ENGAGEMENT TO WORK: ENGAGED TO WAIT OR WAITING TO BE ENGAGED
Under the law, the normal hours of work for any employee shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day. However, there are times when a confusion arises whether waiting time is considered working time or not. Whether waiting time constitutes working time depends upon the circumstances of each case, thus, it is a question of fact. The paramount question to be asked should be, “Is waiting time spent for the benefit of the employer or of the employee?”
The employee is “engaged to wait” if his working time is considered an integral part of his work or if he is required by his employer to wait. For example, if the company driver delivers certain goods of his company to retailers and as a protocol, the latter has to carefully check the quantity and quality of the goods delivered before handling the acknowledgment receipt to the driver, the idle time spent by the driver in waiting for the receipt of the acknowledgment receipt is considered “engaged to wait”. The reason is that, the idle time was spent predominantly for the employer’s benefit and not for the employee. The acknowledgment receipt is necessary to the conduct of the business of his company.
On the other hand, the employee is “waiting to be engaged” if he is completely relieved from duty and is aware as to the time of his return for duty. Let us take the example above. If the goods were delivered by the driver to the retailer at 11 o’clock in the morning and he was clearly advised by the company that he is relieved from duty for four (4) hours and that he should be back exactly at 3 o’clock in the afternoon to get the acknowledgment receipt. From 11am to 3pm, the control as to what to do is exactly with the driver. Thus, said time is not “waiting to be engaged.”
“Engaged to wait” and “waiting to be engaged” is not the same. The first one is compensable while the second one is not.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.