Protect yourself with clear policy

Monday, July 25, 2016

Working after hours is commonplace in today’s busy working world, but the new overtime rule (See “New overtime regs headed your way,” July issue) could create a profound shift in those practices, says consultant Richard Davis. 

With the new rule, the focus is on ensuring all workers track any time spent performing what has often been considered off-the-clock activities, especially those employees who may have switched from salary to hourly, says Davis, president of HirePowerHR.

“Companies need to have a solid policy that prohibits working off the clock or undocumented work,” he says. “It needs to be totally against company policy and could lead to discipline up to termination.”

The new rule requires employers to pay overtime (time and half) for more than 40 hours of work per week for all workers earning up to $913 per week or $47,476 per year.


Unless it’s part of an employee’s job duties, companies need to have policies in place that make it clear they shouldn’t be doing anything work-related after hours, says Davis.

“That includes checking business email or any business website, and making calls,” he said. “It protects the company to some degree.”

If you require hourly employees to check email after work, pay them, says Davis.

No freebies

Even if an employee wants to finish up a project on his or her own time without clocking in, the company is responsible for staying compliant with the law, says Davis.

“Employee goodwill doesn’t matter,” he said. “If you work, you have to report it.”

Putting specific policies in place could help protect the company in the event of a complaint or audit down the road, says Davis.