Blueprint for Remote Success
Lane Powell Shareholder Paul Ostroff was interviewed in an article titled “Blueprint for Remote Success,” which appeared in the July/August issue of the Association of Legal Administrators’ Legal Management magazine. The article discussed the increased number of people who are now working from home, and examined the policies, protocol and tools that firms should address before allowing employees to work offsite under a telecommuting arrangement. While telecommuting can provide a host of benefits to both the firm and its employees, firms also must prepare for potential problems that may arise from telework arrangements. Among other things, Ostroff was asked to address how firms may remain compliant with wage and hour laws, ensure that their employees are properly trained and confirm that their home offices meet OSHA guidelines.
If your firm allows non-exempt employees to telecommute, it must ensure that they are working the correct number of hours and taking appropriate breaks. “What’s extremely important is monitoring the employee’s activities [and] making sure that you define the work day,” said Ostroff. Non-exempt employees should be required to confirm when they are working, when they log off, and when they are taking breaks, and firms must track the activity, he said.
In addition, firms should be aware of the wage and hour laws of the state in which the non-exempt employee’s worksite is located and how those laws apply to the employee, said Ostroff. “For example, there may be differences in state law regarding exempt status, overtime, vacation benefits, rest and meal breaks, and payment of final pay that can be a source of potential liability to an employer with employees who telecommute from multiple states,” he said.