Ensuring that hourly employees accurately record their work time—and that employees are paid for all work time—can be a challenge even under the best of circumstances. But it’s crucial to avoid or defend costly class litigation or audits from the Department of Labor. Despite an employer’s best efforts and for a variety of reasons, employees may perform work without punching in or continue to work after their shift; work through meal or rest breaks; or respond to work emails in the evening or during the weekend—all of which can be compensable time.
These “off the clock” issues may be exacerbated for employers who now have hourly employees working remotely during the pandemic. Remote work means employers have less oversight and ability to enforce timekeeping rules. This is made even more complicated because employees may be working—and responding to work requests—during odd hours as they navigate other home obligations.
By taking the following steps while hourly employees are working remotely, employers can safeguard against off-the-clock violations.
These steps will not only mitigate current off-the-clock risks, but they will also be invaluable in defending against any investigations or lawsuits related to the same. Class action lawsuits are already being filed over various Coronavirus issues, and off-the-clock claims are particularly well-suited for class and collective lawsuits. By following these measures, employers will be able to document the steps taken to record employee time accurately and to make sure employees are fully paid for time worked.