“Rowdy” Roddy Piper famously said: “Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions.”
California employers can relate to this feeling of uncertainty, given a recent trend of California appellate decisions that have upended established legal “answers” regarding certain employment law issues. Following last year’s decision by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex to adopt a new “ABC test” to determine employment status under the Wage Order, and the Court of Appeal’s decision in AMN Healthcare that cast doubt 33 on years of established authority regarding non-solicitation of employee provisions, the Court of Appeal in Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc. recently adopted a new standard for reporting time pay. Because disputes over reporting time pay may lead to putative class action claims, this decision is particularly important for California employers.
California is one of a few states requiring employers to pay a certain minimum amount to nonexempt employees as “reporting time” (also referred to as “show-up pay”) if the employee reports to work but does not actually work the expected number of hours. Specifically, each of California’s Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders requires employers to pay employees “reporting time pay” for each workday “an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work.”
In Ward v. Tilly’s, a divided Court of Appeal has expanded the “reporting time” obligation to situations where employees are required to contact their employer two hours before on-call shifts—even though they never actually physically report to work.