As many Californians may know, there are times when employees are paid even though they are not actively working at their jobs. With diverse schedules becoming the norm, it may be worthwhile to learn when an employer is obligated to pay by federal law.

If an employee spends time away from work attending a seminar or taking a course necessary for work, he or she should be paid wages. In addition, the time spent traveling to the learning site is paid. In other cases where the employee must go to a site during the course of the workday, then travel time may be paid. When an employee is called into work at a time not normally scheduled, the employer will most likely be obligated to pay for travel time. Additionally, if an employee is transported to an off-site location with other employees, he or she should be paid the travel time.

Another instance in which employees are paid is during an extended work shift. The paid amount depends on the length of the shift. If the shift lasts 24 hours and the employee is given eight hours to sleep, the employer is not obligated to pay the worker for those eight hours. However, the employer is obligated to pay for the other 16 hours the worker is on the job. If a worker puts in a 24-hour shift, but is only able to sleep for five hours, the employer must pay the employee’s wages for the full 24 hours.

If an employee feels he or she did not receive appropriate compensation for time spent at work-related activities and was not compensated according to wage and hour law, the worker may benefit from speaking to an attorney. The attorney may assist by helping the employee file a claim for unpaid wages.