Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947

An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act ( www.practicallaw.com/5-501-9884) (FLSA) (29 U.S.C. §§ 251 to 262). The Portal-to-Portal Act clarifies that certain activities are generally not compensable working time under the FLSA. In particular, the Portal-to-Portal Act excludes from mandatory compensation:

  • Traveling to or from the actual place where the employee performs his principal activities.

  • Time spent on incidental activities before or after the employee's principal activities.

(29 U.S.C. § 254.)

For information about whether certain categories of time are generally compensable under federal law, see Practice Note, Compensable Time ( www.practicallaw.com/9-508-0191) .

The Portal-to-Portal Act also amended the FLSA by establishing:

  • A statute of limitations of two years for violations of the FLSA and three years for willful violations (29 U.S.C. § 255).

  • Two good faith defenses for FLSA violations:

    • an absolute defense to noncompliance with FLSA minimum wage and overtime requirements where the employer can prove that the complained of conduct was in good faith and in reliance on Department of Labor ( www.practicallaw.com/2-501-6354) rules or regulations (29 U.S.C. § 259); and

    • a discretionary defense to claims for liquidated damages where the employer can prove that the complained of conduct was in good faith and that it reasonably believed that its conduct did not violate the FLSA (29 U.S.C. § 260).

For more information about federal wage and hour law, see Practice Note, Wage and Hour Law: Overview ( www.practicallaw.com/2-506-0530) . For information about whether certain categories of time are generally compensable under state wage and hour law, see Wage and Hour Laws: State Q&A Tool: Question 5 ( www.practicallaw.com/3-505-9593) .

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