As the necessity for teleworking continues due to COVID-19, employers and employees are still grappling with the changes brought about by a significant increase in teleworking. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently published guidance regarding timekeeping while teleworking. While acknowledging employers’ legal obligations for recordkeeping and reporting, the DOL also places reporting obligations on employees to ensure that their work time is reported, so be sure to follow and report all working time to your employer according to its procedures.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer is required to compensate covered employees for “all hours worked that the [the employer] knows or has reason to believe was performed” by the employee. The August 24, 2020 guidance provides that employers, to satisfy their duties under the FLSA, should develop a “reasonable reporting procedure,” that specifically considers remote work arrangements, such as possible hours worked outside of the employee’s typical work shift. An employer cannot “discourage or impede accurate reporting.” By creating a flexible hour tracking system, employers can ensure that workers’ working hours are accurately reported to the employer.
Notably, the guidelines also place a significant burden on the employee to communicate with their employer when they work unscheduled hours. The guidelines state that an employee’s failure to fulfill reasonable hour-reporting duties and report unscheduled hours may eliminate an employer’s liability for its failure to pay for hours worked under the FLSA.
With nearly 24 percent of working Americans performing some work from home—a percentage that is on the rise due to COVID-19—employees must be vigilant in tracking and reporting their work hours to ensure that they are properly compensated under the law.
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