As they design their 2021 executive compensation programs, companies should be aware of key issues relating to the financial and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On November 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued two opinion letters interpreting the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding the compensability of training and travel time. Although these opinions interpret federal law, California law tends to follow federal law for compensating training and travel time.

Training Time

In the first opinion letter, the DOL explored when voluntary, employee-initiated training may be compensable work time by examining six different training time scenarios in which the employee didn’t perform any productive work during the training. Depending on the situation, the training time was job related, satisfied state mandated licensure requirements or was performed during work hours.

The DOL drew a distinction between the scenarios that centered around when the employee took the training, opining that when an employee takes the training during work hours — regardless of whether the training was job related — the time is compensable as work hours. These hours would be compensable even if the employee had the option to take the training outside of work hours. Employers, the DOL noted, can create policies that prohibit taking voluntary training during work hours to help mitigate this issue.

Lastly, the DOL noted that if an employee travels to a voluntary training that occurs outside of working hours, that travel time is not compensable, even if the travel occurred during work hours, because the employee is doing so at their own option and convenience for a voluntary training that takes place outside of work hours.

Travel Time

In the second opinion letter, the DOL examined, amongst other things, whether an employee is entitled to travel time pay when the employee travels to remote job sites in their own vehicle.

The DOL examined two different remote travel scenarios. In the first scenario, an employee had the option to drive to the headquarters and ride in the company vehicle to the remote job site or use their own personal vehicle. In this case, the employer has the option to count as compensable worktime either:

  • The actual amount of compensable time the laborer accrues driving to the remote job site; or
  • The amount time that would have accrued during travel in the truck.

In the second scenario, the employer offered to put the employees in a hotel for the nights between work at a remote job site. Employees had the option to either stay in the hotel or choose to drive back home from the remote site each night during the project. The DOL opined that these intervening trips home and back during the project were not compensable because employers had relieved the employees of all duty and had no control over the employee whether they chose to use the hotel or instead commute each day from the remote work site.

Matthew J. Roberts, Employment Law Counsel/Subject Matter Expert

CalChamber members can read more about Travel Time and Education and Training Time in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

The post U.S. DOL Releases Training, Travel Time Opinion Letters appeared first on HRWatchdog by Matthew J. Roberts, Esq..

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Eight in 10 job candidates (80%), both active and passive seekers, foresee working for a new company in the next 12 months—despite, or possibly due to, the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.—according to the 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study by the American Staffing Association and its corporate research partner, ClearlyRated. This data from the survey, among other results, reveals a sense of optimism about employment and job-related opportunities as the nation continues to fight Covid-19.

Other study highlights: A slight majority of job candidates (57%) are satisfied with their current employment situation. Seven in 10 (70%) are optimistic about the future of their careers.

Perceptions have changed regarding preferred work arrangements since the onset of the pandemic. Seven in 10 candidates (69%) find working remotely more desirable than at an office or other onsite location; six in 10 (60%) find permanent jobs more desirable than other types of employment arrangements; four in 10 (44%) prefer work as an independent contractor (working for themselves); and nearly a third (32%) are more open to working as a temporary employee through a staffing agency.

Candidates also say that looking for a job is more stressful than planning a wedding (66%), public speaking (65%), the birth of a child (59%), health concerns from Covid-19 (29%), the death of a loved one (25%), and financial concerns related to Covid-19 (24%).

The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study also sheds light on candidates’ perceptions regarding how they look for jobs (online vs. offline resources), the reasons why they decide to leave a job, and their experiences partnering with staffing agencies―with distinct differences reported among generations, industry sectors, races/ethnicities, and genders.

“To navigate the new world of work spurred by Covid-19, employers must be more attune to job candidate perceptions, needs, and priorities to effectively and strategically recruit and retain them,” said Cynthia Davidson, ASA senior director of research. “The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study contains a wealth of data and unique insights into the minds of prospective talent.”

A report of the survey findings is available for purchase, with a discount for ASA members. Learn more at


The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study surveyed 711 potential job candidates, weighted to reflect the U.S. adult workforce. The sample was obtained through an independent, third-party online panel and was weighted to be representative of staffing agency utilization and temporary help assignments. The survey fielded May 12 – 21, 2020. Overall margin of error is +/-3.7%. Margin of error for reporting segments differs and is generally higher.


About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

About ClearlyRated

Rooted in satisfaction research for professional service firms, ClearlyRated utilizes a Net Promoter Score® survey program to help professional service firms measure their service experience, build online reputation, and differentiate on service quality. Learn more at

The post 80% Expect to Land a New Job in 2021—Despite Covid-19 appeared first on American Staffing Association.

After more than seven years and multiple federal and state court rulings, the saga of Apple, Inc.’s exit search policy continues. In an October amendment to its September ruling that time spent in exit searches constituted hours worked, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Apple can pursue its claim that exit search time is so de minimis as to be non-compensable (Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., No. 15-17382 (Amended October 29, 2020)).

As previously reported, the California Supreme Court ruled in February that Apple must pay employees for time they spend undergoing security screening of personal items after clocking out at the end of their shift — a question the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal asked the California Supreme Court to answer more than two years ago.

As part of its appeal to that ruling, Apple had argued that the time spent on an exit search shouldn’t be compensated because it was often so brief as to be considered de minimis, which refers to amounts of time so small that they’re difficult to track, such as booting up a computer in the morning or locking up a store at night.

In its September ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that because Apple didn’t raise this issue before the district court, it had forfeited it. In the October 29 revision to that ruling, however, the court stated that it was actually unclear whether Apple had raised the de minimis argument before the lower court. It then granted Apple’s request to argue the issue when the case is remanded.

Although Apple may argue that its exit searches aren’t compensable because the time spent on them is de minimis, this is no guarantee of victory. In fact, the California Supreme Court previously has restricted employers’ ability to claim that time is de minimis when employees are regularly expected to perform off-the-clock work. Still, employers should keep an eye on this case to ensure they’re abiding by the rule adopted in its holding.

Stay tuned to HRWatchdog for more updates on this saga!

Michelle Galbraith, J.D., HR Adviser, CalChamber

CalChamber members can read more about this case in HRCalifornia Extra’s Exit Searches Constitute Hours Worked, but De Minimis Question Remains as well as De Minimis Time in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

The post Is Security Screening Time De Minimis? appeared first on HRWatchdog by HRWatchdog.

It’s been a very stressful year for most recruiters as they navigate the ongoing pandemic, according to the annual Recruiter Nation survey from Jobvite.