Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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The answer is yes, if you are an hourly, non-exempt employee, if they are requiring you to be there at 5:45 then that time must be counted towards your hours worked, and even overtime if you go over 40 hours of work in one week. There is no other way around that simply fact, unless you are a salaried employee. If you are salaried, they can require you to do this without extra pay or credit. Tell them you have spoken with counsel (which you have now) and that the FLSA requires them to pay for this time from the moment they are supposed to be on site.
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