Department of Labor Releases Timesheet Smartphone “App” for Employees

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On May 9, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) launched its first application (or “app”) for smartphone platforms. The app (dubbed “DOL-Timesheet App”) is an electronic timesheet that allows employees to independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they believe they are owed.

The development and launch of the DOL-Timesheet App signals a continued and aggressive commitment by the WHD to enforce wage and hour laws across the country—but it also reflects a not-so-subtle shift in the WHD’s tactics. Aware that it has limited capacity for investigation and enforcement (especially in these times of budget cuts), the WHD is pushing measures, such as the DOL-Timesheet App, that essentially “deputize” employees, giving them the power and the know-how to determine whether their employers are complying with applicable wage and hour laws. In light of these measures, it is critical that employers take steps to ensure compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws and ensure the accuracy of their timekeeping systems.

The DOL-Timesheet app appears to be in line with the so-called “Right to Know” regulatory initiative the DOL unveiled in December 2010. Moreover, according to the DOL’s regulatory agenda, the DOL is considering a proposed rule that would require covered employers to notify workers of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and to provide information regarding hours worked and wage computation.

The DOL-Timesheet App undoubtedly will add fuel to the wage and hour litigation fire sweeping across the country. Employers should not expect that this fire will die down in the near future.

About the Application

The application is a fairly simple time-tracking tool—with potentially dangerous consequences for employers that do not have reliable and accurate time-recording systems in place.

A user first enters his or her employment information, including the employer’s name, the employee’s hourly rate, and the day of the week on which the employee’s workweek begins. That information is saved, and moving forward the employee need only tap on that employer’s name to get to two prompts: “Start Work” or “Manual Time Entry.”

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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.

© Morgan Lewis | Attorney Advertising

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