The latest interpretation of “changing clothes”

The Department of Labor has been all over the place in its interpretation of what is compensable time when it comes to changing clothes at work. The Clinton Administration said one thing, the Bush Administration said another, and now the latest ruling is in. So here’s what you need to know:

Generally, time spent changing clothes at work is not compensable. However, the latest take on things says personal protective equipment (PPE) does not count as clothes. So if you require employees to wear certain safety equipment, you must compensate them for time spent donning and doffing the gear. Additionally, if the changing of clothes (even those that are something less than PPE) is a principal activity that starts and ends the workday, it is another sign you must compensate for this time.

The article “FLSA Fashion: DOL Administrator’s Interpretation of ‘Changing Clothes’” by our partners at Dickinson Mackaman explains this in greater detail and illustrates with examples. Click here for the article.


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