The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on May 9, 2011, launched its first application for smart phones, a timesheet to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.
Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers can keep their own. This information could prove valuable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer is alleged to have failed to maintain accurate employment records.
The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Labor Department said it will explore updates that could enable similar versions for other smart phone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry, and other pay features not currently provided for, such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, weekend pay, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.
For workers without a smart phone, the Wage and Hour Division has a printable work hours calendar in English and Spanish to encourage workers to track rate of pay, work start and stop times, and arrival and departure times, and to report violations to the DOL. The calendar includes easy-to-understand information for employees about workers’ rights and how to file a wage violation complaint.
"The fact that the DOL went to the effort to create its own app demonstrates the agency's new commitment to actively encouraging employees to file wage and hour complaints," according to a blog post by Bill Porkory, a partner at law firm Franczek Radelet P.C. He advised, "For employers, the message is clear: make sure you keep thorough, accurate records of your employees' hours and wages because, if you don't, someone else might."
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
New US DOL Smartphone App Encourages Employees To Track Hours and Pay, Franczek Radelet P.C, May 2011
FLSA Compliance: There's an App for That, the Delaware Employment Law Blog, May 2011
SHRM Online Compensation Discipline