I am required to work my oilfield job in 24-hour shifts, am I entitled to compensation for time spent sleeping?

24 Hour Sign on a Clock FaceIn the oil and gas industry, some employees are required to spend many hours at a stretch “on duty.” In some cases, these shifts may last for longer than 24 hours at a time. When this happens, the employee may need to spend some time sleeping in order to be able to function adequately. How sleep time is treated for purposes of calculating hours worked is important to a wage or overtime violation claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

5 Important Facts About Sleep Time and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Determining whether your sleep time is included as part of your hours worked is not always an easy task. The following are five helpful guidelines:

  1. If you are required to be on duty for less than 24 hours, you are considered to be working even if you are allowed to sleep or engage in other personal activities if you are not busy.
  2. If you are required to be on duty for more than 24 hours, you may make an agreement with your employer that allows you to sleep for regularly scheduled periods of time during which you are not considered to be working for purposes of wage and overtime calculations.
  3. If you reach such an agreement with your employer, the sleep time cannot be for period lasting more than eight hours.
  4. In addition, if you reach such an agreement with your employer, the company must supply you with an adequate place to sleep where you will not be interrupted.
  5. If you sleep for less than five hours, the employer is not permitted to reduce your number of hours worked.

Employees are often at a disadvantage when it comes to fair pay, because there are many ways in which an employer can attempt to avoid the overtime pay obligations laid out under the law. It is therefore crucial for workers to seek legal representation whenever a violation by an employer is suspected. We encourage you to reach out today for more information at (888) 449-2068.


Don J. Foty
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Don Foty is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.