As we blogged earlier this month, the DOL’s proposed rules on overtime exemptions will significantly narrow the number of employees who can be classified as exempt from overtime. One result, as pointed out by Society for Human Resource Management, is that employers will have to strictly monitor after-hours use of email, text messaging and other remote communications by employees. Previously exempt employees, who were not paid for time spent after work responding to emails or answering business related phone calls or text messages, will now have to be paid for that time (and paid overtime if the work sends them over 40 hours of work each week). Employers who continue to permit non-exempt employees to answer emails and text messages after work will also have to come up with a way to keep track of the time worked. Accordingly, employers need to carefully evaluate whether re-classified employees should have 24 hour access to work email/voice mail (and, if so, which ones) and whether to automatically limit access. Employers should also update written policies to make clear when after-hours use of electronic devices is permitted/prohibited, and consider educating supervisors about when they can/cannot contact non-exempt employees after hours.
For subscribers, SHRM’s article on Email Curfew is here: http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/e-mail-curfew.aspx