Affected employers will no doubt have a variety of wage-hour questions in the aftermath of any major disaster, such as Hurricane Irene. The number and scope of the issues raised might well be practically endless. In this article, we'll address in very general ways the federal Fair Labor Standards Act topics that experience suggests will be among the most pressing.
Lost Time Records
Records of work already performed but not yet paid can be destroyed by these events. If the only records of hours worked are lost or unusable, then there is no perfect solution. Recreate the most accurate accounting you can under the circumstances. Perhaps the preferred approach is to ask each employee to make the best-possible estimate of his or her hours worked.
You should obtain the employees' written acknowledgement of their best recollection. Include each employee's authorization allowing later corrections in worktime and pay should more accurate hours-worked information become available.
If the disaster has rendered your electronic or computerized time clocks inoperable, remember that employees may record all hours worked by using handwritten timesheets. To ensure accuracy, have each employee enter his or her own time and record the actual times when the employee's work starts and stops each workday (i.e. not "in at 8:00 out at 4:00" every single day).
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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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