Time & Attendance
By Jon Hyman
Nov. 20, 2013
As a company you’re doing everything you can to attract and retain young talent, including implementing a broad BYOD policy enabling your Gen-Yers to connect their iDevices to your network. If those employees are non-exempt under the wage-and-hour laws, how do you prevent them from claiming overtime wages for the off-the-clock time they spend receiving, reading, and sending work-related emails?
The law requires employees to be paid for work that their boss either knew or should have known they were doing. If the boss had no reason to know or suspect employees weren’t complying with the curfew, they could be protected.
In other words, you draft a policy (either stand-alone, or as part of your technology or BYOD policies) prohibiting non-exempt employees from emailing off-duty.
At least one management-side lawyer, quoted in the K.C. Business Journal article, is skeptical of using these curfews as a wage-and-hour compliance tool.
“While an email curfew is a clever idea that might in certain circumstances be justified, it typically isn’t going to be much of an answer.” That’s because in most cases it’s unenforceable or could potentially anger clients who might find other companies that are willing to respond to requests 24/7.
I’m not nearly as cynical about the effectiveness of an email curfew to stave off wage-and-hour issues for off-the-clock emailing. If you tell employees not to read, send, or otherwise work on emails off work hours, and an employee disobeys, that employee is subject to being disciplined. Yes, you still have to pay him or her for the “working” time (which would be at a time-and-a-half premium if the typical work week totals 40 hours), but punishing one employee for violating an email curfew will go a long way to deterring the many from future violations.
The more difficult issue, however, is balancing the need for instant access versus the cost of paying your employees for that responsiveness. This business decision will vary from company to company (based, in part, on a company’s culture), and will dictate how you react to this compliance idea.
Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Hyman at (216) 736-7226 or email@example.com. You can also follow Hyman on Twitter at @jonhyman.
Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.
ComplianceMinimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know
Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1. Thr...
federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance
LegalNew Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023
The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...
labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law
LegalWage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know
Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...
compliance, wage and hour law