U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Teleworkers’ Compensable Hours
The Coronavirus pandemic led to many new teleworker positions across all industries. As workers were forced to work from the safety of their homes, many wondered about compensable hours. The United States Department of Labor released clarifying guidance this past week about this issue. The guidance specifies that employers have an obligation to track compensable hours of their teleworkers. This reaffirms the idea that workers must be paid for all worked hours, no matter where they are located.
The United States Department of Labor said “if the employer knows or has reason to believe that work is being performed, the time must be counted as hours worked.” The term “hours worked” includes hours that are not scheduled but where work was performed and allowed. Unscheduled work includes overtime work. The employer must acquire knowledge about hours worked through due diligence. One way this diligence can occur is by providing the employees with a reporting system for their hours. The employer must pay the employee for all reported hours when they have reason to believe work was performed.
Further clarification was provided by the statement: “If an employee fails to report unscheduled hours worked through such a procedure, the employer is not required to undergo impractical efforts to investigate further to uncover unreported hours of work and provide compensation for those hours.” In order words, if the employee does not put all worked hours into the system, then the employer does not have to pay the employee for any undocumented hours. The moral of the story is: if your employer is using a hours reporting tool, make sure you record your hours accurately.
The United States Labor Departments final clarification for teleworkers was as follows: “an employer’s time reporting process will not constitute reasonable diligence where the employer either prevents or discourages an employee from accurately reporting the time he or she has worked, and an employee may not waive his or her rights to compensation.” Asking your employees not to document allowed hours worked is illegal. Employees legally must be paid for all hours worked, even if they are unscheduled or overtime hours. If your employer is neglecting or discouraging you from entering hours, you may have a legal case and should contact an attorney.
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If you haven't been paid your rightful wages, seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.