U.S. Overtime Rules and Flexible Work Schedule

On March 13, 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Labor (DOL) to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime standards. Currently, the Department of Labor is expected to issue regulations this year that will bring an additional 13.5 million workers under the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Forty-nine percent of those workers would be newly covered by the DOL’s overtime expansion work in office and administrative support occupations. However, there are concerns. The concerns include an unintended side effect – will those newly covered employees lose their flexibility, such as working remotely or at non-standard hours? The answer to this question is no. Employers can continue to provide flexible work arrangements to these employees by following the wage and hour tips that the DOL has outlined on their website.

Four tips for avoiding potential wage and hour pitfalls include:

– Establish clear work-time guidelines
– Record all hours worked
– Consider when to compensate teleworking employees for travel time
– Consider when to reimburse teleworkers’ expenses.

Both employers and employees benefit from providing employees options to work from home or to work flexible hours. For example, parents and caretakers may use telework to find additional hours in the day by cutting out a long commute. Employers benefit because flexibility has been linked to reduced stress and improved health and well-being, which decreases absenteeism and overall healthcare costs.

Stay tuned. Let’s keep work flexible.