From the Hotline: Uniforms and Compensable Pay in California

Question: When a California employer requires employees to dress in and out of uniform at work, is this time considered as compensable pay?

Answer: According to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) Enforcement Policies and Interpretations Manual § 46.6.4, time spent changing clothes or washing up on the employer’s premises is compensable if it is compelled by the necessities of the employer’s business. However, courts and the DLSE recognize an exception to this rule for activities that are conducted infrequently, take a minimal amount of time to perform, and are administratively impractical to record. This is generally known as the de minimis doctrine. Under the de minimis doctrine, courts and the DLSE will consider the following factors to determine whether an activity is de minimis or whether it is compensable:

  • The practical administrative difficulty of recording the additional time;
  • The aggregate amount of compensable time; and
  • The regularity of the additional activity.