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Nov 4, 2014

By Eric B. Meyer

Today’s post is sponsored by the letters S, E, and O

With a tip of the hat to whomever posted a link to this story on Twitter, the other day I was reading about this app that companies can install on employees’ smartphones and tablets that would preclude them from sending/receiving work-related email on those devices.

Why would you want to do that?

Off the clock emails for non-exempt employees

For starters, app maker touts the feature as increasing productivity, reducing stress, and creating a more stark line between work and personal time.

You see, the Fair Labor Standards Act (and, by extension, parallel state laws) requires that employers pay minimum wage to all employees and overtime to non-exempt employees, like #AlexFromTarget, for all hours over 40 worked in a particular work week.

When a non-exempt employee is checking sending/receiving/checking work-related email on a handheld device either on or off the clock, unless de minimis, that is still compensable time.

You need a handbook rule

Even without this app, if you don’t want non-exempt employees using work email “off the clock,” have a rule in your handbook. You can strictly forbid non-exempt employees from sending/receiving/checking work-related emails “off the clock.”

If employees ignore the rule, you still have to compensate those employees. However, you can discipline them, too.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.