Is Time Spent at work on Wellness Activities Compensable?

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has just issued a new opinion letter concerning whether time spent at work on wellness activities in compensable pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

More and more employers are providing wellness programs as incentives to the employees that promote healthier lifestyles and in turn, may reduce insurance premiums. These programs are mostly voluntary, however employees may be reluctant to participate if time spent attending wellness activities takes away from compensable work.

Relying on FLSA regulations, the DOL noted that compensable time did not include the time during which an employee is off duty and able to use such time for his or her own purposes.  Thus, where participation in wellness activities is purely voluntary, then the time spent is not compensable as the benefit from the activity went to the employee and not the employer. Alternatively, if the activities are mandated then ostensibly the benefit goes to both parties, and the employer should compensate the employee for attendance. An additional consideration is whether the employee is completely relieved of work responsibilities while attending these programs. If he or she is, then it is more likely that the time constitutes noncompensable time-off.

Each situation is different, thus it is critical to discuss your particular question or wage and hour concern with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer. For more information, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.

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