If an employee responds to a work email while they’re off the clock, does it still count as compensable work? The answer is almost always yes. Even if answering an email only takes 5 minutes, those minutes add up. If you’re not paying your nonexempt employees for that off-the-clock time, you could be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Technology has made it easier than ever for employees to work off the clock, out of the office, and after hours. Half of employees say they’ve worked while on paid time off, according to the QuickBooks Time 2019 PTO survey. Unfortunately, overlooking and not compensating employees for their time can result in some serious penalties. Encouraging off-the-clock work may increase a business’s liability in an FLSA lawsuit.
But what can you do if you’re not aware of the time worked? As in all cases with the FLSA, ignorance is not an acceptable alibi. Fortunately, you can protect yourself, your company, and your employees from committing potential FLSA violations. We reached out to top wage and labor law experts to get the answers to your most pressing questions about working off the clock.1