Payday loans

September 2, 2011

Checking Email Outside of Work: Potential Compliance Issue

These days, it seems there is nowhere we can go to be completely unplugged – we can email, send texts, instant message, and talk (remember when we used to talk to people?!) anywhere we go. Being connected anytime has made us truly mobile. Even if our mobile device is not provided by the company, how many of us check our email in line at the grocery store? If you don’t keep track of what your non-exempt employees are doing outside of work, you could be setting yourself up for costly Wage and Hour violations.

A blog I read recently posed the question: “Do we have to pay employees for checking email outside of work?” The short answer – the safe answer – is yes, you do have to pay employees for checking email outside of work.  If it only occurs very sporadically, and the time involved is minimal, it may not be an issue.  Regardless of how minimal this time is, you still need a mechanism in place for tracking this time; if for no other reason, it serves to document that the time spent was in fact minimal.

Short of completely restricting remote email access to exempt employees, the best solution is to implement a policy that outlines in which instances it may be necessary for a non-exempt employee to check his or her email outside of work.  The policy should provide the aforementioned tracking mechanism, outlining how employees are to report their time spent checking email.  Finally, beyond implementing the policy, make sure that the new initiative is followed.

If your policy is in place, and you find employees are reporting time worked for checking email outside of what was outlined, remember: you are still responsible for paying these employees for time worked, even if it was against the policy itself.  In this case, you would be faced with an employee performance issue as well.


1 Comment

  1. Minimal time spent checking emails outside of work would also mean minimal payment, since time spent at work and monetary compensation are often correlated. This shouldn’t have much of an impact on the company.

    Comment by MicroSourcing — September 7, 2011 @ 2:33 am

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