Thursday, October 17, 2013

ERM-BC-COOP in a minute:

Job prep & recovery time
Issues can prove expensive

Being involved in a legal action, even it the organization prevails, is expensive and can lead to an interruption to "business as usual."

Lately I have been reading about more and more court cases on complaints by workers claiming they were not paid for mandatory work done prior to, and following, work hours.

For example, a bus driver has to report 15 minutes early to inspect and prepare his bus to accept passengers. His formal work shift begins at 7 a.m., but because he has 15 minutes "prep" time, he actually begins work at 6:45 a.m.

Think about the person who has to "suit up" to work in either a clean room or a potentially contaminated area - a nuclear plant, for example. Not only does the employee have to take time to prepare for the job, the employee also needs time to doff the protective gear after the work day is complete.

On the clock or off the clock?

This is not a matter of a minute or two, although even that adds up over time, but 10, 15, 20, or more minutes every work day.

Unless the pre- and post-job time is covered in a union contract, and sometimes even if it is covered by contract, eventually someone will demand payment for the time spent prepping for the job and time spent "recovering" to pre-work status (changing back to "civilian" clothing; showering, decontamination, etc.).

While nothing is 100 percent certain, the threat of court or work action (strike) can be mitigated by a clearly written and publicized policy and procedure (P&P) covering prep and recovery time. In a union environment, developing a P&P must be done with union participation. In non-union organizations, it is advisable to include effected employees at all levels in the P&P development.


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