Telecommuting: FLSA Compliance and the 40-Hour Work Week

In the age of the Internet and Smartphones, more companies are allowing their employees to telecommute, in a coffee shop, from home, or even from the beach. The flexibility of telecommuting has proven to be a generous perk for employees as well as for independent contractors and freelancers. With all of the technological options, staying connected to an employer is easy and can be a benefit to both employees and companies. Employees get the flexibility benefit while employers get to cut back on overhead costs. A new issue for employees who have the option of telecommuting is the issue of wage and hour implications.

keyboard-1280072-mUnder the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), wage and hour laws require employers to record the hours their non-exempt employees work and to ensure that those employees get proper breaks and rest. These requirements apply to telecommuting employees as employees who have traditional roles onsite or in an office. How do employers track hours for telecommuting employees? Can they be held liable for failing to comply with FSLA standards? Our Orange County wage and hour law attorneys are experienced in representing our clients and in staying abreast of legal trends in employment law. We understand the complexities faced by employees in a modern workforce and can help to ensure compliance in the best interests of employees.

Employers must be proactive in tracking the number of hours worked, as well as taking preventative action to ensure that employees are not working over their 40-hour work week. In the event that an employee is working overtime to meet job duties, employers can be held liable for overtime wages. For large classes of telecommuting employees, overtime can be a reality—and companies should not be able to evade responsibility for wages simply because that employee is working from home.

According to FLSA policies, employers who know or who have reason to know that an employee is working beyond the 40-hour workweek, that employer must account for those hours and pay requisite overtime. When it comes to employees who telecommute, it can be difficult for employers to track the number of hours worked or supervise employee activities. For employers who do not want to be held liable for overtime, it is important to have a clear message to employees, to track employee hours, and to compensate employees who may go over the 40-hour workweek. To ensure compliance, it is possible to administer discipline of violating employees.

Still, the burden is on the employer to ensure that employees do not work overtime. Another issue that may arise in the context of telecommuting employees is compensation for travel. Generally, employers are not required to compensate for travel time to and from work; however, if the employee has started job duties at home, any additional travel to and from the office location could be considered compensable working hours. In these cases, employees will start their workday at home, then be required to come to the office for a meeting. Once the workday starts, employers can be required to pay compensation for the additional commute.

If you are an employee who works from home or you are a part-time telecommuter, it is important to know your rights under California’s wage and hour laws and to be sure that your employer is in compliance with the FLSA. You may be entitled to additional compensation and overtime if you are working over 40 hours per week.

Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 714-937-2020.

More Blog Entries:

Judge Certifies Wage and Hour Class Action Against Apple, July 30, 2014, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog

LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics, December 30, 2013, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog