What is a Workweek and How The DOL Describes It

What is a working week

The majority of us have probably heard about the Department of Labor, but do we actually know what it is or why it exists? Also, how many times have you used the phrase “just another workweek?” Again, do you truly have an understanding how a workweek is determined? But first it is important for you to understand who sets the rules and regulations when describing a workweek. We will concentrate on these topics throughout this blog so that you can have a better understanding to benefit you!

The Department of Labor (DOL)

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is defined by Wikipedia as a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, reemployment services, and some economic statistics; many U.S. states also have such departments. ("United States Department of Labor." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 05 Apr. 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.)  

The Department of Labor was founded March 4, 1913 while its headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. and is headed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

According to the Department of Labor’s website, their mission is “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” ("Our Mission." United States Department of Labor. N.p., 07 Jan. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.)

Overall, the DOL is designed to protect you and make for a better day while you are on the clock.

What is a Workweek

Many of us get up on a Monday morning, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush our teeth, grab a cup of coffee and punch the time clock to start the workweek. Eventually, Friday comes and we are no longer suffering from “the case of the Mondays.” But what about those who work the weekends or don’t start their workweek on a Monday? Well, the DOL’s website answers that question for your and it is pretty simple to understand.  

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a workweek as “a period of 168 hours during 7 consecutive 24-hour periods. It may begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day established by the employer. Generally, for purposes of minimum wage and overtime payment, each workweek stands alone; there can be no averaging of 2 or more workweeks. Employee coverage, compliance with wage payment requirements, and the application of most exemptions are determined on a workweek basis.” ("Wage and Hour Division (WHD)." U.S. Department of Labor - Wage and Hour Division - U.S. Department of Labor-Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.)

Some companies and other industries of work may classify a working week based on 32 hours, 36 hours or 40 hours. Also, don’t forget those who are on the clock even longer while working upwards of 50 to 60 hours per week. Again, from reading the information in the previous paragraph, it gives us an understanding that an employer can have a variety of options for them to establish their workweek as long as it falls under the Department of Labor’s rules and regulations.

Tracking Your Workweek

It is very important that an employer and an employee keeps track of their workweek. This will allow for proper time tracking, accurate pto calculation, eliminate payroll issues and help business owners to abide by the DOL laws.

Software as a service is a great way to help aid in tracking workweeks. A robust, yet simple web-based time clock app from OnTheClock currently helps over 10,000 companies to achieve these goals. With constant upgrades in the latest technology and features that assist employee hour tracking, it's no wonder why so many choose this service. If you would like to learn more about OnTheClock, please visit ontheclock.com for more information or download the brochure here.

In this blog we did not touch up on all the DOL’s information, but we did explain how a workweek is described according to the DOL. This is a topic that is misunderstood and it is encouraged for you to do further research on the actual Department of Labor website so you can increase your knowledge when it comes to all of their laws and regulations. You can read more on their website at www.dol.gov.


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Tracking your workweek will ensure accurate pay periods.

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