Pennsylvania: Time Spent During Employee Security Screenings Must Be Paid


All Employers with PA Employees


July 21, 2021


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In In re:, Inc., et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently stated that time employees spend undergoing security screening must be compensated. This ruling came in response to questions certified to the state supreme court by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal. Specifically, the court answered the questions: (1) whether time spent on an employer’s premises waiting to undergo, and undergoing, mandatory security screening is compensable as “hours worked” within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act1 (PMWA); and (2) whether the de minimis doctrine bars claims brought under the PMWA. There, workers were required to undergo security screening before being allowed to exit the premises at the end of their shift.

First, the court noted that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry defines “hours worked” to include the time an employer requires an employee to remain on company premises. Because employees there were not permitted to leave before completing the security screening, time spent waiting for and undergoing screening was deemed “hours worked.” Second, the court noted that the PMWA specifically requires payment for all “hours worked,” which means that the de minimis doctrine is not recognized under the PMWA. Rather, the de minimis doctrine has only been used in conjunction with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Action Items

  1. Have employee ingress and egress processes reviewed to ensure proper timekeeping and wage payment.
  2. Have appropriate personnel trained on applicable requirements for compliance.
  3. Have historical corrections reviewed by legal counsel.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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