Protect Your Business From Overtime Lawsuits Due to Remote Work
Steps to Protect Your Business From Overtime Lawsuits Due to Remote Work
Employers must track non-exempt employees’ hours worked, pay for all hours worked, and pay overtime wages for each hour worked over forty hours in a work week, under state and federal law. Especially with remote work, businesses must be careful to use an accurate time keeping system.
Accurate time records are key to preventing costly wage & hour lawsuits.
- Employers must keep accurate time records of the hours worked for all their employees.
- The best practice is to have employees verify their time records are accurate.
- Failure to keep accurate records can expose employers to costly lawsuits.
- Without accurate time records employees who sue are allowed to “estimate” their hours.
- Employee estimates are often inflated. But without accurate time records to rebut the estimates, the costs of litigation can go up.
Use a written work time policy.
- Explain to employees in writing what constitutes work time.
- Prohibit off-the-clock work.
- Discipline or discharge employees for off-the-clock work—but pay them for time worked.
- Require employees to track and report, in writing, all time worked.
- Obtain written acknowledgements from employees to confirm they have read and understand the work time policy.
Use a timekeeping system.
- Provide employees with a system to document hours worked.
- Train employees on how to use your timekeeping forms or software.
- Require employees to document all hours worked each day or shift.
- Notify employees that they may make corrections to their time entries.
- Allow employees to question or challenge any modifications to time entries.
- Require employees to verify and sign time entries, preferably weekly, biweekly, or other timely and regular basis.
Track pre-shift and post-shift work.
- Pre-shift and post-shift work may need to be both tracked and paid.
- If you require employees to perform pre-shift or post-shift work, then the tracking and payment requirements are triggered.
- COVID-19 pre-shift screening temperature checks or the donning of personal protective equipment may trigger the tracking and payment requirements.
Watch out for meal and rest breaks.
- Breaks under 20 minutes or less constitute time worked and must be tracked and compensated.
- True meal or rest breaks of 30 minutes or more—if completely uninterrupted by work—do not need to be paid.
- Employees who perform any work during their bona fide meal break—whether you authorized the work or not—must be paid and the meal break interrupted by work must count as time worked for purposes of minimum wage and overtime.
- Ensure remote employees have access to your written timekeeping forms.
- Be mindful of meal and rest breaks taken at home—employees may tend to check and answer emails while they are supposed to be on an uninterrupted meal and rest break.
- For recent Department of Labor guidance on remote work, please see our article, http://www.donnellygross.com/blog/publications/remote-work-every-business-needs-know-new-dol-guidance/.
We continue to closely monitor the situation and update this information to provide the latest workplace and legal developments related to COVID-19. We expect your questions and our answers will change as the situation develops. For answers to your specific questions and for the newest developments, please visit our website at www.donnellygross.com/covid-19-resources/ and contact us at Donnelly + Gross at 352-374-4001 or directly by email:
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