For years, massage therapists have effectively been denied compensation for “down time” spent performing work-related functions, or simply waiting, between appointments. Effective January 2016, a new California law requires employers to compensate employees, including massage therapists, for time spent under the employer’s “control” including time not spent providing actual therapeutic services to clients.
Termed “piece-rate” compensation, California Labor Code Section 226.2 now requires massage therapist pay of a separate hourly wage for “nonproductive” time worked by massage therapists, as well as separate payment for rest and recovery periods for those employees. Prior to this new legislation, employers had interpreted federal wage and hour law to require only that that the total compensation paid to a massage therapist over the course of a week satisfied minimum wage and other statutory requirements.
The new law makes it illegal for employers to simply average total weekly compensation across productive and non-productive time in determining compliance with wage and hour laws. Employers must now show on the pay stubs of massage therapists that they are being paid both for “productive time” at the agreed-upon rate, as well as for “non-productive time” at rate equal to or exceeding minimum wage.
If you are an employed massage therapist (i.e., working as an employee for an employer and not independently in your own practice or as an independent contractor) and believe that your employer is failing to pay you for non-productive time, you are urged to contact an employment law attorney at Audet & Partners, LLP for a free, confidential case evaluation. You can contact us either by completing and submitting the inquiry form on the right side of this page, or by giving us a call at (800) 965-1461.