Time is money is an age-old adage that has been vocalized for generations. Our time is valuable and a limited resource, so we must be careful about spending it. When we spend our time working, we finance our current days and future. The COVID-19 pandemic brought many activities to a screeching halt, but many of us are still doing our best to press on safely.

COVID testing is starting to become a regular part of our routines. Testing sites are much more prevalent but getting tested is still time-consuming. Many workplaces have opened for in-person work with the caveat that workers get tested. Regardless, employees are spending a lot of time getting COVID tests so they can continue working. This begs the question: Who is paying for the employees’ time? California labor and employment law can be complex, but a legal team knowledgeable about California labor laws can answer this question and more.

Is There a Precedent for Paying for Workers’ Time Getting Tested?

If workers must get tested for work, it stands to reason that they must be compensated for that time. However, it may not be clear who is obligated to reimburse them. Though COVID testing is a relatively new practice, there is a precedent for required testing in the workplace. For example, many employers require drug testing.

Even though marijuana use is legal in California, some jobs require sobriety in order for the job to be performed safely and well. In the case of drug testing, employers are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to reimburse employees for time spent taking a drug test if the employer requires the test.

Must Employers Pay For Workers’ Time Getting COVID Tests?

Ultimately, employers would be responsible for paying workers for their time. If an employer exercised control over a worker by forcing the worker to execute a task, then the time spent performing that task must be compensated.

This principle applies to drug and medical testing. If an employer forces a worker to get a medical test, the time spent getting the test, traveling, and waiting for the test to be completed, would be considered “hours worked”. Therefore, employers who mandate COVID testing are responsible for paying for testing and travel time.

Get Legal Advice from a Knowledgeable California Employment Lawyer

As more people are returning to in-person activities, getting tested is becoming more time-consuming. When your workplace requires you to get a COVID test, you have a right to be compensated for your time. By failing to do so, your employer is violating your rights. If your employer has not adequately compensated you for getting mandatory COVID tests, you should contact an experienced California employment lawyer.

Blackstone Law is staffed by leading California employment and labor attorneys. Using our years of experience and valuable resources, we can help you fight for the pay you are entitled to receive. We are proud to provide our clients with award-winning legal representation, and we will fight for you to help you obtain fair compensation for your work. Call us at (310) 956-4054 or submit our contact form to learn more about your rights as an employee.