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Examples of Compensable Working Time

Reference Number: MTAS-1192
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: March 22, 2021
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The following are examples of working time for which an employee is entitled to be compensated:

  • Caring for tools that are a part of principal activities, such as guns by police officers. Cooley v. United States, 26 Wage & Hour Cas. (BNA) 50 (Fed.Cir. 1983);
  • Charitable work requested or controlled by the employer. 29 C.F.R. § 785.44;
  • Emergency work/travel time. 29 C.F.R. § 785.36;
  • Disaster drills, whether voluntary or involuntary, either during or after regular working hours. Field Operations Handbook § 31b15;
  • Meal periods if (a) employees are not free to leave their posts or (b) the time is too short to be useful to employees. 20 C.F.R. § 785.19;
  • Medical attention during working hours at the employer’s direction. 29 C.F.R. § 785.43;
  • On-call time where liberty is restricted. 29 C.F.R. § 785.17;
  • Preparatory work that is a part of the principal activity. Lindow v. United States, 738 F.2d 1057 (9th Cir 1984);
  • Principal activities: patrol, investigations, etc. 29 C.F.R. § 790.8;
  • Rest periods of 20 minutes or less. 29 C.F.R. § 785.18;
  • Training in regular duties to increase efficiency. 29 C.F.R. § 785.29;
  • Training programs required by the employer. 29 C.F.R. § 785.27;
  • Travel (but not performing work) from one work site to another or traveling out of town during working hours. 29 C.F.R. §§ 785.38 and .39;
  • Waiting for work after reporting time or while on duty. 29 C.F.R. § 785.15; and
  • Cleaning and maintaining police vehicles if the officers are responsible for those tasks. Wage and Hour Opinion Letter, Dec. 30, 1985.


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