Archive for August, 2011

Did you know:

22% of employees are expected to respond to work email when they are not at work.

50% of employees check work email on the weekends.

46% check work email on sick days.

34% check work email while on vacation.

In recent cases, non-exempt employees have sued their employers for unpaid overtime compensation because the employer required them to check communication on their smart phone when not on duty.  The cases revolved around the question of whether the act of checking communications constitutes compensable work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs minimum wage and overtime.  It entitles employees to whom the law applies to receive overtime compensation for “time spent working” beyond the 40-hour workweek.  Both the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSA generally do not apply to workers in executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees who are paid on a salary basis.  Requiring these “exempt” employees to check their smart phone would not subject employers to overtime claims.

As phone records are easily accessible, employees who use them off hours can provide solid evidence for their overtime claims.  To avoid claims for unpaid overtime, employers can limit use of company cell phones to exempt employees only, or limit their use by non-exempt employees to work hours only.

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