Unpaid ‘work’ time

Two instances here first, I was required to arrive at work at 12 pm when I arrived I was informed there was no truck available. I was supposed to drive co-workers across the state to a job site. Employeer states we would not be paid because the truck is at another job. We waited 2 hours at work for the truck to arrive then we left. Am I entitled to that 2 hours? Another instance was for a medical appointment required by work. It was a my day off but I was not paid. I am a hourly employee construction worker.

Asked on October 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You can't recover for the medical appointment time: even if it was required by work, seeing a doctor (e.g to be medically cleared to work) is not considered work time, any more than it would be considered work time if you have to have a valid driver's license for work and had to go to the DMV to renew it. Things that are requirements in order to be eligible to work are not themselves work.
2) However, you are entitled to pay for the time you spent waiting for the truck IF the employer required you to wait; any time spent at the workplace or a job site at the employer's request is work time and, if you are an hourly employee, must be paid. Work is not just being productive; meeting time, time spent sitting around at the workplace because vehicles, tools or supplies are not available, etc. is work time--again, so long as the employer required you to stay/wait. If you were free to leave but voluntarily choose to stay to see if work would be available later, however, that is NOT work time, because the employer did not mandate it. 
IF you had unpaid work time, the good news is you can take legal action to get the money to which you are entitled: you could sue the employer for the money, or file a complaint with the department of labor. The bad news is, that is the only way to get the money: with a lawsuit or a labor department complaint. Both are rather drastic measures to take about your employer; it is far from clear that it is worthwhile doing so for two hours of pay.

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