Overtime Concerns With Remote Access and Mobile Devices

HR Resource
October 21, 2013 — 2,978 views  
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With the advent of technology, many employers and employees are making effective use of mobile devices to complete their work. Employers have started providing employees with mobile devices to keep the employees connected with their work at all times. This trend has increased over the years due to the increase in the employee's productivity since this concept has been adopted. Although there are many benefits to the employers when they provide these mobile devices, there are many concerns that both employers and employees face. The employees have expressed claims that working outside the office adds an additional pressure to the already existing economical crises. Employers have one major concern and that is the overtime liability that could arise if the employees are working on mobile devices during irregular hours.

FLSA Overtime Regulations

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act governs all the employers in the country. Under the regulations stated in the FLSA, there is no limit on the number of hours that an employee is allowed to work during the week. Employers must also compensate their employees with compensation of one and a half times more than their regular wage rate for the hours worked above 40 hours in a work week. Employers that violate the FLSA overtime regulations will be penalized with a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months as well. There could also be civil liability and other penalties exercisable if the state or federal court considers it to be appropriate. Employees are entitled to overtime compensation if their remote work is considered as a compensable time.

Salary Test for Overtime Exemption

Employers need not worry about their employees working overtime if they fall under the FLSA overtime exemption ruling. The FLSA presumes that an employee is one that is exempt from being paid overtime and it is the duty of the employer to prove otherwise. One of the most common exemptions for the employees that are using employer-provided mobile devices come under a category in the FLSA called, 'White Collar Exemptions'. These apply to all individuals who are employed in an administrative or professional capacity and is considered as a bona fide executive. The employees must pass two tests called the 'Salary' and 'Duty' tests in order to be exempted from overtime pay. The salary test states that the employee must be paid on a salary basis and should receive a minimum compensation $455 per week. This totals to an annual salary of $23,660. Those employees who receive less than that are entitled to overtime pay.

Recommendation to Employers

For the employers to avoid such liability for overtime pay for employees who work on mobile devices can take certain action to protect themselves. Employers can apply mobile device policies, ensure that there is an accurate employee classification within the organization structure, monitor employee's work on mobile devices, and provide necessary training for overtime regulation issues. In doing this, the employers can safeguard against any liability that may arise in the future.

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