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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on May 9, 2011, released its first smart phone application: a timesheet used to help employees track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. It is available in English and Spanish. Users can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. Glossary, contact information and materials about wage laws are easily accessible through links to the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) web pages.
In addition, users of the app will be able to add comments on any information related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly or monthly format; and e-mail the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.
The DOL says this new technology is significant because it allows workers to keep their own records, instead of relying on their employers’ records, which could prove invaluable during a WHD investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.
“I am pleased that my department is able to leverage increasingly popular and available technology to ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”
James M. Coleman, wage and hour law expert and partner with national labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith LLP, noted, “Courts have always been free to consider an employee’s own record of hours worked—in whatever form they may take—but generally will not do so unless the employer’s records have been determined to be inaccurate, unreliable or nonexistent.”
The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Labor Department 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, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.
For workers without a smart phone, the WHD has a printable work-hours calendar to track rate of pay, work start and stop times, and arrival and departure times. The calendar also includes easy-to-understand information about workers’ rights and how to file a wage violation complaint.
The DOL’s new timesheet app “is nothing more than an electronic version of a paper calendar or, for that matter, handwritten notes to reflect a record of when an employee is working,” said Coleman, who is co-chair of his firm’s wage and hour practice group. “For most nonexempt employees, their work hours are performed exclusively at their employer’s place of business and are recorded via the employer’s timekeeping system. This app may be of some added value to nonexempt employees [who] perform work from home or other remote locations. When the employee’s records do not match the employer’s records, the employee should raise the issue directly with their employer in an effort to resolve the differences.”
Both the app and the calendar can be downloaded from the Wage and Hour Division’s home page. For more information about federal wage laws or to order a calendar by mail, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
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