Yesterday, the U.S. DOL issued a Bulletin clarifying an employer’s duty to exercise reasonable diligence to accurately account for teleworking hours worked by hourly employees, whether due to COVID-19 or not. Quoting from the Bulletin:  (1) “If the employer knows or has reason to believe that work is being performed, the time must be counted as hours worked.”  (2) “For telework and remote work employees, the employer  . . . [may] have actual knowledge of hours worked through employee reports or other notifications.”  (3) “One way an employer may exercise such diligence is by providing a reasonable reporting procedure for non-scheduled time.” (4) “If an employee fails to report unscheduled hours worked through such a procedure, the employer is not required to undergo impractical efforts to investigate further,” and “failure to compensate an employee for unreported hours . . . does not violate the FLSA.”

Reasonable Procedures Tips:

  • Set and publish work schedules
  • Prohibit “off the clock” work
  • Prohibit working overtime without authorization
  • Use a dependable system for employees to record time
  • Do not set up automatic time-in for employees
  • Require employees to verify time worked weekly
  • Require supervisors to verify their employees time weekly
  • Require clock out and back in for meal breaks
  • Do not automatically reduce time worked for meal breaks
  • Implement appropriate discipline for infractions

See, Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 (8/24/20)

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