On May 9, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it has launched its first application for smartphones, a timesheet “to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.” The “app” records time worked and calculates amounts owed by employers, including overtime pay for time worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. The app may be downloaded from the DOL Wage and Hour Division’s home web page at www.dol.gov/whd or from the iTunes store.
This launch reflects DOL’s increasing concern that the widespread use of iPhones, Blackberries and other smartphone devices has resulted in many employees working outside regular business hours without receiving legally required compensation. This new technology is significant, according to DOL, because “instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers now can keep their own records.” DOL states further that “[t]his information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.”
Indeed, in addition to recording working time and calculating wages owed, the app includes a prominent “contact us” button, with links that allow users to easily call or send an email to the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division.
Only time will tell whether the app becomes a serious DOL enforcement tool or turns out to be more of a public relations move by DOL to draw attention to the issue of unrecorded and unpaid work time. In any event, it is clear now that work time recording practices are coming under increased scrutiny in the age of smartphones and remote access. Employers should review their existing practices to ensure that they are recording all work time for non-exempt employees in a manner that is accurate and legally compliant.
Robert M. Shea
Partner | Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
28 State Street | Boston, MA 02109-1775
p 617.378.4364 | f 617.378.4365
Bob’s practice is focused in the areas of litigation and labor & employment. For over 25 years he has worked with clients developing best practices, drafting and negotiating employment agreements and separation agreements, and has advised clients on discipline and discharge, harassment, wage-hour compliance, disability, privacy, non-competition, and reduction-in-force matters. Bob also conducts workplace training, including anti-harassment training, and employment law audits. He represents clients before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Department of Labor; OSHA and National Labor Relations Board. Bob serves as an arbitrator and mediator for clients to resolve employment contract disputes and statutory claims.