Remote Work Timekeeping

Remote Work Timekeeping

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor released Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5. The bulletin addresses “Employers’ obligation to exercise reasonable diligence in tracking teleworking employees’ hours of work.”

While the bulletin covers issues arising directly from the COVID-19 pandemic, it also applies to remote work arrangements in general.

FAB 2020-5 affirms that employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked, including work done from home and work that is “not requested but suffered or permitted.” Regardless of whether you authorized the work or the employee requested it, you must pay the employee for work performed if you know — or have reason to believe — they did the work.

The FLSA specifically mandates the employer to exercise its control so that employees do not perform work the employer does not want done. In other words, the onus is on the employer to prevent work “when it is not desired.”

As the bulletin states, it may not be easy to define “when an employer has reason to believe that the work is being performed,” especially when the employee works offsite or at a location not controlled by the employer. Consequently, when resolving the issue of whether an employee should be paid for unscheduled hours worked, courts consider whether the employer should have — via reasonable diligence — acquired knowledge that the hours were being worked.

Conducting reasonable diligence

As mentioned, the reasonable diligence standard adheres to what the employer should have known (instead of what it could have known).

You can show diligence by implementing reasonable procedures for employees to report scheduled and unscheduled work hours.

If an employee fails to report unscheduled work hours through this reasonable reporting process, you do not have to undertake impractical measures to determine whether the unreported hours were actually worked. Such impractical measures may include weeding through non-payroll records to decipher whether the employee worked more hours than they reported.

Ultimately, by not using the reasonable reporting procedure to inform you of unscheduled work hours, the employee has effectively thwarted you from preventing the work. Additionally, they prevented you from knowing your obligation to compensate them. Importantly, “the FLSA does not require that employers pay for work that it did not know about and had no reason to know about.”

FAB 2020-5 makes clear that a time reporting system does not constitute reasonable diligence if it discourages or stops employees from correctly reporting their hours worked, or requires employees to waive their rights to compensation under the FLSA.

The Point

The key takeaway is that employers with nonexempt remote employees should develop sufficient and transparent procedures for reporting scheduled and unscheduled work hours. If an employee fails to use this system, you may be able to successfully argue that they thwarted your efforts to prevent unwanted work.

How Atlantic Payroll Partners can help

We can help by providing you with timekeeping tools and payroll service. Old school timekeeping is likely going to be a pain when it comes to remote work. Having your employees use modern tools is the efficient way to handle timekeeping and payroll. As a local payroll company we have experience in this arena. Managing payroll is the name of the game for us and we’re more than willing to help your business, regardless of the number of employees. If you’re interested in learning more, get a quote or call us at 772-466-0440.

Get to know Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a Professional Employment Organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer,

Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits, and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. 

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Payroll Timekeeping Innovations

Payroll Timekeeping Innovations: A Brief History 

According to World Heritage Encyclopedia, the first time clock was created in 1888 by a New York-based jeweler named William Bundy. The mechanical device — called a “key recorder” — worked by printing (on a paper tape) the specific time the employee inserted a designated numbered key.  william bundy time clock

Since then, mechanical time clocks have come a long way. Notable progressions include punch or swipe clocks, which require employees to clock in and out at the terminal via paper cards or laminated badges. However, these systems are prone to fraud — including “buddy punching,” which is when employees clock in and out for each other.

Such systems aren’t cutting it anymore, especially with work-from-home arrangements reportedly growing 173% since 2005, mobility becoming an intrinsic aspect of employment and timekeeping laws getting more complex.

Consequently, employers are shifting to more advanced models — such as biometric time clocks, web-based software, mobile applications, and time and scheduling solutions.

Biometric time clocks

 A biometric time clock is the easiest way to thwart buddy punching, as it relies on fingerprint, palm, facial or iris scan to record employees’ work time. The scans are unique to the employee, thereby making it difficult for employees to engage in time theft.

Web-based software

Web-based (or cloud-based) timekeeping software allows employees to clock in and out online from their desktop computer or laptop via their dedicated username and password. The software is ideal for employers with remote workers or those that want to:

  • Eliminate the use of physical time clocks.
  • Attach time limits to certain projects.
  • Integrate their timekeeping system with their HR or payroll software.

Mobile applications

A mobile timekeeping app lets employees clock in and out from anywhere and from any device, including their smartphones. Mobile apps can also work offline. So even if there’s no internet connection, the employee’s work hours can still be recorded. The employee simply launches the app as normal, and their recorded time will sync to their account once there’s an internet connection.

Mobile timekeeping apps can facilitate GPS tracking, which enables employers to track the location of their mobile workers. Further, both mobile and web-based timekeeping systems have self-service capabilities, which let employees view and manage their timekeeping data from a dashboard.

Time and scheduling solutions

Scheduling and time tracking go hand in hand, which is why many timekeeping systems these days entail scheduling as well.

An integrated time and scheduling tool allows you to:

  • Create and edit work schedules.
  • Notify employees of their work shifts.
  • Establish alerts that will instantly inform you of scheduling conflicts.
  • Track employees’ activity in real time.
  • Monitor employees’ attendance.
  • Process employees’ paid time off requests.
  • Track PTO accruals.
  • Record employees’ work time — regardless of whether they’re in the office, in the field or working remotely.
  • Generate customized time and scheduling reports.

When properly designed, implemented and utilized, these modern timekeeping systems can help you eradicate time theft, increase accuracy, reduce administrative burdens, control overtime expenses, improve compliance and enhance employee satisfaction. At Atlantic Payroll Partners we offer the modern timekeeping and scheduling solutions needed for you and your employees. Reach out to use to receive a quote for payroll, workers’ compensation and more.

Copyright 2021

About Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a professional employment organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer, full-service HR, workers’ compensation, accounting, and health care benefits. Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. We do our job, so that you can focus on yours.

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