Telecommuting has become an increasingly popular way to work, offering flexibility and often a lower stress environment. However, sometimes employment rules and laws get lost in the arrangement. As a result, its important for workers and their employers to understand how the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), impact workers.
For example – do you know if you are entitled to overtime pay? Pursuant to the FLSA, if you’re non-exempt, you may be entitled to overtime compensation at a rate of one and one half times your standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week. If you are working from home, calculating how many hours you are putting in may be difficult. As a result, it’s important that you and your employer develop some sort of time keeping program that accurately tracks hours worked. This can be something informal – such as a time sheet – or more formal timekeeping software program. Additionally, its important that workers understand when they should be keeping track of their time – i.e. when they are engaged in the “principal activities” of their job as opposed to non-compensable leisure activities. In some situations, commuting time may figure in to the calculations, while other times it does not.
Further, it is important that your employer pay you at least minimum wage. While federal minimum wage remains at $7.25/hour, some cities have higher rates, which workers are entitled to.