Smartphones have been a great boon for employers who like to be able to stay connected to their employees even during non-traditional work hours. As phones have become more sophisticated, it has become more normal for employees to check email from home or trade texts with employers or customers.  This accessibility arguably means employees are more productive, or at least reachable during the occasional emergency situation.

      But did you know that an employee going through work email at home or performing job duties, even when away from the office is working and needs to be compensated for their time?  That’s right.  Employees must be compensated for work they do, even if it is from home on a Friday night.  And the onus is on the employer to track and account for those hours and ensure employees are paid properly. An understanding of the rules has become even more important since the new Department of Labor FLSA rules will qualify an additional 4.2 million employees for overtime eligibility.
     So now, more than ever, it is vital for employers to revisit their policies on smartphones and answering emails after work hours.  Remember that violations of the FLSA can carry double damages and payment of the employee’s attorneys fees!