How does daylight saving time impact employee schedules?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts on the second Sunday in March, and ends on the first Sunday in November. This means your clock will either jump ahead at 2am to 3am, or fall back. If you have bar staff that clock out, or any other employees on the clock at that time, they may notice the clock jump forward one hour. 

Here’s a handy DST calendar so you can always keep track of when it’s coming. 

A little history of Daylight Saving Time: Although some have observed Daylight Saving Time since World War I, this practice of turning back the clock one hour in the fall and then pushing it back in the spring became a federal law thanks to Lyndon Johnson’s Uniform Time Act that was signed in 1966. 

Originally to maximize daylight, in some areas, it’s not followed by some state legislatures like Arizona because air conditioning costs are too high. However, the Navajo Nation in Arizona does in fact observe DST. 

If you’re not sure whether or not your state or area recognizes DST, make sure to check your phone — which will always be in sync — and reset your household appliances on Sunday.

Many people in the US believe “falling back” is not really as beneficial as it was once thought, and that it doesn’t exactly save energy as much as supporters say. The jury is still out on whether “falling back” is beneficial. 

The theory that people will get an extra hour of sleep when Daylight Saving Time starts doesn’t always hold up. And if we observe DST, it doesn’t actually increase the number of sunlight hours during the summer months. Still, it’s not a bad time to take a look at your timekeeping practices when it comes to your non-exempt employees. 

What labor laws apply to Daylight Saving Time?

According to the Department of Labor, there’s nothing you need to do differently — just make sure you’re paying your employees for the time they worked.

Does double pay apply for 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.?

If you have non-exempt employees in the middle of a shift at 2 a.m. when Daylight Saving Time strikes, you may be required to pay them for that additional hour or work if the time change actually extends the number of hours your employee worked.  

Federal law requires employees to be paid for every hour worked. So to avoid this extra pay, you can simply change the start or finish time of the employee’s shift. 

Overtime obligations

If you decide to keep the shift as it is and pay an employee for an additional hour of work, you might need to pay overtime compensation to the employee as well. But only if the extra hour pushes your employee into a workweek of over 40 hours, or a workday of more than 8 hours. 

What happens to employees scheduled to work during the Daylight Saving Time change?

This month, those employees will be working one less hour. In the fall, they’ll be working an additional hour. For some employees, this may put them into overtime, so make sure as you’re building the schedule in the fall you’re fully aware of how many hours you’ve scheduled your overnight team members to avoid any unexpected overtime.

What about when Daylight Saving Time begins in March? 

When evaluating time and pay practices in regards to DST, you might want to consider the beginning as well as the end. Nonexempt employees who will be working on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2 a.m., may be entitled to 1 less hour of pay for that specific shift if they essentially did not work for the allotted amount of time. 

Here’s an example: If an employee’s shift was scheduled for 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and went on a half-hour break, this shift would only have consisted of 7 hours. You can also adjust your nonexempt employees’ schedules during Daylight Saving Time to make sure they get their normal number of hours worked, as mentioned before.

Note:  You are not required by the FLSa to include the extra hour of pay for employees even if they did not in fact work the eight hours when calculating that employee’s regular rate of pay in regards to overtime. Employers are prohibited from crediting the extra “non-worked” hour or pay toward any type of overtime compensation the employee is owed. 

As in every situation, employers will want to take into account any additional obligations under a collective bargaining agreement or state law.

Regardless of what you decide, you’ll need a great timekeeping partner to help you make the best moves. Sign up for Homebase for free today and let us do the hard work for you. 


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