When you have employees who sometimes work longer than a regular eight-hour shift – a shift of at least 10 hours – employers are required to pay them for an extra hour. This is known as the ‘spread of hours’ pay rule. It can get a bit confusing, so here are the basics you need to know.

Any employee who works beyond the 10-hour workday is required to receive an extra hour’s pay; this is the ‘spread of hours’ pay. It’s equal to one hour of pay at the minimum wage – regardless of the hourly pay the employee typically receives. All employees are eligible, except those who are exempt or who are salaried and not hourly. In the restaurant business, the concept applies equally across all hourly employees.

So how do you determine the spread of hours? The spread includes all hours worked as well as time off for meals and any time spent off-duty during or between shifts. An employee is eligible for a spread of hours payment if the start of the first shift and the end of the second shift is ten (10) hours or more – even if the employee isn’t working for the full 10 hours.

For example, let’s say that Paula starts her shift at 8:00 a.m. and works until 1:00 p.m. (a total of five hours), then starts her second shift at 4:00 p.m. and works until 8:00 p.m. (an additional four hours). So, Paula has worked a total of nine hours over a 12-hour period, so she must be paid one extra hour at the minimum wage.

Now, let’s say Vicky starts her shift at 9:00 a.m. and works until 1:00 p.m. (a total of four hours), then starts her second shift at 2:00 p.m. and works until 6:00 p.m. (four additional hours). Her total spread only equals nine hours (9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.), so she is NOT eligible for spread of hours compensation. It’s really that simple.

It’s important to note that employees’ tip credit cannot be applied to the spread of hours payment, nor is it applied to overtime calculations.

Have any questions? Contact Accu Data Workforce Solutions. We’ve been working with restaurants for over 30 years and can help with spread of hours issues or questions you may have about employee compensation.

Free Payroll Consultation