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California is one of a few states requiring that employees be paid for a certain minimum amount of time if the employee reports to work and the employer sends him or her home early. The Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders generally require payment of at least half of the scheduled shift, with a minimum of two hours and a maximum of four hours. Reporting time pay does not apply when “[o]perations cannot commence or continue . . . when recommended by civil authorities.”

According to the Labor Commissioner, reporting time pay requirements still may apply under the current state of emergency declarations. It only does not apply if the declaration “include a recommendation to cease operations.” As a result, employers do not owe reporting time pay if they send employees home under an order to close. Otherwise, if allowed to continue operations, employers still must consider whether they may owe reporting time pay if they do not put employees to work or send them home early for lack of work. As a further note, employers who expect employees to work less during the emergency should schedule employees for shorter shifts in the first instance.