Tuesday, January 17, 2017

iPhones and Overtime, Part II

From a French law limiting employees' responsibility for after-hours emails to a federal court ruling placing new federal overtime rules on hold, employment law governing overtime pay continues to adapt.

A previous post on this blog discussed a lawsuit in which Chicago police officers alleged that they were issued smartphones and required to use them while off duty, but were not paid overtime. Since that original post, a federal magistrate ruled in favor of the city of Chicago. The court determined that the city did not know that the plaintiffs were working overtime without compensation, in part because other officers did document their overtime use of smartphones and were compensated accordingly.

Wage & Hour Insights has a detailed analysis of the court's ruling:

In short, the rule is simple: employers must make a good-faith, reasonable effort to track all work time for non-exempt employees and pay employees accordingly. The law doesn’t mandate perfection, nor will it hold employers liable for employees who fail to report their time through no fault of the employer. 

An appeal is pending.  In the meantime, the takeaways for employers remain the same (whether considering the future of overtime regulations or employee smartphone usage): establish clear written policies, keep detailed records, and train employees accordingly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Law Permits French Employees to Ignore Late-Night Work Emails

French employees now have the right to ignore work-related emails outside working hours after a new law became effective on January 1, 2017.

From the Washington Post:

The new employment law requires French companies with more than 50 employees to begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office, the newspaper reported.

The motivation behind the legislation is to stem work-related stress that increasingly leaks into people's personal time — and hopefully prevent employee burnout, French officials said.

“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog,” Benoit Hamon, Socialist member of Parliament and former French education minister, told the BBC in May. “The texts, the messages, the emails: They colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.

The "right to disconnect" law is part of a series of reforms designed to relax France's employment regulations.