BIANCA SAAD SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been busy. The agency recently clarified how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA) leave provisions apply to certain school closure scenarios and issued four new opinion letters (FLSA2020-11, FLSA2020-12, FLSA2020-13 and FLSA2020-14), addressing compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Additionally, on August 24, 2020, the DOL issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2020-5 to clarify an employer’s obligation under the FLSA to track the number of compensable hours worked by teleworking employees who are working remotely away from the worksite or other employer-controlled premises.
This guidance is quite timely as the number of teleworking employees has increased this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the DOL confirmed that the guidance applies to all telework or remote work arrangements, whether the remote work is in response to COVID-19 or for another reason.
The guidance reaffirms that employers must pay their employees for all hours worked, including work not requested but allowed and work performed at home. Ultimately, it’s a question of whether the employer knows or has reason to believe that additional unscheduled work is being performed. If so, that time must be counted as hours worked and the employee must be compensated.