Technology means you can be on top of business activities 24/7, and so can your employees. But stop and think before you send that after hours email or text. Unless your employee is properly classified as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the time that employee spends reading and responding to your email or text is compensable work time. And if they are already putting in a 40-hour week, then it’s overtime.
There has been a recent growth in wage and hour claims arising from off-premises work done by employees. Similar problems arise when employees are able to log into their work computer remotely – you as the employer are responsible for keeping a record of all hours worked by nonexempt employees. The FLSA has strict guidelines regarding which employees may be classified as exempt; you can’t solve this problem simply by giving an employee a title and paying them a salary.
Other concerns: If the employee checks email on their smart phone or even responds to text messages in the morning before leaving for the office, when does their compensable work day actually begin?
The best practice is to have clear policies on when it is – and isn’t – acceptable for employees to work outside of normal business hours. And be sure to enforce them.