DOL Announces Introduction of Smartphone Application to Help Employees Track Work Hours

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Over the past several years, federal courts across the United States have experienced a surge in class action lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations by employers. In many of these cases, the primary allegation is that employees were not paid for all of their activities that are considered "compensable work" under federal regulations. An employer's failure to pay employees for short breaks and for work from home are often cited violations. In an apparent attempt to provide support for such claims, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the launch of its first application, or "app," for smartphones. The iPhone-compatible app is an electronic timesheet that is intended "to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed."

The DOL announcement notes that this new technology is significant because, "instead of relying on their employers' records, workers now can keep their own records," which can "prove invaluable during [a DOL]…investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records." The DOL further indicated that future apps may be launched to assist employees with compliance issues relating to payment of tips, commissions, bonuses, holiday pay, weekend pay, shift differential and pay for regular days of rest, as well as for impermissible pay deductions.

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