A friend of mine recently started working as an hourly non-exempt employee for the first time in his life. He shared with me his frustration after two weeks on the job that, as a salaried worker, sound strange to me.

He says that he has to arrive about 30 minutes early to work every day because he works in a secured facility and has to go through a thorough security screening, walk about 0.5 miles from the security entrance to his desk, and then wait 7-10 minutes for his computer to boot up and load the software he uses to clock in.

I assumed that if this happened once or twice it would just be an outlier, but if this is a daily routine it sounds like there's about 2.5 hours every week that isn't being recorded. Is that kind of thing hand-waved away the same way a salaried employee would hand-wave working 42.5 hours vs 40 per week? Is this something they should be writing down daily to keep records for a later discussion? Obviously as a new employee they don't want to bring it up to anyone and rock the boat, especially considering the hundreds of other workers that are just accepting it.

  • 3
    This news article might be relevant reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-workers-idUSKBN0JN1P820141209 Jul 9, 2018 at 16:24
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    Please add country flag. As always document, then perhaps see a lawyer.
    – Pete B.
    Jul 9, 2018 at 16:26
  • Personally I wouldn't count the walking and waiting time as work, as I can find enjoyment listening to music or browsing my phone (which are not work activities) during those times. Jul 9, 2018 at 16:30
  • @PeteB. fisa is from the USA.. editing to make it more explicit
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 9, 2018 at 16:59
  • Thanks for adding the USA tag, I always forget... The walking time isn't my biggest concern, I just added it for emphasis. I was mainly concerned about A) the 15+ minutes it takes to go through security, and B) the 7-10 minutes it takes for the computer to boot up.
    – Brian R
    Jul 10, 2018 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


If your friend is in the US, the Supreme Court has said they don't have to get paid for that time.

U.S. top court rejects worker pay for security-screening time (Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk).

  • The article also says: " Many workers will still be able to pursue similar claims under state law, Thierman added." So it depends on the state that the event happened in.
    – Dan
    Jul 9, 2018 at 19:41
  • This sounds more like a federal job and could your friend just set the computer to sleep to save on the boot time Jul 9, 2018 at 23:09
  • @Neuromancer It's similar, yes. Unfortunately the computers are shared and unable to be put to sleep. My friend isn't super tech savvy and can't explain if it's actually booting up, some kind of post-login scripts, or a slow application/network.
    – Brian R
    Jul 10, 2018 at 2:56
  • Huh, that's a very interesting case. I'm very surprised that it was a 9-0 ruling - presumably it would have been a bit more contentious than that.
    – Brian R
    Jul 10, 2018 at 2:57
  • Hmmm, not sure it applies to OP's problem. The rulling was made because the judges didn't believe the screening process really took 30 minutes. However, it is noted that For workers to be paid, the activity in question must be “an intrinsic element” of the job and “one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities,”, which might fit OP's case
    – Aserre
    Jul 10, 2018 at 12:26

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