Internet -- then getting to the employer's computer system -- then logging in to those appropriate programs -- to get to the place they can begin working (their virtual "workstations"). if so, where does the workday (or the employer's front door/time clock) begin?

an employee putting on a uniform at home doesn't usually begin his/her workday; booting up a work-related computer at home may be similar (especially if the home page isn't directly to the workplace).

Posted by: kent | Nov 19, 2008 2:59:54 PM

Post a comment