WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service published a final rule on June 10 in that will require meat, poultry and egg processing facilities to pay inspection personnel overtime for time spent donning and doffing protective gear that is conducted outside the eight-hour shift, according the National Chicken Council.

FSIS has defined an inspector’s eight-hour work day as time spent donning and doffing required protective gear and walking to and from the inspection station, under the final rule. Plus, FSIS will also inform establishments how long donning and doffing will take so establishments can plan their operating schedule or overtime accordingly. The amount of time will be specific to each establishment.

In addition to the time spent donning and doffing protective gear at the beginning and end of each shift, time spent donning and doffing protective gear before and after the lunch period is also to be included. And donning and doffing activities related to retrieving, cleaning and storing equipment are included.

Donning and doffing includes both equipment required by FSIS and equipment required by the establishment, the final rule notes. FSIS-required equipment includes hard hats, hearing protection, cut resistant and cover gloves, plus slaughter equipment (knives, hook, steel, and scabbard).

However, time spent donning and doffing skid-resistant footwear is not included unless the establishment requires this to be done on site.

FSIS issued a notice (22-11) two weeks ago to its inspection program personnel instructing them as to how to measure the amount of time on-line slaughter inspectors take to don, doff and walk to and from their workstation. Inspection personnel are instructed to round the cumulative time for these activities to the next whole minute in calculating the time required to perform these activities,. However, for pay purposes, the cumulative time is rounded up to the next quarter hour (i.e., 15 minutes or less is rounded to 15 minutes of overtime if not performed within the eight-hour shift).

The new requirement would apply beginning with pay period 12 (June 5 – June 18), the notice also stated, and establishments will be billed for any overtime when the final rule is published and implemented. The implementation date will be July 11.

Click here for a copy of the final rule.