DOL issues Field Assistance Bulletin reminding employers that federal wage-hour requirements still apply even when employees are working remotely
In its Field Assistance Bulletin 2023-1 , the DOL reminds employers that federal wage-hour requirements still apply even when employees are working remotely. Thus for example, employers still must comply with the requirements to provide and document meal periods and rest breaks, as well as lactation breaks, and although employers may suspect that a remote worker is taking unauthorized breaks, the company may not simply assume time should be unpaid. The DOL also discusses an employer’s ability to either schedule work hours (assign remote workers a particular shift of hours to be worked) or assign a certain number of hours to be worked each day. The DOL discusses how employers can instruct employees in a variety of telework scenarios to clock in/clock out at the beginning, the end and throughout the day.
The DOL reminds employers though that, when they know or have reason to believe the employee is working outside recorded hours, the time must be recorded and paid as hours worked, even if the employee is themself choosing to work “off the clock” as it were from home. The DOL cites to its Field Assistance Bulleting 2020-5, which discussed how employers can instruct workers to record all hours worked, including such time, even where not requested, scheduled or authorized by the company.
Employers are reminded that in addition to the federal requirements discussed in the DOL’s Field Assistance Bulletin, additional state and local requirements might apply, including in Colorado for example the CDLE‘s COMPS order and related requirements.