In recent years, what defines the “office” has taken on many new meanings. It could mean working from a traditional business workspace, but now also the home, the airplane, a coffee shop, or anywhere with Wifi. This has many great benefits to businesses. Employees can always access company information, they are more accessible to clients, and can perform job functions even when geography doesn’t allow them to be at the actual office.
While these changes bring great benefits, there are also things that employers need to watch out for. Inherently, with the ability of employees to work from any location, will also allow them the ability to work at all hours of the day. And all of the time they spend working may be compensable. This means, when the employees are performing job functions, they might have to get paid for such. This could be as small as sending an email from their smart phone. This freedom to work anywhere and anytime, can mean employees are bound to work over 40 hours per week. This can lead to problems for employers who weren’t intending to pay overtime.
Further making this issue an important one is the potential changes to the Federal overtime laws. The new federal overtime laws were set to go into effect on December 1, 2016 and would have raised the salary threshold for exemption for overtime pay for many workers from $23,660 to $47,476. A federal judge from Texas issued an injunction to stop this from going into effect on November 22, 2016. It is not currently clear when, or if, these new regulations will go into place.
Our firm recommends that you have the appropriate policies and procedures in place, and a company handbook, to ensure that your employees have a clear understanding of when they are permitted to work, and how much they are permitted to work. There are also technological solutions that can assist your business.
If you have any questions about overtime laws, you should contact an attorney.
Chad Stonebrook is a Partner at Lardiere McNair, LLC. To read more about our firm, please visit www.lmcounsel.com.
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