On March 30, 2022, Ohio amended its overtime pay laws by aligning its’ state law with provisions of the federal Portal-to-Portal Act. The Portal-to-Portal Act complements the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and provides that employers are not required to compensate employees for time they spend on activities that take place before or after their principal activities if certain conditions are met. The amendments become effective on July 6, 2022.
Overview of State Overtime Law
State law requires employers that gross $150,000 or more per year to pay employees overtime at a wage rate of 1.5 times their regular wage rate for all hours they work over 40 in a workweek.
Portal-to-Portal Act Provisions
The provisions incorporated into state law (sections two and four of the Portal-to-Portal Act) indicate that employers are not required to pay overtime for time employees spend:
- Walking, riding or traveling to and from where they perform their principal employment activities;
- Performing activities that are preliminary to or postliminary to their principal employment activities; or
- Performing activities requiring insubstantial or insignificant periods of time beyond their scheduled working hours.
However, exceptions to the list above apply if employees engage in the activities during the regular workday or prescribed hours or at the specific direction of their employer; perform the activities pursuant to an express provision of a contract with the employer; or perform the activities pursuant to a custom or practice applicable to where the employee works, and the custom or practice is not inconsistent with a contract.
The amendments attempt to draw a distinction between activities that are compensable versus those that are de minimis (“insubstantial or insignificant periods of time” outside of work) and reduces the burden on employees and employers of having to keep track of such time. The law also blocks class-action lawsuits for overtime violations by requiring workers to opt-in versus opt-out of the suit.
Next Steps for Employers
Even with the changes in the law, employers are not relieved of their obligation to ensure employees receive overtime when they are asked to do specific tasks by their supervisor/manager, or if something is written in a contract. It is recommended that employers review their pay practice policies to ensure that they address the amendments and that key items such as off-the-clock work and reporting of hours worked are explicitly addressed for purposes of ensuring that applicable overtime is paid when required.
Where federal and state law requires a different standard, the employer must adhere to the standard that provides the greatest benefit to the employee.