Employees Tracking Their Own Wages? The DOL
Has an App for That!
David J.B. Froiland
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the
launch of its first application for smartphones, an iPhone® timesheet to help employees
independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.
Available in English and Spanish, employees can conveniently track regular work
hours, break time, and any overtime hours for one or more employers.
Additionally, employees will be able to add comments on any information related
to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly, and
monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an
This new technology is significant because, instead of
relying on their employers' records, workers now can easily keep their own
records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour
Division investigation - or worse, an FLSA litigation - if an employer has
failed to maintain accurate timekeeping records.
Employers who keep inadequate records of employee hours
worked obviously face substantial difficulties in any FLSA litigation. This is
true even when the employees have no records of their own time worked. However,
if employees are now able to come forward with high-tech timekeeping data of
their own, employers with poor records could find themselves outgunned
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis made the following
statement about the app: "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 ... This app will help empower workers to
understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their
The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and
iPod Touch®. The DOL will explore updates that could enable similar
versions for other smartphone 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 smartphone, the Wage and Hour
Division has a printable work hours calendar in English and Spanish 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 app and printable calendar can be downloaded from the
Wage and Hour Division's home
HR professionals can be worth their weight in gold if
they can identify areas where timekeeping can be improved. When an employer has
good timekeeping records, the DOL's new app looks more like an interesting
gizmo to show your kids, and less like a powerful legal weapon to show the
Congress Again Discussing Whether
Employers Should Be Required to Provide Sick Leave
Healthy Families Act legislation, which would require
employers with 15 or more employees to provide workers with up to seven days of
paid sick leave, was again introduced in the both the House and Senate on May
12, 2011 (H.R. 1876, S. 984). The House and Senate bills were identical and
both were referred for committee review.
Proponents of the bills state that workers without paid
sick leave report to work when ill (referred to as "presenteeism"),
which generally results in the employees' symptoms lasting longer and, with
contagious illnesses, the infection of co-workers. The proponents assert that
presenteeism costs employers $160 billion in lost productivity.
The details for the bills include the following:
2004, similar legislation has been introduced in Congress multiple times but
never obtained sufficient support for passage, primarily because of the cost to
employers. It is not clear that the present Healthy Families Act has the
necessary support for passage. Foley will follow this legislation closely and
provide updates in future editions of our Legal News: Employment Law Update.